Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grandma Schmidt's Streusel Coffee Cake

Grandma's Streusel Coffee Cake
My Grandma Kelly used to make this coffee cake for us when we would visit her and Grandpa Kelly up in Santa Cruz.  I don't know if I ever saw her make it because I think the woman would spend the two or three weeks before our arrival, baking and freezing coffee cake and Parkerhouse rolls.  I think my favorite was the rolls, while my brother loved the coffee cake just a little more than the rolls.  I think we both devoured more than our share of each.  
Now that I'm an adult, when I make this coffee cake, I think I either tend to over-bake it, or it's just not what I remember, but this coffee cake is a little bit on the dry side.  I still love it because it is chock full of memories for me.  Memories of sitting in my Grandma and Grandpa's light blue kitchen early in the morning while Grandma worked on dinner.  She always seemed to be standing there in her kitchen cooking up something, which is kind of funny, because I think that describes me now.  When I'm not cooking and baking, I'm taking pictures of food or blogging.  
At any rate, here's to Grandma Kelly who got this recipe from her Grandma Schmidt.  God bless them both.

Streusel Coffee Cake


Streusel Topping
1. Place lukewarm water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast.  Allow to soften, about 5-10 minutes.  Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat (scalding means to bring to a boil), and then remove from heat immediately.  Place 1/4 cup butter in a large heat-proof bowl and pour scalded milk over it.  Stir to melt butter and then let mixture cool to lukewarm or a little cooler.
2.  Once milk/butter has cooled somewhat, add the softened yeast, sugar, salt, eggs. lemon zest, and flour.  Stir with a sturdy spoon until completely mixed.  Dough will be the consistency of a thick batter, more than a dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise until double in bulk.  (Grandma's original recipe called for a greased bowl, but really, why dirty another bowl?)
3.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare streusel topping by mixing the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Add butter chunks and mix with your fingers until all the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients.  Squeeze and crumble so you have a nice semi-chunky consistency.
4.  Grease two  9" round or square pans.  (I like to use butter, of course.)  Once dough has risen, punch down and scrape down sides with a rubber/silicone spatula.  Divide dough in half with rubber/silicone spatula and scoop half into each pan.  With greased fingers, spread the dough out to the edges of the pans.  Top each with half of the streusel, spreading the streusel out evenly and to the edge of the pan.
5. Let it rise again (about 45 minutes) and bake at 400° for about 20 minutes, or until top is a deep golden brown color.  Move pans to wire rack to cool.  Serve warm. 

Makes about 16 healthy servings.

 Note: These freeze really well too.   If you want to freeze one, wrap cooled coffee cake tightly in aluminum foil and then place in a gallon zip-top bag.  Freeze it.  If you want to eat it in the morning, remove from the freezer the night before and leave on the counter.  Reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, loosely wrapped in foil.

This one came out fairly moist.  I only let it bake the 20 minutes.


  1. I am baking this now. Substituted 1/2 c. brown sugar in the streusel (I actually ran out of white, lol). Smells and looks delish! The family can't wait until it's ready! Thanks for sharing! Barb P.

    1. I'm sure the brown sugar will make it all the better. Hope you all enjoy it! :)

  2. My German grandmother made a topping using peanut butter and brown sugar she crumbled on the coffee cake. Have you seen a recipe for that? No one in our family seems to know how she made it. It was special and delicious.

    1. Peanut butter on coffee cake? That sounds delicious! I might have to give that a go.


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