Century-Old Danish Coffeecake

Do you remember visiting grandma’s house when you were little, and she always seemed to have something she’d made–maple walnut rolls, sour cream cookies, or apple cinnamon pie–fresh out of the oven? When you think of favorite childhood foods, are you tempted to think there was something grandma made that only she could make?

In our family, my sister and I recall a bread our great aunt made when we were very young. It had a funny name. (Not only was Hazel a fabulous cook, she is the instigator behind my love of writing. You can see her elegant script here). Her bread was served at Christmas, and, as we both recall, it was delicious. I will feature the bread with the funny name in a future post.

When I was looking for Hazel’s bread recipe, one for “century-old” coffee cake caught my eye. My mother-in-law Dorothy baked often, and given that I use her cookware, utensils, and cutting board every day, I post this with her in mind. Her delicious quick bread with lemon icing (cottage pudding) isn’t technically a pudding, and lasts mere hours.



First, a note about yeast and proofing. All my initial attempts to make yeast bread failed until I learned one simple trick. I haven’t had a failure since. I microwave the water in a 2 Cup Pyrex measuring cup. One cup of liquid/water usually takes ~ 50 seconds on high. I dip my finger in the warmed water and place a few drops on the inside of my wrist. If it feels like bathwater, a temperature you could jump into, not too hot or cold, it’s perfect. When it’s ready, I add the yeast and mix until dissolved, then add one teaspoon of sugar. I stir, coverΒ  with a towel, and let it sit. If the mixture bubbles up after several minutes, my yeast is good; if not, I need to start over.

img_20160529_064227818.jpgThe suggested path is to start with 4 C of flour, softened butter, 1/2 C sugar and 1 teaspoon salt mixed with a pastry blender. I added nearly 6+ Cups flour to get a soft dough.

When the mixture resembles a “meal,” the yeast, yolks, and milk are added.

Having never made this, I had to guess at that “soft dough” consistency. I added just enough flour to be able to knead the dough on the counter. It was sticky and very soft.

Meanwhile, as the dough sits, I mixed the filling. This was the fun part.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The raisins/dates are folded in after the mixing is complete, i.e. when no sugar is felt between the fingers. The raisins are kind of hidden, but they are here.

img_20160529_124040739.jpgNext: roll out the dough into two, 9″ by 22″ rectangles. Place half the filling lengthwise on the dough and fold edges over like an envelope. Seal the edges. Place in buttered bundt* pan. Repeat with the other half.

I was alone in the kitchen when I attempted to place the sealed dough in the pans. This got me laughing. The dough is so soft that it falls apart when picked up. Using large pancake flippers or another person to help would be best. Having said that, I think mine went in pretty well as there was minimal leaking. It just looks like I am a messy cook. πŸ˜‰

I baked the pans together, which, on second thought, I may not next time. I still don’t know why the dough did not rise more on the second rising. The yeast was good. I am going to chalk it up to the pans.

Here is the finished product. In spite of the dough rising problem, it was pretty darned good. Both my husband and son ate more than one piece.

This was a lot of fun to make, and as stated, I’ll make it again. Even though some of these older recipes take a long time to prepare, they beat some of the commercially made sweetbreads and other baked goods. The dough and filling were delicious.

The recipe comes from this book.

With recipes like this one, I always think of my grandma and my mother-in-law, whose mothers probably made this type of dessert often. This coffeecake was incredibly good. After a bit more practice, this could become a traditional family recipe, like grandma’s.

If you attempt to make this, please come back and let me know how it went. ENJOY!

*Bundt pan. I don’t have a bundt pan, so I used the cake pan my mother used when we were children. I also used a cheesecake pan for the second portion. I had no idea how these pans would do, but both worked reasonably well. Having said that, since the dough did not rise as much as I hoped, I’m guessing this recipe works best with a bundt pan. Will have to make this one again. Soon. πŸ˜‰


  22 comments for “Century-Old Danish Coffeecake

  1. Amy
    June 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    That looks delicious! But far too much work for me. I have a rule: no more than five ingredients and five steps! But I love to eat what others cook. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 2, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Amy, this cracked me up!!! I have never heard of such a rule, but in some cases, I think your rule rules. I love it. πŸ™‚ Made me laugh. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        June 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

        I am always happy to bring a smile to another! And I wasn’t even joking—it’s true! I almost never bake, and most of what I cook are simple dishes that require almost no skill to make. And my husband always makes the salads because I don’t like chopping up vegetables! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • June 2, 2016 at 8:15 am

          Simple is good. I’m with you on the chopping. Still smiling… πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  2. June 1, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Found it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 31, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Gosh that looks yummy. Too bad I’ve become so lazy in my cooking. It really does look good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 6:16 am

      I really enjoyed making this one, Marlene. It was very yummy in my tummy. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Wow! Beautifully presented πŸ™‚
    So much so that I’m almost tempted to try and make it ( except I’m useless in the kitchen …well almost πŸ˜‰ )
    I’ve always had this doubt , maybe you could clarify it for me : when Americans mention “coffee cakes” it’s referring to a specific kind of cake and not one coffee in its ingredients , right ?
    Turtle Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 at 6:15 am

      Thank you so much. I had a blast making this one. When I researched this recipe, I did in fact find that at some time, coffee was in the ingredients. I think most “modern” coffeecake recipes do not have coffee, and most are also not a yeast bread. This is why this one caught my eye. Most are a quick bread. This did take a lot of time but I loved making this recipe. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

        Thank you !
        So probably something you could make if you were receiving someone for coffee/tea and with not much advance notice πŸ™‚ although yours surely looks like it needs a lot of steps …but what a result πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • June 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

          Yes, this was a several steps process, great for a rainy, lazy day. Or, just a lazy day. πŸ˜‰ I will make this again, and see about getting a bundt pan. I used to have one, but likely threw it away. Yes, this was quite full of flavor.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. May 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    My goodness. Your photos are amazing. This recipe looks like some work! The end photo looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 31, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Why, thank you, ma’am. πŸ™‚ This was so much fun to make. It was made on one of those lazy, hazy days. Just love writing about cooking and known recipes (even though this one wasn’t), and I am searching for more family recipes. I doubt I’ll tackle watermelon pickles, though… πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 31, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        Watermelon pickles??? Oh man. My grandma made those…
        Just so you know, you’ve encouraged me to cook my way through a dessert cookbook I got at a thrift store.

        Liked by 1 person

        • June 1, 2016 at 6:08 am

          Here we go again, lol. We must be twins. I’d never had anyone else tell me they’d eaten watermelon pickles, and most people have not heard of them (in my circle, anyway). They were SOOOOO good, and my sister and I loved them. Dad grew up during the depression and they wasted little. I wish I had great grandma’s recipe. ❀ Oh, yes!! Let's keep this recipe thing going. I am intrigued by your grandma Wilma's pie…

          Liked by 1 person

          • June 1, 2016 at 7:33 am

            We must be related! And, that’s exactly right, no wasting anything! Love that! If it could be eaten, they found something to do with it. I’ll look today and see if I have one of grandma Irene’s to share with you. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

            • June 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

              That would be fabulous. I’ll be waiting… πŸ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: