Old-Fashioned Lemon Nut Coffee Cake and a Little Finch

IMG_9338I 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

IMG_93431 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 egg
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 . . .

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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.

Namaste. Fran

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8 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Lemon Nut Coffee Cake and a Little Finch

  1. The food looks awesome (for medical reasons my diet, pretty much for the rest of my life, given my limited cooking skills, is grim) and that finch actually kind of looks wise. He (or she) knows something, that’s for sure.

    1. I don’t know if they are wise, exactly, but we could take a leaf from their book as to not worrying about the past or future, or not worrying about what should be or could be. Just being a bird seems enough.

  2. Backing up to the subject of squirrels, does anyone know how friendly they are to each other? My totally uniformed view, based on nothing more than seeing squirrels, is that when you see them chasing each other or apparently wrestling, they are buddies and it is play. But is that true?

    I wonder because the other day, driving in my neighborhood (about 25mph) I turned a corner and there were two squirrels either playing or fighting, right in the middle of the street.

    Furthermore, they were so focused on what they were doing that they were a little slow on the take, noticing a car bearing down on them. Fortunately for all, I saw them in plenty of time, and they safely scurried to opposite sides of the street.

    It was surely my imagination that one of them gave me a kind of wink of thanks. Anyway, they strike me as friendly, happy little creatures. Or is nature actually cruel?

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