Enjoy The Iconic Silver Palate Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe At Wickwood Inn!
The Story Of The Iconic Silver Palate Cookbook’s Original Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
This is a coffee cake that dazzled America. One that never seems to go out of style. It’s the Sour Cream Coffee Cake that came to this country, crossed with its immigrants, and became a staple in homes and shops alike. Some say it came from Vienna, others Germany, still others Scandinavia or the Russian Jews. Some versions had streusel, others frosting, some both, but all had sour cream resulting in a moist and delicious cake. Rumor has it that it was in the first drafts of The Joy of Cooking, then edited out onto the cutting room floor.
My recipe came from my Grandmother in Kalamazoo … who claimed she got it from a friend, who got it from her grandmother, who brought it with her from her grandmother in The Netherlands. Such is the lineage of great classic recipes. Nevertheless my Gram made her own tweaks to the recipe and her version was transplanted with me to New York City when I moved there the day after college graduation in the mid- 60’s. I began making the cake for group Sunday morning NYT reading sessions in The Hampton’s, and it quickly became a regular weekend request from my friends. Soon, one friend asked for the recipe, then another, and finally I could make Gram’s Sour Cream Bundt Coffee Cake without a recipe, almost in my sleep.
There was no question that it would take center stage on he counter when we opened The Silver Palate, our upscale take-out food shop on Columbus Avenue in the summer of 1977. It sat right next to our Chicken Marbella. Both dishes over time would become iconic recipes. It was the night of a Central Park NY Philharmonic Concert featuring “The 1812 Overture” complete with fireworks. Slice by slice, it sold out within an hour creating its own fireworks in our shop. People came back for more the next day and the next. And, forevermore one, two, or often many more cakes were made fresh every day for the life of The Silver Palate.
Without question, The Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe was one of the first to go into The Silver Palate Cookbook, even though our friends and families warned us that if we gave away our recipes, we’d be out of business in no time. Instead, we served the cake at book signings. People loved it, then bought the book, and continued to buy the cake. Soon I was being served the cake at Brunches in NYC, and as I traveled marketing our shop’s line of products, I was amazed to see our Sour Cream Coffee Cake being sold by the piece, or whole, in newly opened specialty food shops, coffee shops, and small artisanal bakeries across the country, often labeled with our name. I tasted a lot of Sour Cream Coffee Cake on those trips and was simply astonished. It was everywhere!
Today, I still receive thank you emails and letters saying “Its unbeatable!” or exclaiming “Your coffee cake is the best one I’ve ever had.” Of course, we continue the tradition making this delicious sour cream coffee cake recipe and serving it several times a week for Wickwood Inn’s Brunch as we have every week for the past 26 years. Our guests continue to adore it. And, every time I take a bite of this warm coffee cake, it’s as if I’m tasting it for the first time. I’ve even been known to do my well known (and often mocked) little “Yum” dance.
“We plan, we toil, we suffer—in hope of what? A trip to the moon? No, no, no. Simply to wake just in time to smell the bacon and eggs. How rarely it happens! But when it does—then what a moment, what a morning, what a delight. “
~ J. B. Priestly
Julee’s Original Silver Palate Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the pan
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/ 2 cups shelled pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- Cream together the butter and 2 cups of sugar. Add the egs, blending well, then the sour cream and vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and beat until just blended. Do not over beat.
- In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the pecans and cinnamon.
- Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the pecan and sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter and top with the rest of the pecan mixture.
- Set the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let rest 20 to 30 minutes. Invert on a serving plate. Serve warm.