Brother Aidan Owen carries on his grandmother’s tradition of making coffee cakes during this time of year:
“Along with her equally famous rum cake, my grandmother used to make dozens of these cakes each Advent and Christmas. One year we counted 65 cakes! Everyone seemed to want one. I can remember her saying, ‘I don’t know why everyone goes crazy over this cake. It’s just a plain old coffee cake.’ In some ways she was completely right, but there really is something heavenly about it.
My favorite part was always the flaky top of the cake, crunchy from the cinnamon-sugar. I’d break off small pieces of it when my grandmother’s back was turned. When she saw the pieces missing from her cakes, she’d threaten to come after me with her wooden spoon. But there was always a smile in her voice that belied her threat.
Making these cakes together became a tradition for us. My grandmother has since gone to glory, but when I make one of these cakes, she’s right by my side again.”
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain,
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign;
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall fee the token
That His Word is never broken. ~ Johannes Olearius (1611-1684)
St. Timothy’s Coffee Cake
- 2 sticks butter (softened at room temperature)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups unsifted flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans work best)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. It’s a nice touch to add cinnamon to your flour for this step.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add nuts and raisins and coat well. Set aside.
Cream butter until light and fluffy.
Add sugar gradually and continue to cream. Blend in vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Blend well. The batter will look like whipped cream tinged with honey.
Turn batter into Bundt pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake for 60 minutes or until cake tests done.
Leave in pan for at least one hour before turning out. Turn out and sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar.
Submitted by: Brother Aidan Owen, Order of the Holy Cross
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Tomorrow: Soup Joumou