My Mema was famous, famous for her chicken pies and her macaroni and cheese. Not her Almond Coffee Cake. I don't know if she ever even made coffee cake. So this isn't her recipe.
Well, then why is this Mema's coffee cake?
Because I used her cast iron skillet. You probably know those things are total heirlooms and so valuable to someone who likes to cook.
A few years ago I planned to give Dave a cast iron skillet for his Christmas gift. But going to Target and buying one just isn't magical. Receiving one that belonged to one of the best comfort food cooks ever is. It is magical.
My mom had Mema's pan and gave it to me to give to Dave. But really it's mine. Just like any other gift I've ever given him. Except the tickets to see Rush. He can totally own those.
At the end of this summer, I decided to make a cake one night as a gift. There was no energy to shop for ingredients and bake the cake, so I had to find a recipe that only used the ingredients in my house. It's never been so worth it to run out of energy. I was so happy with the outcome.
Most of us, especially if we are busy, are fond of those cheap, easy, creative recipes, such as pumpkin balls, turtles, and ice cream bread. But there is something satisfying and thoughtful and beautiful about a cake made with sugar and flour and butter and eggs....and not a processed food item in sight.
Mema's Almond Coffee Cake
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp almond extract (can also use vanilla)
Line large cast iron skillet with aluminum foil; butter or spray with cooking spray. Melt butter and mix with sugar. Beat in eggs and flour, add extract and salt, mixing well. Pour into lined skillet. Sprinkle top with almonds and sugar. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
I made 6 of these on our snow day for teacher gifts. I lifted the cakes out of the pan with the aluminum foil and cool them on racks. I just added another sheet of aluminum foil to wrap and tied raffia around the whole thing. With a colorful tag it looks pretty festive.
It's a good cake to make lots of, one after another. Just run the bottom of the skillet in cold water after you remove a cake. This will cool it down enough that it won't melt the next batch of dough you pour in.
If you want another great flour-sugar-egg recipe, don't forget the sugar cookies. Best recipe for rolling and cutting and decorating. And no doubt the best cookie I've ever eaten.