Oui Presse Puts the Coffee Back in Coffee Cake

Coffee and pastry collide in this espresso-soaked sour cream cake, topped with a toffee-flavored moonscape of whole nuts and batter scraps.

By Benjamin Tepler February 20, 2017 Published in the March 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

Oui Presse is our dream Portland coffee shop. It’s a neighborhood favorite, sandwiched between Buckman and Ladd’s Addition; a cozy, light-strung space stacked like an old-school newsstand with titles from The Art of Eating to Seventeen. It’s also a true original—owner Shawna McKeown has made a name for herself selling hand-felted wool bunny slippers and a PB&J Royale, made with local butter and sea salt.

For an issue that celebrates both bean culture and pastries, we zeroed in on Oui’s coffee cake, one of the city’s best. McKeown labels her unassuming creation “a totally basic daily newspaper tear-out recipe, but with a few upgrades.” The key touches? Dark swirls of actual espresso and crunchy, sweet, coffee-soaked crumble topping made with batter-dredged hazelnuts—proof that you can have your coffee and eat it, too.

Oui Presse’s Espresso Coffee Cake

Makes 1 cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup strong coffee (or use a double shot of espresso)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup whole, unroasted hazelnuts

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed just until combined, about 1–2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides, about 60–90 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in the rest of the dry ingredients using a spatula. Fold in buttermilk and sour cream. Using the mixer again, pulse on low speed 3 or 4 times, or until there’s no visible flour remaining. If using a stand mixer, remove bowl. Make a well in the center of the batter, pour in coffee, and fold in with a few swirls.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease or spray a 10-by-4½-inch tube pan, and pour in batter. Pour nuts and brown sugar in the same mixing bowl you just used to make the batter (don’t clean it), and mix with the batter-covered paddle or beaters on low speed for a few seconds, or until the nuts are well coated. Distribute evenly over the cake. Bake for 38 minutes, or until the topping is browned and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake ring comes out clean. The coffee cake will keep at room temperature, wrapped, for up to 3 days.

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