Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lover's Coffee Cake and the horror of not being "best mom ever"

Does bringing a cake to a party negate the fact you have been absent in the hostesses' life for what seems like ages?  I'm hoping it does, I really am.  I have been feeling bad that I haven't had time these days for anything extra.  I've been missing idle moments to pick up the phone and check in on a friend, or better yet stop by just because.  I've been longing for days involving sitting around in pajamas till noon, tossing something presentable on and schlepping off for a long lunch, heading home to take a nap exhausted from lunch.  Dinner is a no-brainer, ring the delivery man and say, "surprise me".  Slinking to the couch and spending the rest of my waking moments watching junk t.v.  Does anyone know what planet this life exists on, because I want to fashion a rocket ship out of used popsicle sticks and go visit said planet.

I'm still replaying the fond memories of the 50th anniversary party my 4 siblings and myself had the pleasure of hosting for our parents.  All the extra trips getting supplies, phone calls, and e-mails were worth parting with my free time.  Even the hectic pace of finishing the cake up until the 11th hour, washing dishes for the seventh time in one day, or scraping colored icing off the walls was worth it.

I feel fortunate I was able to witness such an epic milestone, I know it is a privilege and something I will always look back on lovingly.

I only had a few moments after the party to reflect and deal with the flood of emotions I was feeling about my daughter graduating from college.  I had a glorious daydream before heading up that my daughter prepared a speech in which she profusely thanked her mother for all the sacrifices made over the last few years, all the cookies sent for no reason, for wrenching her back moving her 5 times, for depositing funds to make sure she was able to have enough food that week.

I watched with tears in my eyes as they commenced by, many had personalized their caps; some even had loving messages for their parents (awe).  Wouldn't that be something if my angel paid some sort of homage to her devoted, self-sacrificing (did I mention broke from paying for college) mother, I couldn't help but think to myself.

A sea of black robes went by and out of the corner of my eye I saw her, my little girl all grown up on the way towards the rest of her life.  I held my breath looking for the "I have the best mom ever" sign to pass, but no such sight, apparently she not only received her degree with honors, but she also got a honorary doctorate in the arts of distilled spirits.  Sigh.  It only took me half a second to realize, she was just having fun and being herself and just the way I want her to be. I couldn't be prouder of my daughter and the last 4 years and all the tears (at least on my part) were totally worth it.

I received a request to review "Beach House Baking Delicious Desserts" by Lei Shishak.  I wasn't sure if I could find the time, but I read a little about Lei and liked what I saw and I thought, perhaps this would be a good book to bake with over the summer and ponder the future.  The book has lots of easy recipes, a great selection of cupcake recipes, but her fun ice cream sandwich variations are something I'm really looking forward to trying. I couldn't wait to try her Lover's Coffee Cake recipe to take advantage of the fresh cherries grown here, it did not disappoint.

Lover's Coffee Cake

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted

1)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Liberally grease a 10-inch tube pan with non-stick spray.

2)  Make the streusel:  Combine the brown sugar, almonds, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

3)  Make the cake:  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and extracts and mix until combined.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add in half of the dry ingredients followed by half of the sour cream.  Mix well on low speed. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and sour cream.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Arrange the cherries evenly over the batter.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel.  Top with the remaining batter followed by the streusel.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool completely in pan before inverting cake.  Place right-side up onto serving plate.  Garnish with powdered sugar.

*The only changes to the recipe I made were; used light brown sugar (didn't have dark on hand), creamed butter and sugar and then added rest of the ingredients at once (what can I say, except I'm lazy), and I used a bundt pan since I don't own a tube pan (I know, I'm equally ashamed of myself) which was inverted after only 10 minutes, because bundt pans are notorious for sticking.  The cake was quite popular around here and consumed in record time, so it will get baked again for sure.

Can we be friends again now?  Pretty please, with cherry streusel coffee cake on top.



  1. Hi Gina,

    Yeah... Life is never the same when we become kids and nice that you are getting the rewarding moments now seeing a little girl transforming into a clever lady. I feel the success for you when I read your post :D

    Please sit back and relax and enjoy this slice of cake. You deserve this break!


  2. So many happy, Gina!
    I am totally with Zoe, you deserve this sweet treat, so relax and enjoy.
    Have a marvelous day, Gina!

  3. Thanks Zoe and Angie, it sure does feel good to get back on some sort of schedule after a long few months. :)

  4. Wow..some emotional times for you, Gina. Cherries always make me happy and so do the cakes.. Your lover's cake looks beautiful.

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

  5. Hi Gina! I think you are an amazing mom, and you have a lovely daughter graduating from college! Such and honor and proud moment for both of you...and also seeing your parents 50th anniversary. Congratulations to you all!
    The delicious coffee cake surely put smiles on everyone's face. Love the recipe! xo

  6. So much good stuff happening to you! Glad you're having the chance to enjoy it all. And great looking coffee cake -- thanks.

  7. I can't understand the horror of it, but I am sure my own mum would relate - congrats on all the amazing moments happening for you :D
    Nothing to help you enjoy them more than this cake :D

    Choc Chip Uru