Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Butterquick Coffee Cake from Mamaw’s Recipe Box

The morning aromas from the kitchen are often remembered with fondness and longing: Freshly brewed coffee. Bacon sizzling to a crisp in the skillet. Toast popping and ready for butter and jam (or cinnamon-sugar!)

Now add my Mamaw’s Butterquick Coffee Cake to the list, for as it bakes the most wonderful smell of brown sugar and cinnamon fills the air.

Mamaw’s recipe card says she found the instructions for this coffee cake from August 10, 1980 edition of Missouri Ruralist, a publication my parents continue to receive on the farm. And I know why it caught her attention: It’s easy to make!

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, Mamaw hated to cook. However, she created many wonderful dishes, probably because she was a farmer’s wife in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, etc, and it was expected of her.

(The picture was taken by Papaw at the farm and is of Mamaw and Mom holding me when I was four months old.)

To make this recipe even easier, I tried out a mixing method I’ve watched Nigella Lawson do many times on her cooking shows. I put all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizzed them together! In a snap, the cake batter was ready for the pan. The only thing I mixed by hand was the crunchy topping.

I think Mamaw would have approved.  

This delicate cake with its crunchy nut-coconut topping practically melts in your mouth. Since the hearty breakfast Mamaw typically prepared each morning consisted of cereal, eggs, bacon, toast, and orange juice, I think she would have served this coffee cake to friends when they came to play cards, or the women’s church group on these lovely dessert plates.

Butterquick Coffee Cake would also make a yummy after-school snack. Just imagine the kids walking in the door to be greeted by the aroma of freshly-baked cake.

Got milk?

Butterquick Coffee Cake

For crunchy topping:
2 tablespoons soft butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of coconut and/or 1/2 cup chopped nuts

For cake:
1/2 cups soft unsalted butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

To make the crunchy topping: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until crumbly. (The easiest way is to rub everything together with your fingers.) Stir in the coconut and/or nuts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the cake, place all of the ingredients into the food processor, putting in the liquid ingredients first, and then the dry. Whiz everything together until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour into the pan. Cover the top with the crunchy topping. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Serve warm.  


  1. Just looking at these pictures is making my mouth water. I love anything with cinnamon, especially cake. Mix that with the crunchy nut/coconut topping and I'm sooo tempted to just reach into the screen and grab this!

  2. Linda, This looks so delicious…it’s the kind of cake that I enjoy the most…perfect with tea for breakfast!