Aunt Nellie’s Nutmeg Coffee Cake — great for the holidays!

My mother received this recipe as part of a wedding gift from my father’s Aunt Marie, who, before she died, told me it was not her recipe but rather her Aunt Nellie’s recipe (my great-grand aunt). So it’s been in the family for a number of generations, and we love it. Typically, it’s all eaten in one day. (Which is just as well; it doesn’t taste as good reheated in the microwave.)

** Since this is a genealogy blog, alas, I can’t help but note that it turns out my grand-aunt Marie did not have an or a grand-aunt named Ellen (aka Nellie)!  She did have a sister-in-law named Nellie, and at least one cousin named Nellie.  **

So, here’s the recipe: 

2½  cups cake flour ¾ cup granulated white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt ¾ cup vegetable oil
1 egg 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 10-cup Bundt or 9 x 2 inch square pan.  Dust the pan with flour, and shake out any excess flour.

Sift together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt.

Combine the sifted ingredients and cooking oil in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment or use a large mixing bowl and a handheld electric mixer.  Cream the mixture at medium-low speed until it is the texture of fine crumbs.

Remove 1 scant cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.

To the remaining mixture, add the egg, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla extract.  Beat 30 seconds.  Reduce the mixer to low speed.  Add the buttermilk, mixing only for a few seconds just until blended.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread the top evenly with a spatula.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly on the top of the cake.  Place the cake on the lower oven rack and bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes.

Note:  In a pinch, you can use 1 cup of milk (soured with 1 tablespoon white vinegar) if you don’t have buttermilk, but buttermilk is preferable in creating a velvety texture for the cake. And fresh ground nutmeg beats the canned or bottled stuff, hands down.

For the streusel mixture, I have found that a Kitchen Aid stand mixer is too powerful, even at the lowest speed; you won’t get the fine crumbs you need. A hand-held mixer or a fork is preferable.

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