For breakfast and birthdays, let them eat cake

As Gilda Radner used to say (in the guise of early SNL character Roseanne Rosannadanna,) “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” I find that to be true in most areas of life, but specifically in my kitchen these days. I have spent the better part of the last week laid up with bronchitis, but I did manage to make and enjoy a delicious maple walnut coffee cake for Ian’s breakfast Monday to celebrate his first day at his new job before succumbing, as well as a chocolate cake (and a steak dinner!) for his birthday on Thursday — which is probably the more impressive accomplishment, as Thursday and Friday were the height of my illness, which is now improving.

While I’ve been recovering, the world has moved on, and it’s April now — no longer Maine maple month — but I’m still all about maple, and I probably always will be. For me, March is just an excuse to share my love of maple with everyone else, and I’m sure I’ll have a few more maple recipes to share in the weeks to come.

Because my camera’s been on the fritz — and because we all know what a chocolate cake looks like — for the sake of practicality and my sanity, I didn’t bother with trying to get a photograph of the birthday cake; I barely got one of the coffee cake, between the camera’s fits of uselessness. I followed my mom’s recipe, passed on to me on a hand-written recipe card when I first learned to cook, and a part of our family birthday tradition for so long that I’m not even sure which cookbook she found it in when she was beginning her journey in the kitchen. It’s an eggless cake, and technically vegan, but still very moist, and I decorated it in the tradition Ian’s mom began when he was a boy — Jiffy frosting, dyed blue, with shredded coconut mixed in.


Maple Walnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup maple sugar, divided into 1/2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch bundt or tube pan. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda together with a fork. In another bowl, cream together granulated sugar, 1/2 cup maple sugar, and butter until fluffy; add eggs and vanilla; combine well. In a third, smaller bowl, combine walnuts, cinnamon, and remaining maple sugar; set aside. To the butter mixture, add half the flour mixture, then half the sour cream, mixing well as you go, then remaining flour and remaining sour cream. Pour half the batter into the pan and top with half of the walnut mixture, then add remaining batter and remaining walnut mixture. Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm, preferably with coffee.

Mom’s (Poor Man’s) Chocolate Cake

  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 3 cup flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375°F; mix all dry ingredients together as listed. Stir in liquid ingredients, pour into 2 greased 8” cake tins (although we usually use a bundt cake pan for this cake as well.) Bake 25 minutes or until done.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.