Thursday, February 18, 2010

Camp Revisited: Coffee Cake

At sleepaway camp when we were kids, one of the standing traditions was the Saturday morning coffee cake. Every week, we knew that there would be a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, orange slices, frosted flakes-- and coffee cake. The cake varied greatly in terms of quality from week to week. Sometimes it was moist with lots of sugary topping; other times, it was kind of burnt and dry with almost no topping at all. Yet somehow, it never seemed to matter. No matter what, we would consume it in mass quantities, going back to kitchen for refill after refill.

Years passed, I stopped going back to camp, and coffee cake (sadly) ceased to make regular appearances in my life. So imagine my joy when I encountered a recipe for coffee cake while leafing through The Kosher Palatte. Anything that claimed to be better than Drake's-- snack cakes having been another feature of my childhood at camp-- was something that I simply had to try.

I had a couple of reservations looking at the recipe. Or really, just one-- the sheer quantity of butter the recipe called for. Meaning, a whole box. Ew. I understand that my sisters have made their peace with using endless amounts of butter, but I am not there yet. However, a few years ago, one of my roommate's friends taught me an excellent trick. You can almost always halve the butter, add skim milk as needed to get to the desired consistency, and it will taste the same. This trick has not failed me yet, and this time was no exception. Also, the recipe says you can make this coffee cake parve, but I find the idea of cooking with that much margarine and non-dairy creamer to be disgusting, so I will not encourage such behavior. You can decide for yourself.

Better-than-Drakes Coffee Cake (Adapted):

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of milk
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set it aside.

Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl and put them aside. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the butter and the egg mixture, mixing until just combined. Pour batter
into the prepared baking dish.

Combine the dry ingredients for the topping, stirring until well blended. Add the butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture onto the cake.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow it to cool, and enjoy!

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