Thank you Marion Kane

I’ve been missing my Mom a lot lately. Probably because I’m working on a few decorating projects around my house.  A passion for decor and design was the one thing that my Mom and I had in common. I could always count on her for a colour consult.  Interior design was always neutral ground. My Mother preferred to decorate kitchens then spend a lot of time in them, a baker she was not. Yet, once in a while she would get the urge to be be “domestic” as she would say, and would bake either a banana bread or my favorite, sour cream cinnamon swirl coffee cake. Both were always delicious. The banana bread recipe I know by heart as I would sometimes make it myself as a teenager, but the coffee cake recipe was lost when my Mom died. And so the cake became a food memory. Food memories tend to soften the reality of complicated and imperfect relationships.  Illusive or lost recipes are in someway like road maps to our hearts, where the journey becomes a quest to find joy, comfort, and a soft place to land.

While thrifting this summer, I picked up a copy of the Best of Food, Marion Kane’s favorite recipes from the Toronto Star published in 1997. It is a collection of uncomplicated recipes submitted by readers, local chefs and her own mother Ruth. While published almost twenty years ago, the recipes are familiar yet contemporary. But for me, what matters, is there on page 119, is a recipe for my Mom’s coffee cake, with the added bonus of blueberries in the cinnamon swirl if you’d like. It’s not a complicated recipe, my Mom wouldn’t have had the patience for that and the ingredients are ones that you probably have in your house right now. It is however, a cake that’s perfect with hot tea or coffee on a cool wet fall day while flipping through design mags contemplating a colour change for your walls. I know that  my Mom would agree.

Coffee Cake from Marion Kane’s the Best of Food

1/4 cup (50ml) packed brown sugar

1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon

1 cup (250ml) butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups (300ml) granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 cup (250ml) sour cream or plain yogurt, I used full fat sour cream, in Southern On I buy Western brand

1 tsp. (5ml) vanilla

1 tbsp. (15ml) finely grated lemon rind

2 1/2 cups (625ml) cake and pastry flour, I used all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp.. (7ml) baking powder

1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda

1/2 tsp. (2ml) salt

3/4 cup (175ml) fresh or frozen blueberries

Icing sugar

In  small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

In large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. beat in sour cream, vanilla, and lemon rind.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture, mixing well until batter is smooth.

Spread half of batter over bottom of greased and floured 10-inch (3L) Bundt pan. Sprinkle with half of brown sugar mixture, then half the blueberries. Using fork, gently swirl together layers. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture and blueberries.

Bake in preheated 350 F (180C) oven for about 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving.

makes 12 to 16 servings.

Thank you Marion. xo

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