A Pine Nut Coffee Cake, If You’re So Inclined

This is a pine nut coffee cake:

It comes from the Babbo cookbook. It’s the cake I tried to make a few weeks ago, only to fail, leading to the hit film Failure. This time the cake came out a-ok (last time I forgot to add the butter) and the finished product looks pretty and tastes…well, interesting. Subtle. Not bad, but not fantastic. I like the unusual components that go into it, but much like the time I made Nancy Silverton’s banana bread all those components don’t really add up to much. With that said, I left out the two suggested accompaniments: figs and sweet black peper ricotta. Maybe that makes it better.

But for those that are so inclined (as the title suggests) here’s the recipe for the cake. It’s worth reading through because it’s kind of interesting. You’ll need the following ingredients for the struesel that goes on top.

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 Tbs light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

So, to make the struessel: combine the pine nuts, sugars and flour in a food processor and pulse to combine. Here it is before pulsing:


After pulsing, add the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is combined and forms pea-size crumbs. Set aside.

Now for the cake itself. Here’s what you’ll need:

3/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup semolina flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

3 eggs

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Spread the 3/4 cup of pine nuts evenly onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven untnil light golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. When the pine nuts have cooled, place them in the bowl of a food processor along with the flour, salt, semolina, baking powder, light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and pulse to combine.


Add the cold butter cubes


and pulse until the butter has dispersed and the mixture is finely textured.

3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, olive oil, lemon zest, and vanilla.


Add this mixture to the pine nut mixture and pulse to combine, then process for about 30 seconds to completely emulsify the batter. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the streusel.


4. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool completely.

That’s it! I have to say, either the oven temp is too low or the cooking time is too short because even though the cake did get brown and a cake tester did come out clean the cake was a bit underdone when I bit into it. Not terribly so, though. And maybe this cake will grow on me when I come back to it tomorrow. If you ever make it, let me know, I’m interested to know what you think!

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  1. All are invited this Thursday evening!

    BCA Honors Divas Uncorked and raises funds for Katrina evacuees at Global Food & Wine Experience 9/15 @ Chelsea Market NYC

    The BCA Presents:

    “The Global Food & Wine Experience: Bridging Cultures, Wines & Cuisine”


    New York September 12, 2005 — Indulge your senses when the BCA and

    Chelsea Market presents “The Global Food & Wine Experience: Bridging

    Cultures, Wines & Cuisine,” a gala fundraising event on Thursday, September

    15th from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. This event promises to be the ultimate

    dining experience and the largest culinary event ever to hit the Chelsea

    Market in NYC. The general public is invited to tempt their taste buds

    with the newest and hottest trends in cuisine and wine from over one

    hundred students from 5 top culinary schools, wine and food enthusiasts,

    wine merchants, bakeries and 25 fabulous restaurateurs.

    This year, The BCA distinguishes itself once again by saluting excellence within the industry. Alex Askew, President of the BCA will highlight the work of Divas Uncorked, a national non-profit wine education group whose mission is to change people’s perceptions of wine, one glass at a time. They aim to make wine more approachable to women and people of color by breaking down the intimidating image of the wine world and setting an inspiring example. “Wine savvy, not wine snobby” is their mantra. Askew praises Divas Uncorked as both organizations introduce their respective arts to aspiring students.

    Chelsea Market merchants and restaurateurs will join culinary students

    from Culinary Institute of America (CIA), I.C.E., Art Institute

    (A.I.), Monroe College, and others in the preparation of delicious

    cuisine and incredible baked goods for the Global Food & Wine Experience.

    For three exciting hours guests will enjoy sampling every celebrated

    dish that we have to offer from Ixta, Maroon’s, Harlem’s Make My Cake, Mo

    Bay’s and many more.

    There will also be opportunities to learn more about your favorite

    wine, cooking school, restaurant or dish from the participating merchants,

    restaurateurs and food experts. Tickets for this fabulous event are $45 in advance and $60. at the door. Call (646) 548-2949 for more information.

    The BCA (founded as the Black Culinarian Alliance) continues its

    mission of enhancing the experience for culinary and hospitality

    professionals by teaming up with The Chelsea Market to earmark proceeds from this event towards the BCA’s Mentoring & Protégé Program.

    The BCA is the favorite source of information for thousands of diverse

    Culinary and Hospitality professionals of color. Founded in 1993, this

    nationwide nonprofit (501 c3), educational and networking organization

    provides a host of professional opportunities. The BCA operates from

    its’ Harlem offices and can be reached at (646) 548-2949.

    The Chelsea Market is New York’s premier establishment for fine dining

    and gourmet foods, offering unsurpassed food, wines and spirits from

    around the globe. The Chelsea Market is located at Ninth Avenue and 15th



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