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Old Fashioned Coffee Cake With Chocolate Icing


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


Better Yourself from North Carolina on November 07, 2013:

Yum, YUM! This looks amazing! I need to plan a get together with some girlfriends just so I can make this otherwise I will eat the whole thing myself which would be very bad! Thanks so much for sharing such a special recipe!

Heather (author) from Arizona on June 22, 2012:

Thanks Simone and midnightbliss! I had no idea that this hub would be such a hit NOR did I ever think it would stir up some happy emotions with those who read it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Maybe I'll turn this style into my habit :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 22, 2012:

This cake looks so incredible, and even though it's not MY family's recipe, I feel an incredible sense of nostalgia just reading through your Hub! Awesome recipe.

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on June 22, 2012:

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your hub. It brought back so many wonderful memories from childhood. And, I can't wait to try the recipe!

Heather (author) from Arizona on June 21, 2012:

@ignugent17, Well thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

@Jools99, Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub! I really enjoyed preparing for it and putting it together :)

@randomcreative, Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your feedback because your hubs are always to-die-for :)

@moonlake, Thanks for the kind words. I love looking at old pictures of my mother because she reminds me of Jackie Kennedy.

@Trish_M, oh I know the feeling! 30 days of a cooking/baking/dessert challenge isn't the best way to start off my summer!

@Sunshine625, Thanks! Well then we both have some great style! The cake stand was a recent addition to my culinary aresenal and I got it for 7 bucks on clearance at the corning ware store! I haven't stopped using it since bringing it home. Thanks for stopping by!

@tillsontitan, Haha, thanks for the kind words. I come from a long line of women who love to cook-- although I've still got lots to practice! Thanks for stopping by!

@Gypsy48, Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed reading :)

@Docmo, Thanks for your kind words. You captured exactly what I was trying to convey about my grandmother's handwriting. It was moving! Thanks for stopping by and sharing :)

@K9keystrokes, Thanks for the kind words. "Matriarchs" sounds very powerful.. people should use this word for often :) I strive for retro and I'm glad you enjoyed!

@Robin, Thanks for sharing! I love the way old handwriting looks. Everyone's today is so modern and or sloppy. I'm glad you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by.

@kelleyward, Thanks as always. Your comments always make my day!

@littlemarkiesmom, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed :)

ignugent17 on June 21, 2012:

Wow! Looks very delicious and I can't wait to make one for my husband and myself. Thanks for sharing your recipe for everyone Heather Says.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on June 21, 2012:

Heather, great hub. I love the scans of your original recipes and the lovely photos of your mam and grandmother. Isn't it great that recipes come down the generations? Imagine, your grandmother made this for your mam when she was just a girl and then she made it for you and now you're sharing it with the world :o)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 20, 2012:

Beautifully presented article! This has such a classic feel. Thanks for sharing all of the family history behind this recipe.

moonlake from America on June 20, 2012:

This looks very good. Love your hub. Your mother and grandmother were pretty ladies. What great photos. Voted Up

Heather (author) from Arizona on June 20, 2012:

Thanks everyone :)

Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on June 20, 2012:

Well, there goes the diet!!! :) :)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on June 20, 2012:

OMG this looks delish! Way to go Heather! I have those same dessert plates! I wish I had that stand and cake instead!:)

Mary Craig from New York on June 20, 2012:

How great is this? Not only a fantastic recipe but it's history with a little bit of your history. It doesn't get any better than this. As for the cake, I think you should start baking and start shipping, we can all provide addresses ;)

Five Stars! Voted up, useful and interesting. Shared with my followers.

Gypsy48 on June 20, 2012:

Beautiful hub, love the hand written recipes. I wish I had a piece of that cake to go with my coffee right now. Looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing:)

Mohan Kumar from UK on June 20, 2012:

Heather, not only have you shared a delicious recipe, you've added a whole new layer of goodness to your cakes by sharing their origins. It was quite moving to see those handwritten recipes. A legacy, a tradition and a wonderful gift indeed. I also have a small notebook of my (late) mother's recipes that are precious to me. This is utterly delightful and will do no good for my waistline! But who dares, enjoys!

India Arnold from Northern, California on June 20, 2012:

This is so moving, seeing the hand written script of your matriarchs. This is the type of recipe every good cook strives to uncover in the hidden corners of her [or his] mother's kitchen drawer. The cake and frosting look amazingly retro, which gets high marks in my book! Thank you for sharing such a treasure with us. Voted up and more!


Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on June 19, 2012:

I love your Hubs, Heather! This is a great recipe that I will have to try. The script of your grandmother's handwriting is so similar to my grandmother's. I have many of her old recipe cards as well; they are priceless. Thanks for sharing!

kelleyward on June 19, 2012:

Wow Heather your hubs are so beautiful! I feel like I'm right there in your home as you make them. Voted up and awesome! Kelley

littlemarkiesmom from The hot, humid South on June 19, 2012:

Oh my gosh, I sooo did not need to see this right now! My mouth is watering... this looks delicious!

All that aside ;) great little hub. Love that you threw a little history in there and your pics are absolutely awesome. Great job! :)

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