Mary’s Coffee Cake Recipe

IMG_1884Found a family treasure in Aunt Helen’s recipe file. Every time Frank’s parents arrived at our house, his mother would walk in the door carrying her coffee cake. That would only be part of the largess. Out would come the big tin of “good” oil, the block of Parmesan, a wedge of “eating cheese,” the thinly cut veal for cutlets. There would also be cookies and a box of pastry from Lucibello’s.

The coffee cake was Grandma Mary’s signature dish. She baked it in a square tube pan. I never thought to ask her for the recipe while she was alive, so it didn’t occurred to me that it was still available until I found it on a tattered piece of paper in Aunt Helen’s collection. I baked it yesterday, and it is definitely Mary’s coffee cake.

In an effort to recreate her presentation, I went on a search for a square tube pan. Trust me, it’s not a common shape, but I found one on Amazon. It’s due here today. The next time I make this cake, it will not only taste like Grandma Mary’s, it will look like it too.

Mary’s Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening ( I used softened butter )
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla


1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBS flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. melted butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts


1. Mix  the streusel filling in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
3. Mix the butter (or shortening) into the dry ingredients. I used a hand mixer, but I guess a wooden spoon would work.
4. Add the beaten egg, milk and vanilla. Mix to combine.
5. Put half of the dough in a well greased 8 by 8 pan. ( I also put a square of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.) Add half of the filling. Cover with the rest of the dough. Top with the rest of the filling.
6. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Instinct tells me that Mary doubled this recipe to provide enough batter for the tube pan.
Happy to have made this discovery. Mary’s coffee cake lives!


About Mary Jane

I am a retired English teacher. My husband, Frank, and I have lived on Cape Cod since 2000. I am a lifelong bread baker and writer and have been posting a blog on Falmouth Patch for the last few years. Savory Seasons has been largely devoted to recipes and food in general. I am hoping to expand my focus in this new blog.
This entry was posted in recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s