I don’t really know when this recipe came into my grandmother’s rotation, but I can say that the entire family got down on their knees and gave thanks that it did. This simple coffee cake is great for breakfast, snack, or after dinner dessert. You just can’t go wrong with a combination of brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and dough.
I’ve seen it referenced over the year by lots of different names: Monkey Bread, Pluck It Cake, Pull Apart Bread… Some people make it with the big ‘Grands’ biscuits, others say you have to use buttermilk biscuits rather than homestyle.. Personally, I go for the cheap, store bought 10 count refrigerator biscuits, and it’s always amazing. When it comes to Pluck It Cake, I think store brand everything works just as well as name brand.
I’m here to tell you you can make it any way you want to. Because really, it’s about that trifecta of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Sometimes I add vanilla, and always there are walnuts or pecans – but it really comes down to that ooey gooey mix that makes this simple cake so good.
The Players: 3 cans of refrigerator biscuits, cooking spray, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and chopped walnuts or pecans.
You will also need a bundt pan (that funny looking pan with the hole in the center. Famous for jello molds. Spray it evenly with your cooking spray.
Start with your biscuits. Open 2 cans, and count out 15 biscuits, or 1 1/2 cans. Keep them separate from the other can and the other spare 5. This will make it easy to make sure your layers are evenly distributed.
Cut each biscuit into quarters – one slice vertical, one slice horizontal, and put aside.
Here’s your first 15 biscuits, quartered.
Now, take all those quarters, and layer them in the bottom of your greased bundt pan. It should look like this:
Once the first layer are in the pan, it’s safe to go ahead and cut the other 1 1/2 cans of biscuits into quarters and have them ready for your second layer.
You should also preheat your oven to 350F.
In a small sauce pan, melt your butter. Remember, 1 1/2 sticks.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar.
Add the brown sugar to your melted butter. Now please, don’t do what I did. I was using a small sauce pan, and I went to dump the brown sugar in, and made a huge splattery mess. I recommend spooning it in to your saucepan.
Then add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon.
When you get a nice deep brown color, stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans, your choice.
When the mixture looks like the above (about 1-2 minutes), pour the mixture into a 2 cup measuring jug. You should have exactly 2 cups of this mixture now. 1 cup will go on the lower layer, and 1 cup will go on the top layer of biscuit quarters.
Pour the mixture around the bundt pan, over the biscuit quarters. Remember, use only half of your mixture, about 1 cup.
Once you’ve gone completely around the pan, and used 1 cup of your brown sugar mixture, start layering on the next set of biscuit quarters.
When the pan looks like this, pour on your 2nd half of liquid.
Now place your pan in your preheated oven, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown. It is important not to overcook this cake. For all it’s simplicity, it is a very easy cake to make tough by overcooking. So start conservatively at 45 minutes, and if it doesn’t look like this picture at that mark, give it 5 more minutes, and keep checking back at 2-5 minute intervals.
Once out of the oven, give the cake 10 minutes to cool slightly, and then flip on to a plate or platter:
Now you can really see why it’s called ‘Pluck It’ cake. As soon as this is even remotely cooled off enough to touch, humans become like ravenous hyenas, ripping this sucker apart. It’s incredibly addicting, and once you’ve had one little piece, you can’t stop eating it.
Pluck It Cake
3 cans 10 count refrigerator biscuits
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes.
******Edited to add: Thanks to reader Sara, who let me know that if you’re using a silicone bundt pan, please decrease your cooking time to 40-45 minutes, or you’ll end up burning the cake. Thanks, Sara, for the tip.****
P.S. Feel free to microwave a piece the next morning for breakfast. It’s amazing warmed up the next day.