Friday, October 7, 2011

Whole Grain Coffee Cake - a Paternal Tale

For as long as I can remember, my father has been making breakfast on Saturdays: muffins, biscuits, cornbread, pancakes, waffles...  The custom of special Saturday breakfasts is one I have brought into my own family as well (though I've added cheese grits to the line-up).

Among my father's repertoire of breakfast foods is coffee cake.  He has been baking it since my earliest days, and maybe even earlier.  And, I must say, coffee cake is one of my favorites.  So when I came home from college at the end of one semester, I was deeply disappointed to discover that coffee cake had been declared a forbidden food.  Apparently it was deemed too high in cholesterol, something the doctor was trying to bring down in my father.  Unsatisfied with this change of events, I set out to craft a new, cholesterol-friendly version.  I do not know if I succeeded - I am certainly no nutritionist - but I did end up with a recipe I rather liked.

What was my source?  Well, my father had two recipes, one for regular old coffee cake and one for "cowboy coffee cake."  Now I have poked around the internet a little, but I have yet to find out what connection cowboy coffee cake has to cowboys.  Perhaps none.  I may have asked my father about this at some point, but if I did he didn't know the answer.  Not that this bothered me too much.  I guess I assumed it was an old cowboy recipe, and at one time there were plenty of cowboys on the Plains and out West.

Anyhow, my new recipe more or less merged both of my father's and added generous amounts of whole grains and substituted some of the white sugar for brown.  As I said, I'm not sure it's healthier, but it's certainly tasty!

Whole Grain Coffee Cake

1 1/2 c. white flour
2 T ground flax seed*
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c. brown sugar, divided
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. wheat bran*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
2/3 c. vegetable oil (or apple sauce)
1 c. sour milk (if no sour milk is on hand, add 1 tsp vinegar to 1 c. milk)
2 eggs
butter or margarine, as needed for crumbs

*These ingredients, while quite good, are not essential to the recipe; whole wheat flour may be substituted.

Mix 3/4 c. white flour, flax seed, white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside 1/3 c. for crumbs.  To the main mixture, add 1/4 c. brown sugar and remaining ingredients (including remaining 3/4 c. white flour).  Pour batter into two greased 8" x 1 1/2" round pans.  Mix remaining 1/2 c. of brown sugar with crumb mixture and cut in butter/margarine as needed (approx. 3 Tbsp) for a crumbly consistency and sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. 

Once again, our picture is not original.  This one comes from
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