My grandmother was not much of a cook. Unlike many women of her generation, her primary interest was the family business rather than household tasks. Despite her limited kitchen time, my grandmother had a few specialties. One of them was her sour cream coffee cake with its addictive cinnamon nut topping.
My grandparents were breakfast experts whether my grandfather’s waffles or my grandmother’s coffee cake. What I looked forward to most when visiting was the smell of coffee and the noise of the juicer signaling that a.m. meal. Those mornings made me love breakfast so much that I occasionally indulge in breakfast for dinner.
The recipe for my grandmother’s cinnamon coffee cake is preserved on a smudged sheet of paper with “GOOD LUCK” as the final instruction typed in all caps. My mom altered the original by swapping the sour cream for Greek yogurt, an ingredient both of us usually have in the fridge. My grandmother would be delighted that her recipe continues to be in demand and part of the repertoire of my mom, me and I hope another generation.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Makes one 8-inch square cake
Butter for greasing pan
Flour for dusting pan
For cinnamon nut topping and filling
1 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square metal baking pan and dust with flour tapping out the excess.
For the cinnamon nut topping and filling, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition and then add the vanilla extract. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the yogurt and then gently fold in the dry ingredients until the mixture is just combined.
Spread half the batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with half the cinnamon nut mixture. Spread the other half of the batter evenly on top and cover with the remaining cinnamon nut mixture.
Bake the coffee cake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container.