Claire’s Lithuanian Coffee Cake, New Haven, CT

11 Nov

The real deal, taken on location in New Haven by Betty Yip.

As mentioned in my Introduction: Part II.
I found this recipe here, adapted/tweaked it a bit for European ingredients and my own personal taste. Also, as I live in Belgium, everything is metric, so I converted most things. I hope you enjoy, as this cake is one of my favorite recipes, and oft-requested when I entertain.

  • 385g/ 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 175g/ 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I use beurre échiré d’Isigny)
  • 250g / 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon espresso, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, give or take
  • 460g / 2 cups sour cream (sour cream isn’t readily available here so I use crème fraîche épaisse d’Isigny, which has a similar texture and taste)


  • :
55g / 1/4 cup muscovado sugar
  • 55g / 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I use pure Belgian cocoa powder)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 25g / 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 25g / 1/4 cup plump dark raisins, I use Corinthian (leave them to soak in alcohol, I use a quince eau-de-vie)

Preheat to 175°C / 350ºF. Grease a kouglof pan, or I use a silicon pan from the Tefal Proflex line that doesn’t need greasing.
The rest of the recipe is quoted directly from the blog mentioned above:
Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl and hand mixer or the work bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the coffee and vanilla and mix to combine.
Add the flour mixture and sour cream in 3 additions each, alternating between the flour and sour cream. The batter will be very thick.
Scoop 1 1/2 cups batter into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to even out the surface. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the filling. Scoop 2 cups cake batter over the filling and again smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup filling. Scoop 2 cups more of the batter over the top, smooth, and sprinkle with the remaining filling. There will only be a little batter left, but scoop it out evenly over the cake and smooth out the surface so that it is even.
Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Rotate pan from back to front and bake for 20-25 minutes more, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in its pan, then invert on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

Icing recipe: the Lithuanian Coffee Cake is equally delicious with icing or without. I prefer mine with a generous dollop of buttercream. I use Nigella Lawson‘s recipe from How to be a domestic goddess:

  • 300g butter, soft
  • 700g icing suar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I generally put in 2)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Beat half the softened butter and icing sugar together. Add the rest of the sugar and butter once the first half is well mixed. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat until the icing is consistent.


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