Lazy weekend mornings in winter – a human form materializing from under the 3 layers of Scandinavian down at 8 a.m. – the first waking 5 minutes to loiter in starched white bed sheets with a phone, with the December sun. On weekends I am sunny-side-up, positive, and anticipating that first cup of hazelnut coffee. I reach sideways to last night’s book where I find my glasses and saunter to the couch’s worn nook to listen to the world headlines. “The century of bad news,” I sigh, but still I keep myself as a man of morning routine.
The first moments are spent in warm quietude. I once had remarked that mornings can sometimes take on a mild selfishness. They are the untouched, unsoiled moments before one intersects with the city, the urban attitudes and speed, generations of people clamoring to go nowhere fast – society and the thievery of solitude. Yet there comes an hour where you drink, dress, and undock to push off into the waters of the world.
Before the afternoon inertia to enter the city, I enjoy spending my weekend mornings baking. It isn’t all the time, I must admit as I am more savory than sweet, yet I do take pleasure in baking. We often joke in our home that watching the sweet cakes rise is like “watching tv”, crouching down to look into the oven with a second cup of coffee in hand. Last weekend was no different as we were fortunately gifted chocolates that would be ideal in my mother’s recipe for her coffee cake I had grown up with. Baking: a calm, rewarding activity for quiet mornings.
My mother’s coffee cake always makes me think of Vermont — the holiday weekends up north unpacking groceries in the summer home on Friday nights, the dusk-drive through the billowing southern Green Mountains. The coffee cake, baked with walnuts, chocolate, and cinnamon, was as regular as bed sheets. It always made the trip. The perennial family favorite.
This December in Prague it was time to bake up a piece of home and recall that holiday taste. Find the family recipe below as it pairs perfectly with a morning cup of coffee or evening treat with a cup of tea. And if you ever find yourself in Vermont? Don’t go empty-handed.
What You’ll Need
- 1 1/2 stick of butter (170g)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large room temperature eggs
- 1 tsp maple or vanilla extract
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Crumble: 1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup chopped milk chocolate, &
Prepare Your Cake
- Preheat oven to 350C (177F) and center your baking rack. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, powder, and soda – set aside. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly then add flour mixture. Following, add sour cream then eggs. Add extract. Add chocolate. Combine all ingredients but do not over-beat.
- Add half of the mixture into a greased & floured tubed pan. Sprinkle on half of the crumble. Pour rest of the batter and sprinkle the second half of the crumble.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.