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Old Fashioned Coffee Cake With Chocolate Icing

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Heather Rode enjoys photography, baking, antiques, and hair care.

photo by Heather Says

photo by Heather Says

These recipes are closer to my heart than most. The cake recipe is my mother's and the icing recipe was my maternal grandmother's. She (my grandmother) passed away before I was born (1919-1980). I spent a lovely and quiet afternoon baking both recipes into something of my own, feeling closer to these lovely women who gave me life.

Old Fashioned Yellow Coffee Cake

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

45 min

1 hour

8 double-layer slices


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, unbeaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cream eggs and butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well in between.
  4. Gradually add flour and milk, alternating. Mix well.
  5. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix.
  6. Add vanilla and mix.
  7. Pour into well-greased pan and bake 20-40 mins, depending on the size of baking pans. (I used two round 9" baking pans because I wanted this to be a layer cake.)


  • While the recipe called for Crisco, it also didn't say how much, so I just used a stick of butter which is pretty standard in most recipes (equates to 1/2 cup).
  • The frosting recipe below makes plenty to frost in between your cakes, but I used a delicious peanut butter alternative called Biscoff Spread. It's made from cookies and my husband and I really love it. He purchased it at Honeybaked Ham Cafe.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting

Cook time: 10-15 min Cool time: 5 min Ready in: 20 min


  • 3/4 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 2 squares chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

You can practically see through the little scrap of paper that this recipe is written on. When my mom gave me this recipe recently, it was the first time I saw my grandmother's handwriting.


  1. Put ingredients in saucepan and cook until thick. (Stir frequently on low heat.)
  2. Add vanilla after you remove from stove.
  3. Cool partly, and frost.

This combo came out quite nicely for me. My mother gave me both recipes when I was visiting her recently and putting them together seemed like a no-brainer. It was a nice experience. I really liked stopping by her house with two slices and saying, "So this is your coffee cake recipe with your mom's frosting." She had never eaten the two together, so she was nicely surprised.

I oftentimes wonder how much more delicious food used to taste before chemicals and processing . . . just cooking with fresh milk or butter for example. I don't think I've ever had fresh milk. I thought about that while making these recipes. While this came out lovely, I can only imagine how baking and cooking must have differed for my grandmother in the '30s and '40s. Enjoy!

photo by Heather says

photo by Heather says