Coffee cake is one of those retro specialties, an old-school standby from the Mrs. Maisel era. You know, when having a nice, simple, home-baked “something” to serve with coffee was hostessing done right. It didn’t have to decorated to within an inch of its life and Instagram ready. Delicious sufficed.
Even my ma, who was a reluctant cook, was justly proud of her Bundt cake and made it for just about every occasion. It was moist, nutty and utterly perfect with a cup of joe. Her Sour Cream Coffee Cake was one of few recipes she left behind, and a lightened-up version even made it into the pages of Cooking Light magazine. The lighter version was nice, she noted, tactfully, though she was sad to see the original’s 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (the best part!) trimmed down to a scant 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts.
This time of year, I’m moved to make Mom’s coffee cake — in her Harvest Gold aluminum Bundt pan, of course. And me being me, I can’t resist a few changes: I use a combo of all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flours, and I’ve swapped the tablespoon of lemon extract in her version for lemon zest and juice. But I for damn sure don’t mess with the nuts.