Coffee Cake for a Day Off

Yesterday I ran 7.2 miles in 64 minutes.  I felt great. It was a gorgeous morning, cold and sunny. The air was still.  I ran part of my route with the other Sue I meet up with sometimes, (a powerful runner with great form and intense commitment to running!), and we chatted about our kids.  She has four!  Her last one attends the same college as my first one.  We traded notes on the benefits of going to Salem State College, and how nice it is for them to be away at school but close enough to visit sometimes.  I ended my run by looping around Bearskin Neck, sprinted down the little hill there, then taking an easy jog back home.

As the morning grew into the day, an intense ache wormed its way into the depths of my head, and by the time dinner time rolled around, I felt a little queasy from the pain.  I had morning plans- to run, of course, and then tea with a friend, so we could catch up on each others’  lives.  I sent her a quick email to let her know we would need to check in this morning, in case I actually was sick.

I woke up with the headache still there, but recessed.  I decided to drug up.  Three liquid gels later, I turned on the oven and took out what I needed to make my best coffee cake.  There were 15 minutes left on the timer when the phone rang.

“How are you this morning?”

“Fine, fine.  The headache is much better.  I’m not sick.”

“That’s great.  But I’m not coming.  Tessie’s sick.  She turned to me in the car on the way to school, smiled sweetly, then threw up.  We came right back home.  She’s on the couch with a glass of  ginger ale and the television on.”

Tessie is her granddaughter.  And my friend is a very good, and very available Grandma.

“Yuck!  I’m so sorry.  We can reschedule.”

“Yes, that’s fine.  But I’m really going to miss that coffee cake.”

“Oh, don’t worry- it’s easy to make.  I’ll do it again next week when you come.”

So I’m taking today off from running, and eating coffee cake all by myself.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients for the batter:

1/4 lb butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, ( I use egg beaters), 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt, (did you really think I would use sour cream?),  1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups whole wheat flour, dash salt, 1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder, 1 cup fresh cranberries.

Ingredients for the sprinkle-y stuff that makes it coffee cake:

1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, stirred together in a separate bowl.

Method:

Cream butter and sugar well, beat in eggs, then the yogurt, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  I use a counter top mixer,  but you can use whatever works for you.  Just make sure you fold in cranberries at the end.

Oil a large pie dish or tube pan.  Spread 1/2 of the batter in the bottom.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar and nut mixture over the batter.  Spread remaining batter over top, then the rest of the sugar and nut mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes.

You can substitute blueberries, chocolate chips, raspberries, or a combination of any of the above for the cranberries, but the tartness of the cranberries really works well in this cake.  It’s good warm or room temperature, with coffee or tea, but best when shared with a friend…

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