Grandma Brodacki’s Recipes: Coffee Spice Cake

Spice was a precious commodity on our farm in Michigan, where I lived as a child with my grandmother, busia in Polish, while my mother worked in a Polish bakery in Hamtramck. One thing Busia knew how to do was stretch food. Using things that were readily available on the farm–eggs, butter, flour–she was able to concoct simple but delicious treats, with the addition of a little spice. In this recipe, she makes good use of leftover coffee as well. My mother wrote this recipe down hastily it seems, since she left out the amount of flour required, and labeled it Mother’s.

Mother’s Coffee Spice Cake

2 eggs well beaten
2 1/3 teas. soda
1 teas. salt
1 teas. ginger
1/2 teas. cloves
1/2 teas. allspice
1 1/2 teas. cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup cold strong coffee

Sift flour once, measure [2 1/2 cups]. Add soda, spices & salt, sift together three times. Cream butter thorgoughly, add sugar greadually, cream together until light & fluffy. Add eggs, beat well. Add flour alternately with coffee, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition until smooth. Turn into two deep greased 9″ layer pans. Bake 375 degrees 25 minutes or until done.

Note: Nothing is said about frosting or why this cake is made in two layers. Similar recipes call for a bundt pan and dusting with powered sugar after the cake is cool.

Gradually, Busia gave up baking when my mother could bring home “day old” bread and cakes for a pittance from the New Palace Bakery.

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