The “Butterscotch Coffee Cake,” from the January/February 2020 issue of Bake from Scratch, called out to me, prompting sweet, idyllic, childhood memories. I haven’t thought about butterscotch for a long time, but here it is, in my wonderful cake.

Butterscotch Coffee Cake
Bake from Scratch, January/February 2020
Makes 1 (10-inch) tube cake

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
Butterscotch Sauce (recipe follows), divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup whole buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with baking spray with flour.

In a medium bowl, place melted butter. Whisk in 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup Butterscotch Sauce, eggs, and vanilla.

In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, whisking to combine. Whisk in buttermilk just until combined.

In a small bowl, stir together pecans, cinnamon, and remaining 1 cup brown sugar.

Pour two-thirds of batter into prepared pan, smoothing with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with half of pecan mixture. Top with remaining batter, smoothing with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and drizzle with remaining Butterscotch Sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Butterscotch Sauce
Makes 2 cups

½ cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in vanilla bean paste, brown sugar, and salt until dissolved. Add cream, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

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Make this cake without a stand mixer (quite a liberation). Whisking by hand feels good. I chopped my pecans in the food processor.

First, make the butterscotch sauce, to let it cool to room temperature.

Enjoy the smells of cinnamon and sugar as this cake bakes. I baked for 45 minutes, but did not need the foil cover.

I experienced a bit of “release anxiety” as I turned this finished cake out of the tube pan. I flipped it over, flipped it upright again, and reapplied the dropped pieces of topping by hand. It was fine.

Perfect cake: moist and sweet, with its crunchy pecan streusel. Oh and that butterscotch. Decadence.

Next week, it’s time for a duck exercise. That’s right. I want to make the “Whole Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce,” from the November/December 2019 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Come back to my site next week, to tackle this with me.