My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coffee Field

Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.                
~ Josh Billings
You know, life is funny.  I started this blog in July after I got laid off from the office job I'd held for 8 years.  Well, last week I went to one of my favorite places downtown to ask if they wanted to submit a recipe for Guest Recipe Sunday here on the blog.  Instead they offered me a job!  It's 180 degrees from what I was doing, but it suits my personality much better.  It would not have been listed in the paper, I wasn't looking for it, and I never would have gone looking for if I had not gotten laid off, so basically, this blog got me a job.  I have to tell you I was nervous starting something new (since there is already so much new in my life), but am already settled in and excited about working.  The thing is, I will be surrounded by extraordinary looking baked goodies all day, but if I have a piece of this coffee cake before I go in, maybe I won't be tempted to do a swan dive into the muffin display.
Mmmm, can't you just taste it?
This is my most used recipe.  Since I developed it about 6 years ago, I've made it at least 50 times.  Definitely on my top 10 list of favorite breakfast foods.  It used to frustrate me when I baked one (Bundt cake size) and it would be gone in just hours so I came up with a recipe that worked in a quarter sheet cake pan.

There's a story behind the name.  I have copies of the recipe at home, because people have requested it so often, but the title is "Margaret's Humongous Coffee Cake."  When my son was 18, one of his friends received a week rental of a house on Martha's Vineyard (graduation present) and invited Curtis and at least 6 other guys (and I actually let him go!).  I made this to send with them and the boys said "This isn't a coffee cake, it's a coffee FIELD!"  And that is what we've called it ever since.  
After it cools, I cut it up into individual serving pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them.  It's our go-to food for breakfast and snacks on the run.  One of my sons even prefers it in its frozen state.  The other one loves to bring it to the airport when he travels.  Personally, I pack a few hunks whenever I travel, so I don't have to eat some dismal hotel Continental breakfast, because it's bad enough if I can't find a decent cup of coffee, you know what I mean?  At least I can have coffee cake!

Coffee Field

1 pound salted butter, (2 1/2 sticks of it softened and 1 1/2 sticks left cold)
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour(for topping)
6 cups flour (for cake)
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 (16 ounce) cartons of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 1/4 sheet cake pan (12x15 inches).

You will need 3 mixing bowls.  first, prepare the topping.  In one bowl, mix the walnuts with cinnamon and brown sugar.  In another bowl, cut the 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter into the 1 cup of flour until the pieces are the size of peas.  Next, add 2 1/4 cups of the nuts mixture to the flour/butter mixture and use your fingers to smash it together until it is nice and crumbly.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the remaining butter with 3 cups of sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each.  Combine flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture, alternately with the sour cream, beating well after each addition.

Spread half the cake patter in the pan.  Sprinkle what is left of the brown sugar-nut mixture over the batter.  Add the remaining batter by spoonfuls and spread evenly over the nut mixture.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter.  Bake 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Depending on your oven and weather conditions, it may take 5 or 10 mins more.  


Sharon said...

Yum. It's dangerous to read about such deliciousness so early in the morning!
Congratulations on the new job!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Sharon! I know what you mean. I just wolfed a piece like a starving refugee. I'll be sharing more about my adventures on the job. Thanks for popping by!

Mike said...

That does look awesome! Much better that the apple & cinnamon oatmeal I had this morning!

And yeah congrats on the new job...that's exciting!

Amy said...

I love coffee cake! (okay, who am I kidding....I love all cake.)

What an exciting be surrounded by goodies all day! (although, my grandma used to work in a doughnut shop and it turned her off doughnuts forever. Can you imagine?!)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Mike - Thanks so much, and yes, I am excited about the job!

Amy - I am a cake lover too! I'm hoping the shop will just inspire my home baking, I'm going to try to stay away from treats so I don't turn into a barge! (I think I just heard my conscience say "good luck with that")

Thank you both for visiting!

Anonymous said...

do not think it's possible for you to turn into a "barge". You've always been thin -- even with the food you make! Enjoy the new job

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Well, one can hope....Thanks!

Alisa said...

Can't wait to try this recipe! I always need something like this to put in the freezer. Anything in a bundt or loaf pan is never enough around here either!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Hope you like it! If you need a pan, the one I use is a Wilton (12x15x2)and I found it at Arrow Paper & party. Have a good weekend!

Erika said...

I love the fact that your blog got you a job! What are you doing at the place where you're surrounded by baked goods? And by the way this Coffee Field looks DIVINE....

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Erika! I just sent you a twitter DM!

Sara said...

What an amazing story! Wow. Of all the benefits to blogging, finding employment tops them all. Congrats!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

I know, huh?! Completely unexpected!
Thanks Sara

Anna Johnston said...

Wow.., congratulations on the new job. I'm still giggling at the visual you've just planted in my head..., swan diving into the muffin tray. Life has a funny way of leading you where your best needed...., so enjoy. Oh..., & keep blogging OK.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Anna!
As long as people keep reading, I'll keep blogging (don't wanna steal Martha's line, but "it's a good thing" ;-).

Jackie said...

Wow, congrats on the job! And this cake looks too wonderful :D I'm going to be doing some baking over the next few days to bring with me to my day-job, this one's definitely going to go onto this list!

Jax x

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Hey Jax,
Thanks so much! Good luck with all the baking. Your co-workers are going to love you! Hope you have a great week!