Memory of Christmas Past – That Sour Cream Cake

Only two weeks have passed since Christmas Day and until now, the taste of this amazing cake we had still lingers in my head. My cousin, Ate Katy, where ate means older sister in tagalog, is a dessert-lover like myself. Her family was the one tasked to host our Christmas party for last year. And because sugar lives in our blood, both figuratively and medically if you know what I mean, having a cake, no, make that two cakes, is just proper to end our meal with. If my memory serves me right, she ordered the cakes from a neighbor.

The cakes were just around 6 to 8 inches I think. It were a rhum cake and a sour cream cake. And, if you scrolled down and peeked at what I baked first without reading the entry, you would know that my favorite between the two was the sour cream cake. I have no pictures to show you how it looked like but I can sure describe to you in words. It was an ordinary looking cake. Nothing special aside from the pecan halves properly arranged to circle the middle of the cake. When you cut the cake, it is soft and tender, almost creamy white or yellow in color (I am not sure though because of the lighting) and incredibly moist. The magic happens when you taste it. Wow! It is buttery and satisfyingly sweet. The texture is crumbly but tender but my favorite part of the sour cream cake was the top. It was a bit crunchy. It gave the cake a whole new dimension of texture that just added that perfect umph to it. Yes. If only I could turn back time.

And because of that experience, I wanted to recreate the cake and research the many ways on how to make a sour cream cake, not knowing that there are a lot of sour cream cakes ranging from sponge cakes to coffee cakes to pound cakes. My gut led me to make Anna Olson’s Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake. The recipe seemed simple. Although pecans are expensive here, I wanted the nostalgia of eating that cake that kept bothering my head and my taste buds. The great thing is that I had leftover pecans from the apple crisp I made for New Year’s Eve dinner. The recipe seemed simple. Instead of baking it in a 9-inch square pan, I decided to divide the recipe to two smaller round cake pans so that we won’t get pressured to finish this one whole 9-inch cake. And should we decide to give it away, we have one round for ourselves and one round for the lucky receiver.


Anna Olson’s recipe had a streusel topping. That won me over. My knowledge of streusel toppings told me that once it bakes, the sugars in it will caramelize and, if sugar caramelizes and cools, it hardens. Remember? Christmas Sour Cream Cake = crunchy top = cooled caramelized sugar = streusel topping = Anna Olson. That was my logic then.

We waited for the cake to cool, ignoring the fact that the scene of me eating that sour cream cake last Christmas has been running in my head over and over. So once cooled, I immediately took a photo for the blog and sliced it up to taste. It was good. No, it was delicious. The streusel topping indeed became crunchy. The all-spice in the cake gave it another dimension, the Christmas-y kind. And me, a lover of cinnamon seen here, just can’t get enough of the cinnamon-laden streusel topping. But. It is not the sour cream cake I had last Christmas. Although it is a good recipe, it is not the recipe that could recreate the nostalgia I had with the Christmas past. And so, my search is not yet done. I have yet to find that perfect recipe! Wish me luck.


Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Recipe from Anna Olson

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped pecans

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9-inch square pan.

For the streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and stir in the melted butter until evenly combined. Stir in the pecans and set aside.

For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and allspice. In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Stir this into the flour mixture until evenly blended. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the streusel on top. Use a skewer or paring knife to swirl the streusel in a bit. Top with the remaining batter, spread and then top the cake with the remaining streusel, giving the cake another little swirl.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan to room temperature before slicing.

The cake will keep, well wrapped and unrefrigerated for up to 3 days.


3 responses to “Memory of Christmas Past – That Sour Cream Cake

  1. Pingback: Leanne Herrera's Intergalactic Kitchen - Fourth-Wall Friday·

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