Growing up, there were two cookbooks in our house that were my mothers bibles. The Panasonic Microwave cookbook and the Bisquick Recipe book. After 20odd years of constant use both were falling apart when I left home for England in 2005 and I don’t even know if she has them anymore. It is only in recent years that I have realized what a big part of my life the dishes in these books were. While I don’t use the same recipes my mom did, many of the same meals and desserts that she made from these recipes are a regular fixture on my own dining table.
On a side note, I have to give credit to Betty Crocker for the creation and phenomenal marketing of Bisquick. A staple of most American kitchen cupboards for decades, it is essentially no more than self-raising flour. When I discovered after my transatlantic move in 2005 that Bisquick was virtually unheard of here in Britain I panicked, how would I possibly bake anything??!!!? I soon realized that anything I could do with Bisquick, I could do with flour and raising agents and I never looked back. But, it shows the power of marketing, back home you use Bisquick instead of flour, pay about twice as much for it and don’t think to question it.
But lets get back to the cake, shall we? One of my absolute favourite recipes was Coffee Cake. The name is slightly misleading as it is named for being a cake you enjoy with coffee, it contains no coffee itself. I was having a look at facebook and noticed a friend had posted a picture of the British version of coffee cake, an iced “slab cake”, no doubt containing coffee flavoring and excessive amounts of sugar, I cringed just looking at it. But, it prompted memories of the delicious coffee cake I had enjoyed so much growing up. Not often, as my mother wasnt a huge fan of it, so it was even more of a pull. I had to make it. Immediately.
So, I did. The smell was wonderful, just like I remembered. The stresuel topping, amazing. The Williams-Sonoma recipe I used suggesting using a bundt pan for this cake. Friends, you know I nearly did. Nearly convinced myself that this time, I could do it! But, I pulled myself back from the edge and used my spring form pan instead.With the consequence that the edges and sides were slightly dried out and over brown.
But the cake itself! A thing of beauty. Moist. Delicious. I almost cried tears of joy at the same time as a melancholy feeling of longing for my childhood came over me. Even my husband relished every bite, before ruining it by suggesting I add glace cherries in the future. *sigh*
I’m tempted to make this an apple coffee cake next time, which would complement the cinnamon and brown sugar of streusel perfectly. A wonderful and easy cake, I recommend it wholeheartedly.