[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Growing up, I always thought coffee cake was named as such because you needed a swig of milky coffee to choke a dry slice down. Had I tried Sugar Sweet Sunshine's version ($3.50 for a slice, $35 for a nine-inch bundt) earlier, I might have thought otherwise.

It's a rich butter cake with a neat but coarse crumb, not dry but not oily either, which means I'm happy taking it with or without any coffee at all. As a change-up from Sugar Sweet Sunshine's cupcakes and trifles, it's not too sweet either.

Coffee cake lovers have already noticed what this cake lacks: a fat bed of crumbs on top, the only part of the cake many bother to eat. This version replaces with sugary topping with a restrained swirl of gooey cinnamon and nuts, a move that enhances the cake, not just makes apologies for it.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor and ice cream maker in residence at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

  • Lower East Side

126 Rivington St btwn Essex & Norfolk New York NY 10002 212-995-1960

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