Spiced Coffee Cake with Tutu’s Wheaties “Frosting”

Spice Coffee CakeMy father must have loved being a kid.  He speaks often of his childhood and, based on his stories, my dad’s family could definitely be the inspiration for the next Wonder Years.  But probably much more hilarious.

Since my grandmother passed away a few years ago, he has been talking about how she would make spice cake with Wheaties frosting when he was little.  He never really described this cake in any detail, so I always imagined a three-layer cake with cream cheese frosting and Wheaties just smooshed into it. Interesting.

My grandmother on my father's side, Tutu.

My grandmother on my father’s side, Tutu.

Still, I really wanted to recreate the cake for my dad, so I could give him back a little piece of his childhood and honor my Tutu at the same time.  I scoured the internet searching for this Wheaties Frosting, but it did not seem to exist. Finally, I searched for Wheaties cake.  And up popped this page with a vintage recipe from the side of a Bisquick box. When I showed the picture to my dad, he identified the cake in the picture as the one his mother would make!

See?  Totally not frosting.

See? Totally not frosting.

(I should mention at this point, that the reason I had such trouble finding this recipe is because the cake does not have Wheaties frosting.  It has a topping made from Wheaties that you place under the broiler.  So, I’m not completely incompetent at doing internet searches.)

We were having  brunch for my dad’s birthday/Father’s Day, so I was very excited to have found the cake in time for that. The cake is very much like a coffee cake, so perfect for the occasion. I quickly realized, however, I would not be using this recipe.

First, my dad was very clear that he preferred spice cake. The cake in the recipe was a plain coffee cake, so that wouldn’t do. Also, it called for Bisquick, which I don’t buy, and shortening, which I won’t use.  So, long story short, I combined ideas from about 15 different recipes and came up with my own version this cake.

Once I knew what I was going to do, it was easy to whip up:

Whisk together the dry ingredients. The Bisquick is easily replaced by AP flour, baking powder, and salt. I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger to make it a spice cake.

First, I whisked together the dry ingredients. The Bisquick is easily replaced by AP flour, baking powder, and salt. I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger to make it a spice cake.

File Jul 12, 5 51 08 PM

Shortening, which I replace with butter, is also a component of Bisquick.  I creamed together butter and sugar. Then, I whipped it until it was nice and fluffy to keep the cake light.

File Jul 12, 5 51 54 PM

After adding the egg and almond milk to the butter and sugar, I mixed in the dry ingredients.  This results in a thick, spreadable batter.

File Jul 12, 5 52 34 PM

Then, I spread it into a pan. I used ia 7 x 11-inch pan, but it came dangerously close to the top. I think I’d use either a 9 x 13-inch next time or two 9-inch round pans.

File Jul 12, 5 55 09 PM

I baked the cake until it was golden brown and a toothpick came out the of the center clean. Then, I topped it with a mixture of Wheaties, sugar, and butter. Finally, I broiled  it for 4-5 minutes.

File Jul 12, 5 27 28 PM

Mmm…coffee cake!

Spiced Coffee Cake
with Wheaties Crumble

Ingredients
Cake
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg at room temperature

Crumble
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup Wheaties cereal

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Make sure to whip them up until they are fluffy.
  4. Add in the milk and egg and beat until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir until it is all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  8. While the cake is baking prepare the crumble: simply fold all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Place it in the refrigerator until the cake is done baking.
  9. Top the warm cake with the prepared crumble.
  10. Place under a broiler for 3-4 minutes, keeping a careful eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  11. Serve warm.

I hope you enjoy the cake; my family sure did!  Happy birthday, Dad!

A link to this page is posted on the following sites: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

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