Addictive Coffee Cake



Pennsylvania winters in the 70’s were cold, with deep snow drifts mounding up to the top of our steps by the back door. One year we tunneled from the top step down into the snow and made an ice cave with the fresh icy crisp top crust undisturbed. My mother’s blood and mine does not travel quickly from our warm hearts to the tips of our fingers, so we both look for ways to supplement heat to our extremities. Tea and hot breakfasts help with this in the morning. Often she would serve us hot oatmeal, which I hate, or coffee cake, which I love, to warm us before school on those frigid mornings.  Last week our librarian set a new tome on the “newly released” shelf at the library and it quickly has become beloved in our house over this Christmas season.  The sole reason is the coffee cake recipe. I’ve made coffee cakes over the years and attempted to tempt my munchkins with them the way I was tempted, but they’ve sat and languished, half eaten, waiting for my thighs alone. However, with the few little tweaks I made to Tammy Inman’s recipe, this one disappeared! My thighs were spared abuse and tales of my childhood addiction were vindicated.


  1. 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
  3. 4 Tbls. unsalted butter cubed, room temp
  4. 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  5. 1/8 tsp. salt
  6. 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Streusel

Cut butter into the brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and salt until crumbly. Mix in the chopped nuts, cover the bowl, and chill in refrigerator.


  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup coconut sugar (lower glycemic hit and introduces subtle nuttiness)
  4. 4 large eggs, room temp.
  5. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  6. 2 tsp. finely grated lemon or lime zest
  7. 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
  8. 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  9. 4 tsp. baking powder (aluminum free)
  10. 1 tsp. baking soda
  11. 1 tsp. salt
  12. 8 ounces sour cream
  13. 16 ounces frozen berry and stone fruit mix (no strawberries)

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest.

In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on low until incorporated.  In halves, alternate adding the sour cream and the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing in between and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Butter a 9×13 baking pan. Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Scatter half the streusel crumbs on top. Layer the 16 ounces of frozen berries over the streusel.  Gently spoon the remaining cake batter on top of the berries.  Top with the remain streusel crumbs.  Once you’ve added the streusel, you can pat it down with your fingers to cover the whole pan more easily as it sticks to streusel instead of your hands.

Place it in the oven and then reduce the heat to 325. Bake the cake for 50-65 minutes or until the top is browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, except for berry juice.  (You may need to cover the top with foil for the last 15 minutes or so to keep the top from overbrowning.) Serve warm. The cake can be kept, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days, but it should disappear before then. (This may take a little longer in some ovens…)

Thanks again to Tammy for rekindling the childhood memories…

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One Response to Addictive Coffee Cake

  1. Charisma says:

    I love coffee cakes too, especially with walnuts!! Mmm, streusal makes this extra special. Thanks for sharing!

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