Have you ever heard of mead? I hadn't either until I was on a winery tour several years ago in the Finger Lakes (New York). By definition mead is a fermented beverage made of water, honey, malt, and yeast. At the winery I took a sip and immediately regretted it. It was WAY too sweet and not in a good way. That tasting experience had all but become a distant memory until Ryan brought home a bottle of mead one day. He presented the pretty dark blue glass bottle to me with an excited look on his face "B Nektar's cider mead! They [the store] finally got it in!", he exclaimed as he went foraging in the cabinet for an appropriate tasting glass. Excited, he quickly poured two glasses as a pre-dinner appertif. With the once faint memory of my previous mead experience now looming vividly, I briefly hesitated before taking a sip. This time I was pleasantly surprised, it was delicious!
A few weeks later he brought home another bottle, this time a vanilla mead, and we both were looking forward to trying it. Alas, we were disappointed by the vanilla mead. Even my honey loving fiance couldn't finish his glass. Back in the bottle it went. "Can you cook something with this?", he asked. I'm not usually one to say no to a question like that especially when it involves figuring out a new way to use something so I said "Sure, put it in the fridge." And the wheels in my brain began turning. Of the two sips I managed to drink I immediately thought it could be incorporated in to a sweet bread of sorts...perhaps a coffee cake? So I started digging through cookbooks and Googling like mad to find a recipe suitable for modification. Finally, I found a "Quick Coffee Cake" recipe on AllRecipes. The 30 minute total prep and cook time reeled me right in.
The recipe below is a product of making the mead coffee cake 4 times, twice with the vanilla mead and twice with a coffee mead. In reality the mead is optional. You can probably use any type of sweet wine or maybe rum or other liquer or substitute milk instead for a booze-free treat. If you do use something in place of the mead, I'd love to hear about it!
For the cake:
1 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. honey mead
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
For the crumbs:
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 9 inch square pan.
- Using an electric mixer combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- In a separate small bowl, beat the egg well, then stir in the heavy cream, mead and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Mix carefully until just blended.
- Add the melted butter to the mixture in #3 and mix thoroughly.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut the tablespoon of butter in to this mixture. Combine with your hands until a coarse, crumb-like appearance is achieved. Sprinkle on top of the batter and press the crumbs lightly in to the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cut in to 9 square pieces, and serve warm. To store leftovers, cover with foil or plastic wrap. Leftovers are best if consumed within three days.
Yields 9 servings