I am a fan of cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas, and when I recently ran across a copy of her Old-Fashioned American Desserts, before I knew it I was in the kitchen making her Old-Fashioned Lemon-Nut Coffee Cake. Its simplicity appealed to me: I had just been riffling through the latest Bon Appetit magazine, and had noticed the expensive and difficult-to-find ingredients in many of the recipes. Sometimes I’m up for looking for heirloom apples and artisanal cheeses; other times I enjoy making something simple. The result was a moist, lemony coffee cake that was perfect with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. Here is the recipe:
Old-fashioned Lemon-Nut Coffee Cake
1 cup flour
1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind or
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-or 9-inch square cake pan. Optional but good to do: Line with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the nuts. Remove and reserve 1/3 cup of the mixture. In another bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk, and lemon rind or extract together. Stir the egg mixture into dry ingredients. Do not overmix: the batter will not be smooth looking. Turn into the prepared pan and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 25 minutes until golden.
Baking notes: I also added 1/3 cup flaked unsweetened coconut along with the nuts. It added a little something. I also used a terra cotta pan. If you do, or use Pyrex, decrease the temperature by 25 degrees.
Some flowers fresh from the garden . . .
Yesterday I was in the kitchen (the story of my life) and saw some commotion out at the bird feeder. This little finch was stretching and fluffing his feathers, and I ran for the camera.