When Deanna and I teach food photography and styling we teach our students a lot about composition and how to build a frame with a center and from that center, the eye travels throughout the frame. When I think about where I live (in the Jaffa flea market area) I feel as I if I can imagine the neighborhood as a photo composition, that which has a one center to which all paths lead. For me that center is the local bakery/café- Margoza.
Margoza is what the Central Perk would be if a. it wasn’t out of a TV show, and b. was located in the Middle East. It’s the place to stop off for coffee post-dropping off kids at school pre-work. It’s the place to go with the kids for an after school sweet snack. It’s the place to go when you are in dire need of delightful pastries and delicious bread. It’s the place to go to catch up with your neighbors.
When I enter Margoza I feel at home. They know me, they know the way I drink my coffee and which bread I like. That’s what makes Margoza the center of my neighborhood composition.
I’ve wanted for some time now to post one of their amazing recipes, but most of the stuff they make there is just the kind of stuff that should be left to the experts and not made at home. I don’t usually buy coffee cakes because they are just so easy to make but on the day I tried their coffee cake, I decided to make an exception to my rule. And I figured it was a great recipe to borrow and share.
Michal and Shai (the owners) gave me the recipe which yielded 16 cakes, so I had to get to work in the kitchen to break it down so that I share a recipe that would be home-baker friendly.
Here are some of the tips I learned along the way:
- It’s important to prepare the streusel a few hours ahead of baking the cake because it needs to cool before you fold it into the cake. Don’t over crumb the crumbs- the bigger the chunks the better.
- This recipe yields two times the amount of streusel that you need for this recipe-but if you’re already making it- I like to make double and freeze half to use either for another cake or to sprinkle on top of ice cream. Having already made streusel in the freezer means that you literally can have a dessert ready in minutes.
- I made the cake in a round cake pan and it took more than an hour to cake. I suggest making it either in a loaf pan or as muffins, as it will bake quicker and therefore be moister.
- If you don’t like the taste of coffee, you can switch it for the same amount of milk.
Ingredients for 2 loaf pans or 24 muffins:
For the streusel (makes 4 cups):
⅔ cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1¾ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
7 oz./200 grams butter, very cold and cut into cubes
For the cake:
7 oz./200 grams butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup demerara sugar
¼ cup espresso or hot water mixed with one teaspoon instant coffee
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt or buttermilk
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Prepare the streusel:
- In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients excluding the butter. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and mix on low speed until crumbs form.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before using. Streusel can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.
Prepare the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Butter the loaf pans or muffin tins.
- Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one by one and continue mixing until incorporated and then add the coffee and sour cream and continue whisking until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the prepared streusel.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with an additional 1 cup of streusel.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.