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Adventures with Food: The Easiest, Most Delicious Holiday Coffee Cake Ever

December 18, 2014

coffee-cake-doneMy wife and I have been married for going on seven years now. Our children, Checkers and Crazy Eights, are now five and two years old. Until I met my wife, I’d never had a coffee cake. Now I can’t imagine Christmas (or Thanksgiving, for that matter) morn without it.

The recipe I’m about to give you has been in my wife’s family for roughly three generations now, by my estimation. Although my mother-in-law comes from Pennsylvania Dutch stock, I can’t help thinking this recipe is more a product of the 70s (we also have fondue every Christmas).

There are two things you need to know about this recipe:

  • It is ridiculously easy to make.
  • That said, you do have to start it the night before Christmas, perhaps reciting the poem as you do it. I promise, you’ll finish the prep before you get to Santa’s bowl full of jelly.


The Recipe



1 ½ loaves Frozen yeast-based bread (I usually find the bread in packages of 3 loaves, enough for Thanksgiving and Christmas)

½ package Butterscotch pudding mix (not instant – like the frozen bread, one package will do double duty for Thanksgiving and Christmas)

Toppings, like maraschino cherries, nuts, raisins, dried fruit, or whatever sounds good to you to top a coffee cake. My mother-in-law recommends maraschinos and pecans for Christmas.

1 stick butter or margarine

1 c brown sugar



Slice the frozen bread into roughly 18 slices. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Set aside.

Grease a bundt pan. Place the toppings at the bottom of the pan. Layer the bread slices over the toppings, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle the butterscotch pudding over it all, then pur the brown sugar/butter mixture evenly over that.

Let it all sit and rise overnight.



Admire, for a moment, the beautifully risen bread and the magic of unfrozen yeast. Then, bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned. My mother-in-law puts the pan on a foil-lined cookie sheet to catch any drips.

Carefully invert onto large serving plate, put it in front of your family, and watch it disappear.



Joh223904_10150275185469554_770089553_9338862_7997903_n-375x470-239x300n Proctor is our Dad for All Seasons and writes on his experience living and raising his two children in Brooklyn. He has lived in Brooklyn since 2000, and been a father since 2009. Besides keeping company with his wife, two daughters, and chihuahua, he also writes memoir, fiction, poetry, criticism, and just about everything in the space between them. His work has been published in The Austin Review, The Diagram, Superstition Review, Underwater New York, Defunct, New Madrid, Numero Cinq, McSweeney’s, New York Cool, and Gotham Gazette, and he serves as editor for Hunger Mountain Journal of the Arts. He teaches academic writing, media studies, and communication theory at Manhattanville College. You can see more of him at his website NotThatJohnProctor.com, and he can also be reached at askadad@achildgrows.com. He’d love to hear from you!