Georgia’s Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Until she retired a few years ago, Jerri was an active member of the St. Croix Valley Music Teachers Association. The members are professional music teachers and performers, and most meetings feature a program of interest to people who believe that music is an important part of education.

But lest you think that music teachers are concerned only with symphonies, operas, art songs or other types of classical music, consider the fact that members took turns to provide a homemade dessert for attendees at each meeting. In addition to making sweet sounds in the studio, music teachers make sweet treats in the kitchen.

One day Jerri was so impressed with the dessert that she came home with the recipe jotted down on the back of the meeting agenda. It was a coffee cake made by Georgia, one of Jerri’s friends who taught piano in Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

INGREDIENTS:

For the streusel topping and cake:
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

For the topping:
8 oz. soft cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
1 tsp. almond extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds

PROCEDURE:

First, soften a package of cheese. Preheat the oven to 325º and grease a nine by nine by two-inch baking pan.

Next, make the topping and batter. Start by stirring the flour and three-fourths cup of sugar together and cutting in the margarine and butter as if you were making a crumb mixture for biscuit dough. Set aside one cup of the mixture to use as part of the topping.

Mix the salt, baking powder and baking soda into the crumb mixture. Beat one egg until it is lemon colored. Beat the egg and a teaspoon of almond extract into the sour cream, then beat the liquid into the crumb mixture. Beat vigorously until you have a smooth, thick batter. Spread the batter evenly into the greased pan.

Next make the topping by stirring another egg and a second teaspoon of almond extract into the cream cheese. Stir in a quarter cup of sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture over the batter.

Use a teaspoon to dab small globs of raspberry jam evenly over the cheese mixture, then sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and top everything with the slivered almonds.

Bake for about an hour. Test for doneness at fifty-five minutes by pressing gently with the tip of your finger near the center of the cake. If the cake springs back it is done.

NOTES: With a teaspoon of almond extract in the batter and another in the topping, this coffee cake reminds me of one of my favorite Danish pastries, but it is much easier to make. Just remember to reserve a cup of the crumb mixture before you begin adding the liquids.

Georgia’s recipe called for for cream cheese, but I prefer to use Neufchatel cheese whenever possible, since it has less fat. When I made this coffee cake, the ladies at Jerri’s bridge group said it tasted good, so the Neufchatel appears to be fine in this recipe.

Georgia noted that you can use other jams or preserves if you wish. Blueberry might be a good choice.