Coffee Cake Confidential

Coffee Cake Confidential
My mother clipped this recipe from the Boston Globe, probably in the early 1960s. The Confidential Chat section has roots in the Globe since the late 1800s.

This is a recipe my mother used to make in the 1960s. She got it from the Boston Globe’s Confidential Chat section. Confidential Chat was social media before the Internet. Readers (mostly housewives) would write to the Globe and ask for various things — such as recipes; advice; and support —  and other readers would respond days or weeks later. And the Globe would publish these exchanges. Editors at the Globe would act as intermediaries, which is probably why the exchanges were so civil and thoughtful. (Facebook, TwitterX, and other (anti)social media companies: are you listening??)

The cake in a tube pan. I made three of these cakes in the past week and it brought me back to my mother’s kitchen, which always had a homemade baked good on the counter. The moist, lemon-flavored cake with sweet, rich, and gooey cinnamon and walnut filling is even better than I remember it.

The recipe, from a Boston Globe reader who called herself “A Fireman’s Wife,”  is simple to make and comes together pretty quickly. You make a batter with butter, sugar, flour and sour cream. You then place half the batter in a tube pan and the top it off with the filling. You then pour the rest of the batter on top and then add the rest of the filling. While it cooks in your oven for about 45 minutes, your house will be filled with a sweet scent, perfect simpatico for a crisp fall day.

Here’s the recipe:

Coffee Cake (From A Fireman's Wife)

October 14, 2023
: 8-12
: 45 min
: Easy


  • Butter, 1 stick (1/4 pound)
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 2 (large)
  • Sifted Flour, 2 cups
  • Sour Cream, 1 cup
  • Baking Powder, 2 tsp
  • Baking Soda, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Lemon Extract, 1/2 tsp
  • Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Flour, 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon, 2 tsp
  • Melted butter, 2 tbsp
  • Walnuts, 1/2 cup
  • Step 1 Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and lemon extract.
  • Step 2 Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) together and add alternately with the sour cream.
  • Step 3 Put half the batter in a greased (I used Crisco) and floured tube pan.
  • Step 4 Cover with half the topping.
  • Step 5 Add the rest of the batter and cover with the rest of the topping.
  • Step 6 Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.

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