Nana’s Quick Coffee Cake

Nana’s Quick Coffee Cake – made fancy with maple-butter frosting and a sprinkling of pecan nuts

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” 
~ Gustav Mahler

 

When I need a yummy cake in a hurry this is the first recipe I think of: Nana’s Quick Coffee Cake.

My nana was a plain cook, but her food was delicious. Her Quick Coffee Cake is everything a coffee cake should be – moist, buttery, flavoursome, made with everyday ingredients from the pantry – and it’s simple enough to be whipped up in minutes (plus baking time).

Nana used to make an un-iced version of this cake that my Pa would have with his morning cuppa. If visitors were coming Nana always added a sweet coffee glaze on top, just to fancy things up.

I learned to bake this cake when I was about seven – old enough to reach the kitchen bench and to work the oven without setting the house alight. This cake is a recipe that Gran Heppell  (my paternal great-grandmother) taught Nana when she was just a girl. The recipe lives in my head now after making it so many times, but when I was younger I was also careful to write it down. Just in case.

I’ve given two versions for the icing (frosting for the non-Australians!) Mine is made with maple syrup, because it gives a great complimentary flavour, but Nana’s coffee glaze is delicious too.

 

Ingredients for cake:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 flat teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in one teaspoon of boiling water (if you can be bothered – I never am)
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/2 cup  milk

Ingredients for icing/frosting:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup OR one to two tablespoons strong hot coffee
  • 1/3 cup pecans – chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
  2. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Add all cake ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Mix for three minutes on medium speed.
  4. Spread the batter into your cake tin and smooth the surface.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and then check. Cake is baked if it springs back when touched in the middle, or if a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave a little longer if not quite done.
  6. Remove cake from oven. Cool in tin for five to ten minutes and then place onto a rack to cool completely.
  7. Place cake on serving plate.
  8. To make the icing (frosting) sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the softened butter and either the maple syrup or the coffee. Beat well until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Spread onto the cooled cake. Dipping your knife in hot water will help give a smooth and shiny finish as you spread the icing (frosting) mixture.
  9. If you are making the maple icing, chop some pecan nuts and sprinkle over the icing, pressing them slightly with your clean hand to ensure that they stick to the cake.

 

10 thoughts on “Nana’s Quick Coffee Cake

  1. Thank you for this recipe, Nicole.
    I love things like this–quick and with things on hand. Also, the fact that it is an old family recipe makes it extra special. Both my grandmas were also plain, but very good cooks, featuring southern (US) specialties–fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, pies of all sorts. This seems right up their alley. And by the way, I grew up calling it icing (Southern US folks tend to)–small world!
    Hugs,
    Anne

    • Anne, part of my bucket list is to travel the southern parts of the USA and eat every good thing. I grew up on books that talked about all the food experiences we didn’t have here in Australia, and it’s always called me to come visit for a slice of pie and some authentic southern fried chicken! 😀

    • It is! If you were closer I would have offered you a piece, but my husband just ate the last of it 😀

    • If you still want to bake this cake, Joanne, just substitute a teaspoon of vanilla and it will be just as delicious!

  2. Coffee. Check. Maple. Check. Sugar rush of sugary goodness. Check, check, check.

    Soooooo making this when I decide to feel indulgent (or y’know have more than me in the house lol) <3

  3. Another shared recipe – and one with such a lovely history – thank you. Have made the apricot and white chocolate slice twice already. My work buddy insists I bring an additional piece in for him each day and I’ve caught my adult son having a couple of pieces for breakfast! Delish. Looking forward to trying Nana’s Coffee Cake.

Leave a Reply