Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother Earth makes Whole Earth Coffee Cake for Breakfast

What year is it?
I woke up this morning, Mother's Day, trying to decide how to celebrate. I think about what gift I might select for the day. I learned from some savvy friends how to get what you want for Mother's Day. You buy it for yourself and declare it your gift. Yes, that is a selfish move but it works. I don't buy much so it is a good way to rationalize buying something I have been thinking about. If my Mother were close by I would make her a wonderful lunch. Instead, I gave her a rain check until I see her again.

I have an empty nest, finally. I waited a long time to have my children and I really enjoyed helping raise both of them. And, I am really enjoying the empty nest as well. I do love to see them and enjoy watching them teetering on the edge of our nest as they spread their wings and fly into the world. I want them to feel independent and to explore the world and then come home and tell me about their experiences.

Now that the nest is empty, I find myself regressing back to my early marriage habits of 1972. And, that is not a bad place to be. My house is getting more sparse, a good thing, as I give them things to set up their own households. As my daughter's boyfriend pointed out, his mother has one of everything and we have 2 or 3 of everything from measuring cups to desks. It is lovely to have less.

So I woke this morning with no kids in the house for maybe the first time in 25 years and a husband who refuses to celebrate almost any holiday. It is OK. He brings me coffee in bed and does a lot of laundry and dishes on a regular basis. He says he celebrates the rest of the time. OK, he does. I just like the idea of trying to enjoy holidays and it does not have to be by spending money.

Again, I woke trying to figure out how to handle this Mother's Day. Eating a breakfast in a nice restaurant might be nice. No. Where? Greasy spoons, over-stuffed buffets for a weight watcher? IHOP the pink barbie restaurant with plastic crepes? No. Run out the door? No.

With my head still buried in my pillow I decided to cook, as usual. I found a great recipe for Buttermilk biscuits using oil instead of butter and I could substitute whole wheat pastry flour but I would eat too many biscuits and have a lot left over. I have a lovely old wooden biscuit cutter, hand carved of course, and that would make tiny biscuits. Chances are that would just give me a venue for more butter and honey. No.

Then I remembered my wonderful old 1972 Whole Earth Cookbook with a faded photo of a bunch of old hippies, the staff of the Whole Earth Restaurant gathered in the Student Garden Chalet of the University of California, Santa Cruz, California, July 1971. It is so faded now I can hardly see their optimistic hippy faces. And I remembered a great whole earth coffee cake recipe in the book. Perfect. Hippy style coffee cake, all from scratch. Bulgarian yogurt mixed with activa yogurt for the probiotics, strawberries and press pot coffee.

So in celebration of Mother's Day before I was a mother, here is the recipe. Don't make it if you prefer sugar soaked light flour cinnamon rolls or Sara Lee lightweight pastries. This is earth cake and delicious and you cannot eat the whole thing. I changed the original recipe just a little of course to lower fat/cholesterol stuff.

Linda Coward's slightly altered Coffee Cake from the Whole Earth Cookbook
by Sharon Cadwallader and Judi Ohr
1 1/4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (or double sift regular ww flour or wimp out and use all purpose)
1/4 c. wheat germ
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. honey
1/3 cup healthy oil
2/3 cup skim milk
grated rind of 1/2 or more orange
1/2 c orange juice
1/4 c. egg beater
1 c. craisins
3/4 c. nuts, walnuts pecans or almonds

1+ tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp butter
2 tsp natural sugar

Mix together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients except the last 3 items
and add to the flour mixture.
Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch cake pan
Mix cinnamon butter and sugar and sprinkle on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Happy Mother's Day. Takes a while to whip this out but it tastes like good hippy food. I will have to look on Amazona and see if they still print this cookbook, one of the first I bought after I got married and 11 years before we started a family.

UPDATE: You can still find this book for about $5 on amazon. I just checked. If you want it, the second part of the title is Access to Natural Cooking published in 1972.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Being married to a man who forgets nothing and notices everything, he realized this cookbook came from a college in Santa Cruz and a special program that supports the restaurant this is based on. You can google it and find out what a terrific area it comes from and how many years the restaurant stayed in business and all the alternative info that goes with it. The restaurant just closed a few years ago and I think was run by students. I probably should live there and how unusual it would be to be thought of as one of the more conservative people. That would make my friends laugh. Maybe Santa Cruz is where I really belong. There is a great pottery there I discoved on a trip to CA a few years ago going down Hwy #1.


  1. I just can't believe it. I was just sitting looking at my Whole Earth Cook book and wondering what ever happened to the staff on the back. Soooo I went to my sometimes friendly computer and googled. There you were. What a great write up and I agree, the coffee cake is wonderful, but I like full fat. I too am an empty nester. Memories of the late 60's and 70's comes easy now. My 6 children have always thought of me as their hippy mom. OH, well, maybe they are right. I have always followed my own path and taught the same to them (who by the way have done well for themselves). Maybe we are more daring then they are. Thanks again for the memories. Cathy

  2. Thank you Linda!! Have been craving this coffee cake, and only have the second cookbook with me!! All these recipes are still wonderful! Enjoy