I am not a baker.

Kind of like my big whinge on chocolate mousse day, sometimes in this blog we get assigned days we’d rather … um … avoid. Like coffee cake day. I was chatting with Mom while I threw this together and she said, “I’m 57 years old and I’ve never made a coffee cake” (sorry for outing your age, Mom!). That’s my point. Who the hell makes coffee cake in this day and age?

Unlike chocolate mousse day, however, I decided I’d actually make the coffee cake. So I researched coffee cake recipes. And coffee cake history, which I figured would be rife with Roman invasions or at least Dark Ages housekeeping tips.


The best I could come up with was a chapter from Jim Fobel’s Old Fashioned Baking Book, where he said in favour of “quick breads, coffee cakes and muffins” that they are “quickly and easily prepared. Most can be put together from ingredients on hand, and many provide a delectable way to use a surplus of fruit…”

So I guess that’s the history, folks. Coffee cake is easy. And it goes well with coffee. Except when, like me, you decide to complicate things.

It started out so well.

I started with joy of cooking’s “Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake” (because it seemed easy). I decided the recipe wasn’t “fancy” enough so I modified away, using their “Deluxe Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake” as inspiration. Lifted entirely without permission, here’s the recipe (with my modifications):

Preheat oven to 350°

• stir 1/2 C raspberry jam until fluid & set aside
• mix together 3/4 C ground, blanched almonds; 1/2 C sugar, 1 large egg yolk; 1 tsp almond extract. Blend well with a fork and then your fingers until uniform in colour

• Grease a 9-inch square cake pan (Eva: not pretty enough. I’m going with a tube pan)
• Whisk together thoroughly: 1 1/2 C flour; 1 C sugar; 2 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1/4 tsp salt
• Beat well in a large bowl: 1 C sour cream; 2 large eggs
• beat dry ingredients into wet until just blended

• crumble half of almond mixture onto bottom of tube pan
• top with half of cake batter and smooth
• top with stirred jam
• top jam with remainder of almond mixture, then remainder of cake batter
• smooth again
• bake for … well maybe 40 minutes? Then top with melted jam mixed with 1 tsp almond extract

Aside from just hugely complicating the recipe with the filling, my issue was the baking time. Okay, they were the same issue. I didn’t want my cake to dry out, so I kept re-setting the timer for 3 minutes. Then 5 minutes. Then 3 minutes. I have no idea how long I baked the cake, but it wasn’t long enough. The cake was tasty, but… puddingy. As in, not cooked long enough.

much too puddingy

it was sort of ugly

Not my best effort. But then again, no one accused me of being a pastry chef.

~ Eva