Saturday mornings up north, my sister and I would often make breakfast.  While the early days were eggs scrambled in the microwave with donuts cut into eighths to accompany them, it didn’t take long for us to move onto using the oven and the recipe on the side of the Bisquick box to make coffee cake.  Sweet, crumbly and with deep craters where the unevenly spread brown-sugar-butter strusel topping went all the way down to the bottom of the cake in preferred spots.  From there we moved to a Betty Crocker from-scratch version, and I remember a period when we were insatiable teenagers where we would even make two 9×9 cakes for breakfast.  Dad would always butter his, and we would fight over the middle piece, which inevitably had the best topping on offer.  After moving to Texas, we discovered Krusteez Crumb Cake mix, which offered a pretty good impersonation of our breakfast favorite for $1.22 + one egg, and Angel brought along a box for the end of each sister-dinner.

Now here we are all grown up in Malaysia, without a cake-mix box in sight for less than $12.  I was immediately drawn to this recipe in Melissa Clark’s cookbook for “Whole Wheat Cinnamon Snacking Cake”.  After making it, I was taken back to those sugary mornings and decided this was a breakfast food after all.  The crumb is different, the yogurt lending it a dense, pound cakeish texture (perfect roadtrip snack!), but the cinnamon and brown sugar are definitely there, with the added draw of walnuts this time.  Here’s to coffee cake bread.  And Dad, you can even butter this one too.

Coffee Cake Bread ( adapted from In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite)

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped toasted walnuts
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk together sugar, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, soda and salt.  Whisk into liquid mixture until totally smooth.
  4. Add butter slowly, folding with a spatula.
  5. In a small bowl, use your fingers to mix the strusel topping (walnuts to salt).
  6. Pour down half the batter, then half the topping, the rest of the batter and the rest of the topping.  Be generous with the corners and end pieces, or else everyone will fight for the middle.
  7. Bake 45-55 minutes, testing for done-ness with a toothpick.  If its completely clean, you’re good to go.  Cool on a rack, then invert to a plate to cut and serve.
A note about the middle picture above: Miles loves to help in the kitchen.  Yes, he’s in the buff.  Yes, its dark because it is a ridiculous pre-dawn hour.  That’s how we roll around here.