Nana’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Hand-written recipes are magical.  The slanted, barely legible cursive.  The yellowed corners of the pages.  The food-stains.  The memories behind each and every one….

My mother keeps my Nana’s recipe card box in the cupboard, next to the fridge.  Every now and then, I take it down for a peek.  I love dragging my finger across the cards and picking one out at random, thinking about all the times nana might’ve made that certain dish. 

When I was little, I’d help Nana bake chocolate chip cookies.  She would do all the mixing.  I got to pour the ingrediants.  I’m sure it was the most delightful feeling, helping her in the kitchen.  If only I could still bake with her today.

Looking at my Nana’s recipes, I don’t have too many memories connected with them.  I was only six when she had passed away.  I’ve been told that my love of baking had to have come from her.  There was always a homemade dessert in my mother’s childhood home.   I can just tell by the way my mother, uncle, and grandpa light up when I ask of nana’s baking that it was something special, and how I wish I could’ve experienced more of those desserts!

As I shuffle through each recipe, I’m thankful for the opportunity to keep Nana’s cooking alive.  

My mother is beyond thankful for this, too.  Today was her birthday.  I knew just the perfect treat for her:  Nana’s sour cream coffee cake.  Why coffee cake, you ask?  Why not a glitsy, glammed-up pink-frosted confetti cake with big piped on roses?  How condescending to end a birthday with coffee cake….such an ordinary sweet.  Yes, I’ll admit….I’m smitten with the idea of a prissy, colorful cake for my birthday, but this is my mother.  This woman loves her coffee cake.  She would rather have nothing else, especially if it’s Nana’s recipe we’re talking about. 

And my was the cake delightful.  Moist as can be.  That’s the sour cream for ya.  The best part is the crunchy, sugar crust.  Please serve each slice with coffee, and please dip it in said coffee.  It’s in the name, after all.

I accomplished my goal tonight.  After one bite I saw a glimpse of nostalgia on my mother’s face like never before.  She looked at me with wide eyes and proclaimed that yes, this was Nana’s cake.  This is just what it tasted like.  This is just as moist as she remembered. 

I love bringing that wash of nostalgia over my mom.  I love being able to help her remember Nana through food.  I’m already assigned to try out Nana’s cinnamon roll recipe.  According to my mom, they are the best.  I totally believe her.

Happy Birthday, Mom 🙂 

Nana’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1/2 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

2 c. sifted flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. sour cream

For the filling:

11/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/3 C. packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the topping:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon


Cream butter and sugar throroughly.  Add vanilla and eggs, and beat well. Alternately add sifted dry ingrediants and sour cream.  Beat until smooth.  Layer half batter in 8×8 square pan.  Top with filling.  Layer on rest of batter.  You could also do two layers of the filling if you don’t like it so thick.  After all the batter is in, top it with the sugar mixture.  Bake at 350 for 40 mins.


One thought on “Nana’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  1. Ashley Bley says:

    I could picture your mom’s face when she bit into that first piece of coffee cake as I read this. =]

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