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Buzz-Worthy Coffee Cakes

Martha Stewart Living, March 2011

Laced with chocolate, drizzled with glaze, or topped with buttery crumbs, these delicious baked goods pair perfectly with a cup of joe.

For centuries, people have nibbled on coffee cake while trading morsels of gossip. The dessert rose to popularity during the 1600s, becoming a staple at European afternoon java breaks such as the Swedish get-together known as "fika" and the German kaffeeklatsch, a name that reveals the tradition's true purpose ("klatsch" means "gossip"). Coffee cakes don't actually contain coffee -- they were named for how well their subtly sweet flavors go with the beverage.

Just as words change in the game of telephone, coffee cake recipes evolved over the years as they passed from generation to generation and country to country. A sprinkle of chopped nuts, some homey spices, and the addition of crumbly toppings have resulted in countless variations of the treat, each with its own legion of fans.

Our recipes represent three of the most popular versions: a rich cake with a generous crumbly layer, a streusel confection with a sugar glaze, and a yeasted loaf swirled with chocolate. Try one of these standards, or mix things up with our easy variations (none of which requires more than 30 minutes of hands-on time). Whichever cake you choose, it's just the thing to enjoy with hot coffee and good conversation.

Try Our Recipes

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