Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sandy's Mama's Coffee Cake

This morning I was sorting through my recipe file. Remembering the great and saying goodbye to some recipes that are not meaningful or just not appealing. One recipe I came across was a coffee cake recipe from the mother of a long ago neighbor.

We have a favorite story about Sandy and the birth of my handsome son Jon. Sandy our next door neighbor who was very excited about Jon's birth.We were anxious to have him and bring him home from the hospital to introduce him to our family, friends and of course, Sandy. Jon was an adorable baby from the moment I knew a baby was coming. I worked as a social worker in Detroit and made visits to a number of long term care facilities in opposite corners of the big city. The amazing thing about being pregnant with Jon was once I knew he was there I never felt alone. He was a calm traveler and just so snuggy. I felt like I always had a lunch companion at the little diner where I ate lunch on the days I visited patients. I just knew he was wonderful and special - and he is today!

When he was born he was not a chubby round cherub. He was 21" long and weighed in at 5lbs. 13 oz. While in the hospital he lost another 10 ounces making him a scrawny little fellow with a very old soul and bright eyes. To make matters worse he was a double footling breech delivery so he was purple from his toes to his knees.

Several days after we arrived home the doorbell rang and it was Sandy. She was so excited. I took her back to our bedroom where Jon lay on a soft flannel blanket in the middle of the bed. She hurried to the bed and bent over him. Quickly, she stood up and said, "I have to go.", and shot out the door. I was confused and disappointed to say the least.

Life went on and after several missteps Jon took off. He doubled his birthweight and became a blond, merry baby with lots of chubby cherubness. Just incredibly handsome and so cute. He had "screw on" hands and feet and flesh epaulets on his shoulders. I was walking him down the street in his stroller when he was about four months old when Sandy pulled up in her driveway and got out of the car. She walked over to us and looked at me and said, "Who is this?" Incredulously, I said, " Jon". I mean, who else could it have been! She couldn't believe me. We came very close to matching footprints on his hospital papers with his footprints - she did not believe me. Finally, she agreed and promptly fell in love with him. She babysat for him and often stopped in to chat and play. After another six months, she confided to me that the day she first saw Jon she thought he was an ugly baby. She then explained that she had been so upset about this and so sorry for me that she went home and cried for me for days.

Truth be told, I saw that sweet new born baby through my eyes of loving him from the time I knew he was coming knowing he would chub up and grow. A mom just knows these things. However, baby pictures do not lie. That picture from the hospital taken just after his birth shows that he had movie star looks. He looked just like ET.

Sandy's Mom and Dad often babysat when we did things with Sandy. Her Mom made a wonderful German coffeecake that was really great. We often shared this cake and laughed about Sandy and my little baby.

German Coffeecake

1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and cut in small pieces
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 C. ground walnuts
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. sugar
1 pint sour cream
6 eggs

Mix together and set aside brown sugar and cinnamon

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and set aside.

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, beat well until blended. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the eggs, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well but not too long.

Butter and flour a 9" tube pan or a bundt pan. Pour in 1/3 of the batter, top with 1/3 of the cut up cherries and 1/3 of the nut mixture. Repeat this a second and third time.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Insert a tooth pick or a wooden skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging it is done. Let it rest for 15 minutes on a rack and then invert it onto a platter.


  1. I think you were pregnant with Jon when you visited Ted and I in Boston. I know I have a photo of you and I sitting on the Boston Common. Talk about green with I wanted to have a baby then.

  2. We had such a great time on that trip. I think it was around Easter or early spring. I just remember how tired I was. You and I would go upstairs and Ted and Steve would stay down late into the night talking. Pork Chop would take messages up and down the stairs. I don't think I knew I was pregnant then