“Dad’s Favorite Coffee Cake”

Posted on 11 June 2019

Dad's Favorite Coffee CakeIf Do-It-Yourself were an Olympic sport, my father-in-law would have won gold. To Louis (everyone knew him as “Louie”), every chance to fix the unfixable was an opportunity to achieve a personal best. As a contractor, he could do everything. He was a wiring wizard and mechanical mastermind. To solve a problem, he would cobble together ingenious gadgets out of scraps from his garage. When he was in his 80s, he even developed a computer program for doing his taxes.

So why was I surprised to hear that he baked?

I suppose it’s because his wife Dorothy (everyone called her “Dick,” a nickname coined by her little brother) kept the household swimming in brownies, cakes and cookies. Why would he ever need to bake?

My sister-in-law Chris says her dad made this coffee cake for her mom when “there were babies in the house, or she was under the weather, or it was Mother’s Day.” He was proud of baking it, but he was no stranger to the kitchen.

Friday mornings, Dick would pronounce the kitchen closed until the big Italian Sunday dinner, and Louie would take over. “His other specialties were eggnog (made with raw eggs) and pancakes, which we ate for dinner on the occasional Friday night when the food ran out. He also made a mean ‘cut up hot dogs in scrambled eggs,’” says Chris.

The fluffy crumb, occasional raisins and dark sugar topping make Dad’s Favorite Coffee Cake a delicious pick-me-up any time of the day. It’s a classic recipe, so I can see why it appealed to him. You don’t need a mixer, just a whisk, and you make it from ingredients you have on hand. Sort of like scraps from the garage.

Happy Father’s Day to Louie, the King of All Trades, who is not only in Heaven, but probably renovating it.

“Dad’s Favorite Coffee Cake”Louie's Coffee Cake


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening, butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (my addition)
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute white sugar and a teaspoon molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Nuts (optional)
  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in shortening.
  2. Whisk in egg, milk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in raisins.
  3. Pour into greased 9×9 baking pan. Mix topping and sprinkle on top. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.
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