Miss Rockwood's Coffee Cake
When things are really on my mind, there are two things I do: Cook and clean. If it’s a happy something on my mind, I cook. Frustrating, maddening, annoying, can’t-figure-it-out sorts of things, I clean. Cook and clean all together? Those grey cells are battling royally in my head, and I know I’ll be writing all night long.
Then there’s Miss Rockwood’s Coffee Cake. My mouth has begun to water as the cinnamon sugar stirs in my brain. I can’t even type this. She made the BEST coffee cake around, and it had to be made a certain way or it didn’t come out right. Carole and I make the streusel and double the recipe when things are really not going well—half for the cake, half for us to wallow our pity into. There’s probably Kleenex next to the bins of flour and sugar. I’d say the streusel’s equally good on vanilla ice cream, but in reality, it’s good in a paper cup or on a spoon. Or on a finger that’s been dipped in the cake batter (my favorite). My kids have never been fond of nuts in things, but you need that to keep the streusel crumbly. Walnuts or pecans work well, but not on them, so one year I made it with oatmeal instead—wasn’t even trying to be healthier, just going for the texture and crumbliness. They loved it. Mom was horrified. It’s all about the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, with something to keep it from all melting together. Like it really matters—I can bake one after dinner and it’ll be gone by the next morning even if I hide it when the kids go to bed.
So if you call me or Carole up and we say we’re not doing much, just whipping up one of Miss Rockwood’s Coffee Cakes, your first thought should be, “are you okay?” I’m not quite sure why we both, on opposite coasts, found this our recipe of comforting choice from our little adopted Grandmother, but it works. The sugary comfort food when smashed potatoes just doesn’t cut it, and you know the cookies are for sharing with friends.
Email me; I’ll send you the recipe!