Here we were again. No cake. Like my mother before me, I am a sucker for cake for breakfast. I was forced to eat many-a-coffee cake from the freezer section of our local grocery store when we ran out of the long plastic sleeves of powdered donuts. I never complained. I don't recall a homemade coffee cake ever entering the picture. I'd probably have laughed if someone tried telling me you could make your own coffee cake!
I had another rough week. I've been a bit under the weather--overwhelmed with life in general. I'm not locking myself in the bedroom and turning into a gothic novel . . . yet. I try to listen to my heart and my gut in all matters. I've recently been contemplating a change that I've had gnawing at my soul for over two years now. I wanted to step away from something. It was a volunteer "something"--a something I'd been very involved with--again, for over ten years. This week, I finally decided. I was going to resign, and move on. This would not be the first time in my life I've said, "Enough". There have been marriages, jobs, friends, hobbies, aerobic classes--all of which have involved in one way or another a hard stop.
I won't go into the details, but will share that having made this decision official, I feel like a cement block has been lifted from my shoulders. I think strength comes from knowing when to leave. As women, we are wired to feel guilt to a degree that would classify us as potential candidates for the Most-Paranoid-Overly-Obsessed gender on the planet. That's why TV producers flock to private lives of women (and not men) bringing us intellectual pursuits like Real Housewives. (No, I am not a fan.) Talk about two steps forward, ten back. You'll never see them make a show called Real Husbands. There'd be fistacuffs, lines drawn in the sand, high noon quick draws--and that would be that. At Almost Fifty, I am beginning to realize more and more that true happiness is only going to come from one place. Me. If I allow things to control me, then there is a problem. And that problem would be: Kelly's unhappy. No one wants that. Trust me.
Well, anyway, I've turned another page in my personal journey. Now for some cake. I picked up this precious little cake book called, Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I jumped right in and made this amazing coffee cake and we've been enjoying it for the past three mornings. I store the cake covered in the pan I baked it in in the fridge. I think the cake is getting better with each passing day. Dr. Thyme requested two pieces for this morning's commute. God bless him. (Because the recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan--I thought, Cripes, we'll never eat all of this cake, I'll have to freeze some of it. Uh, three quarters of the cake is gone!)
Here's the prep for the topping. Pretty straightforward.
This cake requires very gently folding in of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients at the end for the batter. You'll have quite a thick batter to spread into the cake pan. You will blend the heck out of the butter and sugar in the beginning--building up air in the mixture so you won't end up with a coffee brick. But once that step is over, just gently fold the flour alternately with the milk mixture.
This was what we had left of the cake on day two. I'll add my two cents here. The cake is just as good as an afternoon snack!
Vegan Coffee Cake
*Adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott
Makes one 9 x 13" cake
For The Filling
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (I used whole nutmeg and grated about twenty strokes of this into the mixture)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup vegetable margerine (1 1/2 sticks)
Place all nuts in a bowl. Then the raisins in another. Set aside. Then, in a separate bowl, melt the margerine and set it aside. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in bowl and set this aside. (*You are doing this because when this is ready to be added to the cake, they each get added separately. You'll see.)
For The Cake Batter
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (use the scoop and sweep method to measure!)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup unsalted vegetable margerine
1 cup Florida Crystals Sugar
2 eggs (using 3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons water)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat the baking pan with non-stick baking spray. Take the margerine and cut it into little cubes and place in a mixing bowl. (This allows the margerine to come to room temp a bit.). Next, measure the almond milk out--set aside. Prep the egg replacer stuff so you'll have it ready to add to the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the milk with the extracts. Set aside. Now, cream together the margerine with the sugar in a large mixing bowl--for a good 3-4 minutes. You want this to be light and fluffy. I used my hand mixer vs. my stand mixer this time around. Add the egg replacer to this butter mixture. Mix really well--another 3-4 minutes. Next, you will add about a third of the flour mixture with a spoon to this! No more hand mixer needed. Just a spoon from here on out. Add a third of the milk mixture next. Mix it with a spoon until most of the batter is moist. Next, repeat this two more times. The batter will be thick--and that's okay. Spread half of the batter onto the bottom of the cake pan. Next, sprinkle this with half the brown sugar mixture. Then, spread over this with half of the melted margerine. And finally, add half of the raisins and nuts over this. Repeat this with the remaining batter--spreading it over the first layer as carefully as you can--having a few gaps is okay. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few cake crumbs on it. Be sure to test the cake for doneness--it's a bit tricky to tell because of the cinnamon stuff in the middle, but trust me, you don't want this cake to overbake or underbake. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.