If you're looking for a do-ahead crowd pleaser, look no further, my friend. This lovely pan of delicious is extremely easy to make and can be stored in the fridge until you're ready to chow down (if you can wait that long).
So, I can't post this recipe without getting a little sentimental. I made this for a brunch one time at my dad's house when he was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. The doctors had only given him another couple of months to live, so I was cooking my way through it all. My unbelievably caring and compassionate (future at the time) mother-in-law wanted to make sure she got the chance to meet my dad just once. [Now you have to know, I had only known Jon for a few months at the time. We weren't even talking about marriage yet.] We lived in Dallas at the time, and his parents were in Houston. She made her way over one morning for a very quaint, down-to-earth brunch with me and my dad. We had this coffee cake as well as a few other things, and every time I make it, I think back to that sweet morning.
That's what food is for - good memories with good people.
I've had this recipe for a really long time, and it's still a fail-proof friend I can always count on. It's got a great texture (soft and pillowy), and it's not too sweet. Nothing worse than a sugar high followed by a crash at 10 am. We don't need cranky people at the pot luck, right?
If you'd prefer, you can leave out the nuts. If you can though... definitely leave them in. The almond extract in the batter added to the crunch of the nuts in the crumb topping takes it over the top!
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour batter into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan; sprinkle with Crumb Topping (see below).
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
Stir together flour, sugar, and coarsely chopped pecans in a bowl. Using your fingers, smash butter and flour together until mixture resembles small peas.
Make ahead: Bake the coffee cake the night before, cut into the size serving you want, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.