I usually make the Ashkenazic (sp?) sour cream coffee cake recipe that's on Epicurious. The last time I made it, it seemed a little dry and not as good as I remembered so I went looking for a new recipe. The one in the link seemed to have a good list of ingredients so I decided to try it. At the last minute I saw that it had the craziest directions I've ever seen for a cake. I've never seen sugar mixed with flour first, for example. But, I decided that they probably knew something I didn't so I followed it exactly, step by persnickety step.
Well, it was a disaster! The streusel all sank to the bottom, it was still raw after an hour of baking, there wasn't nearly enough batter to allow for three layers; it was just bad all around.
Right after I threw out that mess, I quickly googled Ina Garten and coffee cake, certain that she must have a recipe. She did, and while the ingredients were almost identical to this one, the directions were your standard cream the butter and sugar, add eggs,add sour cream and vanilla, blend in the dry ingredients, etc. The normal steps I'm used to so far for baking.
So, tl/dr - is there anything about that first recipe that should have stood out for me? Something to look for? I really don't think it was user error since the directions were so different, I made sure to follow exactly. And then of course, the Ina cake I made turned out perfectly.