Sour Cream Coffee Cake and History!

There can be all kinds of history in a recipe box!

Take this for example.


It’s written in my mother’s handwriting, but there’s more! Look at the stains on it. Mum made this coffee cake many times and the stains are a testament to the afternoons this piece of paper rested on the counter as she measured and stirred. But there’s still one more bit of “history” with this recipe . . .

If you turn the paper over, you have this:


It’s one of my 5th grade history tests! Let’s just say it’s from decades ago, ok? It appears I was studying the civil war when my mother needed a piece of paper to scratch down a new recipe. I’m certainly glad she happened to grab one that was marked a “hundred” – especially since it’s survived this many years and will probably be passed on again – no need to have future generations see a test with a lower grade. 😉

I wrote the word “Mama’s” on the recipe when she gave it to me after I got married. Isn’t it amazing that something so ordinary can have so much meaning years later? This paper is a tangible link to the past. It tells of a young mother who is spending some of her days baking treats for her family. It tells of a 10-year-old child, who is studying and taking tests on American history. It seems to me that this recipe might be cherished by a young woman many years from now, not just because it’s good coffee cake, but because the piece of paper is a connection to her own ancestors – something that will allow her to know them a little better and to imagine what their lives were like. I wish I had more items like this from even further back in our family. Now that we so extensively use computers, the internet and email, it’s likely that handwritten recipes, notes, and maybe even “written” school exams will become a thing of the past, but I hope not.

One thing is for sure – the coffee cake is delicious. I’ve transcribed it for you below. Maybe you can make it before the summer heat keeps all of us from wanting to use the oven. 😉



Sour Cream Coffee Cake

One Bowl Recipe!

Sift together on wax paper:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl cream together well:
1 stick butter (left out for 1 hour to soften a bit)
2 eggs (left out 1 hour to bring closer to room temperature)
1-cup sugar

Next add dry ingredients alternately with ½ pint of sour cream to the creamed mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

In a cup – mix well: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with ¼ cup of sugar. Set aside.

Measure approximately 1 cup of chopped nuts and set aside.

Grease a tube pan. Add ½ of the batter to the pan, then ½ of the cinnamon sugar mixture, then sprinkle ½ of the nuts, then the rest of the batter, the rest of the cinnamon sugar mix, and finally the rest of the nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.