The other day I was torn in my mind. I wanted to bake something… maybe muffins? Eh… I love muffins but we already have some in our freezer… maybe a quick bread of sorts? Nah… man, maybe I should just make some coffee. Gah, shouldn’t have coffee (More on that later). But if I HAD coffee… I’d want cake to go with it. Ah-HA!! Coffee cake! Game, set, MATCH!
And of course there’s only one coffee cake I’ll make from scratch. And that’s my dad’s Jewish Coffee Cake. I have no idea why its called ‘Jewish Coffee Cake’… I googled it and it seems like the rest of the world doesn’t really know either! It doesn’t have any butter in it- but typically butter is okay as long as it isn’t eaten with any meat. Aaand there is no meat in this coffee cake, thank goodness. Yuck. My husband was so excited when he heard the name of this coffee cake- he is quite certain that he has Jewish blood in him and is exceedingly proud of that possibility! I don’t recall seeing any of this cake in Israel earlier this summer, but oh well- a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, eh?
K and I grew up with this coffee cake- it is moist, full of cinnamon, melts in your mouth, and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. My dad loved to make this for us, and we could hardly wait the hour it took for the cake to bake. Especially with the wonderful aroma that filled the house while we waited! I can’t count how many times we burned our fingers and mouths trying to eat it too fast out of the oven. I would love to say that I have developed more patience in that area as I have grown, alas… my tongue is slightly burnt and my fingers are bright red. Guess how that happened.
Anyways, this is a totally simple recipe to throw together and is such a crowd-pleaser. The only time-consuming part of the process is letting it sit in the oven for an hour- but in the meantime there are a number of things you could do… Bible study… make soup… fold laundry… watch 2 episodes of Seinfeld… I’ll let you choose.
By the time you’ve finished a few chores or laughed with Jerry, the wafting smell of cinnamon and sugar will let you know that its time to pull that baby out of the oven and cut yourself a slice with your morning cup of joe. Or afternoon cup of joe. Or milk. Or just all by itself. I’m letting you make all the decisions here.
Jewish Coffee Cake
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
for the topping:
3 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
(add Turbinado sugar, if desired for texture) ** do not completely substitute the Turbinado sugar for regular sugar!
Blend the shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly. Then add the remaining baking powder, flour and milk. Mix until fully incorporated, then set aside. Prepare the topping by mixing the cinnamon and sugar together. Grab your bundt pan and grease it well with butter. (If you want some added texture, add some turbinado sugar to the bottom of the pan, and each layer). Layer 1/3 of the batter in the pan, then sprinkle 1/3 of the topping. Alternate batter and topping until finished. Make sure the top of the cake is covered with the topping- mix more if you need to!
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Poke with toothpick to make sure that cake is done before taking it out.