This is my best coffee cake recipe. That might be debatable, however it is certainly one I’ve been baking for a number of years.
I didn’t quite expect to be baking this easy coffee cake recipe for Alex and Zoe’s birthday, but heck-why not?
August 24th is a big day for me. It is the time for two birthday cakes and the time to remember that this day-this normal day, wasn’t so normal 27 years ago. With the birth of twins my life was forever changed and though everyone says that upon the birth of children, my life became doubly blessed with double smiles, double jokes, and laughter that will forever make fond memories.
Of course life is not always full of perfect moments, but even in spite of the not so perfect moments, I know without a doubt that my children are perfect. They have both been blessed with empathy and goodness, a sense of humor… usually, tenacity, courage, strong convictions, good values and a sense of joy. They truly enjoy learning, not necessarily in the booksmart way; they aren’t afraid to challenge themselves, and they aren’t afraid to fail.
Each day they make me proud for they have weathered a lot, my children, in ways many never knew, and still they held their heads high. As well they should. Though life may not be perfect or fair, I repeat to myself over and over that they, of course, are.
Just last week Alex requested a recipe for coffee cake. Actually I was quite surprised with this request because I don’t remember either Alex or Zoe ever really liking coffee cake.
To me it is pure comfort food and since there are such a slew of recipes out there, I just sent him my one bowl favorite. I took a photo of it and We Chatted it over.
He sent me a photo back and the result looks like the coffee cake I always made. Most Chinese kitchens do not contain ovens, so baking is something he has never done. Finally he broke down and bought a countertop convection oven and I must say he did me proud!
In honor of Alex and Zoe’s birthday I decided to make another coffeecake. This one and the one I sent him, which I guess I should post also, appeared at their baby naming and bris. That means I’ve been baking these for at least 27 years so I guess that makes this cake an heirloom recipe!
I love this recipe because it is so easy and requires no mixer. Cut the butter into the flour and brown sugar. Pat half of it into a pan. This makes a crispy crust which is topped with the other half of the flour mixture after it has been combined with sour cream and an egg.
The batter forms a tender crumbed cake studded with a moist layer of fruit and then more tender cake. Top that off with a nutty cinnamon sugar streusel. Yeah, kind of a five layer coffee cake made in one bowl. Can’t beat that!
Check out this coffee cake recipe with sour cream -yes, it makes the cake so moist- and then skip down if you want to hear more about our trip to China. Preferably you will read about it while eating this coffee cake!
I last left you in Moganshan and from there we drove to Hangzhou. Manservant had fond memories of Hangzhou so we decided to do a drive by!
Alex did the driving and was quite good using his new China driver’s license. He maneuvered down tiny, people filled streets that I know would have spooked me. We were in Hangzhou for about 24 hours. It is a popular spot for Chinese to visit and was one of the 7 ancient capitals of China. It was also one of the first cities to open to tourism, beginning in 1949.
It is home to West Lake, a very large manmade lake that is filled with numerous islands and pagodas and has influenced poets and artists since 900 AD. Hangzhou is also home to Alibaba and was the site of the 2016 G20 summit.
We stayed a short way from the city center in an area known as Lingyin. Home to a Buddhist Temple considered one of the wealthiest in the country, we stayed right down the street in a small Asian inspired bed and breakfast.
Surrounded by the Longjing tea fields, we drank tea near the bamboo forests, ate goose and sweated. As we drank and bought fresh green tea we watched monks in orange robes parade past and almost always with followers.
It is said they don’t like their picture being taken and since none of mine turned out, I must say that maybe they know something I don’t!
Later that night after stopping at the 7 story Liuhe pagoda to see the view of the surrounding mountains, we ventured into the city of Hangzhou and went to a night market where every kind of novelty you’d ever want is sold.
From there we went to eat what Alex called stick food. Yes, it was a fast food restaurant where one chose from over a hundred different offerings of meat, fish, chicken tofu, fruits and vegetables; all of it on sticks. It was then grilled and brought to your table as it was ready.
Some people left with just a few empty sticks on their plate. Others left more than I could count. The fresh mushrooms were heavenly!
The next morning after a beautiful, but not so tasty breakfast
we wandered down to the Temple and saw ancient grottoes and carvings and lots and LOTS of people.
It was exhausting dodging selfie sticks and finally I just started taking photos of folks taking selfies. It was quite comical and I’m not sure how they managed to avoid falling off cliffs or into lakes or beaning someone in the head.
Selfie sticks are dangerous! After a relaxing lunch of stir fried goose and awesome veggies
we headed over to West Lake, the main reason Chinese visit Hangzhou. It was beautiful, but so crowded. We bravely wiped the sweat off our foreheads and plowed ahead, avoiding selfie sticks to make sure we got our pictures of the lotus blossoms too.
From there it was on to the airport, driving in the wrong way to return the rental car and then catching our flight to Guilin in Southern China. Stay tuned…
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