It’s interesting how family stories change in telling (and sometimes meaning) over time.
Growing up, I heard my grandmother repeat what her father often told her. "Remember, a good Norwegian home should have a coffee table.” I would say “Yes, Grandma”, and nod my head as if I understood.
But I didn’t understand. Why a coffee table?
Yes, we drank a lot of strong coffee, often long into the night – but why is a piece of parlor furniture so vital to Norwegian culture? Over time, I laughed it off as one of the silly things that people said in the old days, not realizing that her parent’s Norwegian had been poorly translated to my American ears. As I grew older, and started a family of my own, I looked a little more deeply at my grandmother’s recipes, and Norwegian cuisine in general, and found the much-needed translation.
More than just a break, Kaffe is a mealtime (like an English High-Tea), where coffee is served with some cake and/or cookies. Kaffeebord (AKA Coffee table), would be the selection of treats offered by the host. When I read this, I smiled from ear to ear. My home usually hosts family and friends, and I often make a point of always having something on hand to offer along with coffee. Guess I was a “Good Norwegian” after all!
Grandma Myrtle’s Coffee Cake*
This recipe isn’t fancy, but it’s easy to make and serve in under 2 hours time.
Flour 1 1/3cups
Sugar ¾ cup
Baking Powder 3 teaspoons
Salt ¼ teaspoon
Cardamom 1 teaspoon
Butter ¼ cup (half a stick), cold
Egg 1 beaten
Milk ¾ cup
Vanilla 1 teaspoon
Pie Apples 2, peeled and sliced
Brown Sugar 1/3 cup, packed
Nuts/Granola ¼ cup, chopped
Cardamom ½ teaspoon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
3. Cut or grate in the butter until you get a crumbly texture. Make a well in the center, and set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat an egg until frothy. Mix in the milk and vanilla. Pour slowly into the well of the dry ingredients, and stir until batter is moist.
5. Pour into a greased 8” X 8” light-colored cake pan. Push apple slices down into the batter, close together.
6. For the topping, mix the brown sugar, cardamom and chopped nuts in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cake mixture.
7. Bake for 50-60 minutes until you see the cake pull back from the edges.
*NOTE: The pictures are of my sister making this recipe. I am currently working on a Gluten-Free version.
If you are also watching your gluten-intake, you won't want to miss The Chopping Block's Gluten-Free Breads Boot Camp coming up on Saturday, January 27 at our Merchandise Mart location. There's just one spot left! If you can't snag that one, join us for the next session in March.
In the meantime, download our free guide Gluten Free Gourmet for 6 gluten-free versions of your favorite dishes.