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The Coffee Cake that Ruined Christmas


by Robin Benzle


I'll never forget that Christmas Eve long, long ago.... It was crisp and bitterly cold outside, and a fresh blanket of snow glittered like rock candy under the moonlight.  The children had long since fallen asleep, their stockings hanging limp against the mantel.  The traditional glass of milk was set out awaiting Santa's arrival, along with a wedge of chocolaty, cinnamony coffee cake; and of course, carrots for the reindeer.  I climbed into my feather bed, burying myself under the thick comforter, and fell asleep thinking of Christmas bows and jingle bells.


Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and there was Santa Claus, clearing his throat.


"Excuse me, madam," he said, "you wouldn't by chance have any more of that delicious coffee cake, would you?"


Bemused, I joined him at the breakfast table and carved him another piece.


"A pot of coffee would taste pretty good right now, too" he said, eyes twinkling. 


Next thing I know, he's loosening his suspenders and getting all comfortable in the chair, sipping coffee and whittling away at my cake.  "Just one more slice," he kept saying, his beard filling with crumbs.  Hours passed.  The reindeer started pounding on the windows.  Through a frosted pane, I spotted Rudolph, angrily tapping his watch.  But it was too late.


....And that was the Christmas long, long ago that none of the little children in the world got their presents delivered. 


I've since learned to make my Christmas Morning Coffee Cake ahead of time and hide it in the freezer so jolly old elves don't get distracted.


Santa's Favorite

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake


Filling:                  6 tablespoons butter, melted

                             1 cup brown sugar

                             2 teaspoons cinnamon

                             1 cup chopped walnuts


Cake:                   1/2 cup butter

                             3/4 cup sugar

                                 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                                 3 eggs

                             1/8 teaspoon salt

                                2 cups flour

                                1 teaspoon baking powder

                                1 teaspoon baking soda

                                1 cup sour cream

                                1 pkg. (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an angelfood cake pan.  Make filling:  In a medium bowl, stir together all filling ingredients.  Set aside.


For cake, cream butter and sugar together by hand or with a food processor.  Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time.  Sift together salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda and add to egg mixture, alternating with the sour cream.  Fold in chocolate chips. 


Pour half of cake mixture into prepared pan.  Sprinkle on half of nut mixture.  Repeat.  Bake 50 minutes.  Serves 1 Santa Claus.


©2000 by Robin Benzle



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