So, here's what happened: I was at work today reading up on CNN about the schedule of events for the royal wedding tomorrow (I'm a librarian, I have to know these things...) and I saw that there was a section called "gifts from the public." This immediately made some sort of snorting noise come out of my mouth followed by something along the lines of, "for serious?" I mean, come on now. Who is going to buy a gift for the royal couple? First of all, you're not going to get a thank you note. There is no way that Will and Kate are going to be hand-addressing envelopes on their honeymoon down under to say that, gosh darn it, they're awfully grateful for that blender you sent. Secondly, what could they possibly need? It's the ROYAL wedding. This isn't some posh to-do in Manhattan, this is it. There is nothing I could possibly send to the royal couple that they don't have. Nothing they would actually want at least. So, I started thinking. Maybe I should make them a cake. And who doesn't like a coffee cake? So off I went...
OK, in all seriousness, that's not what happened at all. Not the part about the website they have sent up for gifts from the public, that's real. They're requesting charitable donations. There's a website about it: http://www.royalweddingcharityfund.org/. I believe if you give enough, you may receive a rhinoceros in exchange. Just don't expect a thank you note. Oh, and did you know that Prince Harry's officially in charge of the gift table? I read that in People Magazine. He's getting off pretty easy with this whole donate on the web thing.
Anyway, what really happened was that the humidity broke and the promised thunder storms were a let down, so I decided to make a coffee cake. That's the whole story. The one about it being a gift for Wills and Kate was much better. I imagined they would have been so delighted and called me darling and talked about how pleased they were that I thought of them on their big day.
In the book, Brown talks about how coffee cakes are from way back in the beginning of America. Regardless of what country the original settlers were originally from, everyone always enjoyed having a bit of a snack with their coffee (except Wills and Kate, they'd probably prefer it with a spot of tea). Originally, coffee cakes were made from a yeast dough, but the cake recipe is more common and generally what is thought of as coffee cake now.
This recipe is made in a 9X13 pan and has sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, cloves and ginger in the filling. The filling calls for walnuts as well, but I didn't put them in. Why are there no nuts in your coffee cake, Miss Chessman? you ask. Well, Timmy, I'll tell you why... My dad doesn't do nuts. He's not epi-pen allergic, but they've never really agreed with him. For that reason, we didn't do a lot of nuts as a family when I was growing up. Because that's how I was raised, I find myself very put off by nuts cooked into things, especially baked goods. When a cookie or brownie recipe calls for them, I typically leave them out. This was the same situation; I hope Warren Brown will understand.
When baking, this cake smelled a bit like what I image heaven would smell like. I also imagine this is what Westminster Abbey will smell like tomorrow morning. Or at least, it should. I am also happy to report that it tastes incredible as well. Sweet, but not too sweet. And the middle is all full of gooey goodness where the brown sugar melted and the top is crisp and the cake is light and rich. This is definitely one to be repeated. Even if it's not for an occasion like the royal wedding.
Next Stop: New Jersey Old-Fashioned Ice Box Cake