Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Favorite Coffee Cake

People sometimes ask me how I come up with a recipe. For the most part, the answer is pretty simple.....I tinker. I simply take an existing recipe and make it my own. The rule is that you have to make at least 3 major changes (and change the title) to make the recipe yours. The coffee cake recipe that I'm going to present to you today, is not my own. It is, however, an example of a recipe that is very adaptable--it is very easy to swap out ingredients and make an entirely different cake.

First, let's take a look at the basic recipe. Truthfully, I'm not sure who to give credit* to for this one as it's been in the family for years. Even in its original form, it is a very popular cake....cinnamony, moist, sweet, get the picture. Here is the recipe:

My Favorite Coffee Cake


4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon butter flavoring
1 envelope Dream Whip
1 pkg yellow cake mix (no pudding in the mix---use Duncan Hines)
1 (small) package instant vanilla or butterscotch pudding

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Grease and flour and oblong angel food cake pan. (or use a regular tube/bundt pan or two regular loaf pans and adjust baking time)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients. Beat a low speed for 30 seconds to combine, then beat at med/high speed for 6 minutes.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping mixture. Pour in remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining topping. Cut through the batter with a knife to swirl in the topping. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before removing. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.

Here's where I started changing things around with this batch. I blended together 1/4 cup softened butter with 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. You can see in some of the pictures where this mixture might have been a bit heavy---it didn't swirl nicely and settled near the bottom. But it was very tasty and I would make it this way again!

I took a few liberties again with the glaze. Since I'm not a huge fan of raw powdered sugar, I made a very easy penuche glaze.

You can see just how easy and versatile this recipe is---swap out chocolate cake for the yellow, chocolate pudding mix for the vanilla, and use some Oreo crumbs and mini chocolate chips for the middle. Or use the Butterscotch pudding and swirl in some chocolate syrup. Let your taste buds be your guide.....

*My sister just informed me of the origins of this wonderful treat. Apparently, it is known as "That" Coffee Cake or "Shiva" Cake and is a very popular recipe belonging to Temple Israel in Minneapolis. They even take orders for this stuff....see, and now you can make it at home. :)  She also wanted to pass along that this cake, made in its original form, tastes great toasted and smeared with butter.


  1. hahaha....i think I asked you that very same question!!! ok....this coffee cake looks unreal! I've been thinking about coffee cake lately. I think it's about time to make some :)

  2. Oh this is awesome... Penuche Glaze?!?!?! YUM!

  3. Wow! What a delicious sugar bomb that cake must be with the penuche on top. I love the presentation of it baked in the loaf pan; like a tea cake. Okay, now that I wrote that, I am wondering what the difference is between a coffee cake and a tea cake. Any ideas?

  4. Devastating. When's breakfast? :D

  5. i'm a tinkerer too (i was gonna say i'm a tweaker, but i was afraid you might take it the wrong way...). :)
    tremendous cake--i really like the things you did to alter the recipe, especially the penuche up top. good stuff, cathy!

  6. Coffee cake is one of my favorite things to make. Yours looks really moist!

  7. Your photos are unbelievable!!! Cannot wait to get in the kitchen and whip this up!
    Thanks Cathy!

  8. Your goodies look sooooooooo goooooooooood!
    I really miss being able to use Duncan Hines cake mixes. They are the best!

    I am so tempted to try to make this with Betty's's GF cake mix. Just have to get the dream whip.

  9. I just made the same recipe. I loved it. How did you get your glaze to look so good? Mine tasted good but did not look nearly as nice as yours.
    Great job