Fourth Generation Coffee Cake

There’s coffee cake on this week’s menu, and it comes with a story.

My great grandmother Hetti was an amazing neshama who had a way of making you feel special and important just in the way she smiled at you. But among our family she was not known for her artistry in the kitchen. In fact, there are only two recipes which she is remember for: a chocolate chocolate chip bundt cake and the coffee cake that I have on my menu this week.

Like many women of her time, she got the recipe off a boxed cake mix. Also like many women of her time, she tinkered with that recipe until it was just a little different, until she had made it her own. The promise of a slice of coffee cake was my mother’s second-favorite thing about visiting “Gramma Hetti”. Her favorite thing, of course, was Gramma Hetti herself.

When I began plans to open my own bakery (which began when I was about 9, if I recall correctly) I knew that this had to be one of the things I offered my customers. Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken her recipe and made some changes to bring it back to its “from scratch” roots until it was just a little different, until I had made it my own. Until it was just right.

I am very happy with the result, and I think you will love it as much as my mother did as a little girl going to visit the woman who is the namesake of both my sister and my niece.

PostScript: Hetti may not have been known for many great recipes, but that doesn’t mean she was a poor cook or that she didn’t enjoy preparing good food. In fact, her enthusiasm in the kitchen inspired her son (my “Papi”) to become a lifelong foodie and passionate home cook. He, in turn, passed that appreciation (and his knife skills) to my mother. He also shared it with my sister and me when I was a little girl, insisting on cooking something special whenever he came over:

That’s my sister “helping” him make cookies. I promise our technique and kitchen hygiene have improved since this picture was taken!