Monday, September 23, 2013

Easy, Whole-Wheat Coffee Cake

This recipe came from my mother-in-law. My husband brought it into our marriage from a collection of recipes his mother gave to him when he left for college. (I brought only my chocolate-cinnamon chip cookies for our sustenance.) Those recipes, along with cherished heirlooms that I later begged from my mother, have helped us survive on more than potatoes, cereal and pizza. Strangely, my mother-in-law didn't remember the recipe when I thanked her profusely for it, so...divine providence, then? Obviously, I love it, if one looks at the evidence of exhibit A:

I did, however, modify this recipe to my liking, as I do all of them. Though I love sweets, in general I believe that many recipes call for too much sugar and salt and not enough whole grain. Any time you add spice or cocoa to a recipe, you can get away with quite a bit of whole grain, because chocolate and exotic flavoring tend to override everything with their strong personalities. Anyhow, here is the original recipe and my slightly altered rendition:

Original Coffee Cake                                            Hillary's Whole-Wheat Version

1/4 cup vegetable oil                                            1/4 cup vegetable oil     

1 beaten egg                                                         1 beaten egg

1/2 cup milk                                                         1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cup sifted flour                                           1 cup whole wheat + 1/2 cup white flour

3/4 cup sugar                                                       1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder                                 2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                  1/2 teaspoon salt or slightly less  

spicy topping                                                      Hillary's spicy topping

1/4 cup brown sugar                                            1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour                                                1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                               It's not spicy topping without it! (trust me)

I tablespoon melted butter                                   2 tablespoons melted butter

pecan pieces, if desired                                       not in this house!

Melt butter in a small bowl in microwave, measure in everything else and mix together with fork.

Now for cake batter...combine oil, egg and milk in mixing bowl:

or measuring cup
Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl:

Break up pieces of brown sugar and sift ingredients with (clean, obviously) hands:

I like to play with my food
Pour wet mixture into dry:

And gently mix together with a spatula:

The dough will be very sticky and hard to spread, but do your best as you pour it into a nine-inch square pan (the hardest part). Then sprinkle on your spicy topping as evenly as you like. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes (ovens vary, so check at 20-22 minutes to see how it's getting along). This coffee cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with crumbs, not batter.

I serve this on weekend mornings and have served it at most of our celebratory brunches for baptisms and confirmations with family and friends. It's easy, has a nice texture and is good without being too sweet. Thank you to my mother-in-law for passing it on to me, so I could pass it on to you. Try it and enjoy!

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