Aunt Gerry’s Coffee Cake

On a rainy weekend, nothing beats a steaming cup of coffee and a sweet treat. This weekend the treat of choice is my Aunt Gerry’s sour cream cinnamon sugar coffee cake. In our family, the cake has a bit of a morbid history. We dubbed it the “death cake” because anytime a friend or relative lost a loved one, one of us would inevitably whip up this cake and bring it by. What is it about death that inspires one to break out the bundt pan or casserole dish? In any case, I’ve always loved this coffee cake. It’s not too sweet and doesn’t require icing, which can be a bit much in the morning. The recipe calls for 2 sticks (!) of butter but I cut it down to a stick and a half. When I removed the cake from the bundt pan, it did break up a bit (I stuffed it back together so I could take this photo) and I’m not sure if that’s because of the missing butter or that I didn’t let the cake cool enough before attempting to remove it from the pan. It could also be because this isn’t the best quality bundt pan. My new one is in storage at my dad’s house, along with many of my bridal shower gifts that I don’t have room for in our apartment.  Anyway below is a picture of the cake as well as the recipe. I don’t think it’s an accident that I love making this cake. My aunt was an avid knitter, like me, and out of my grandmother’s seven sisters, they looked the most alike. I lost my grandmother when I was 18, and every time I looked at Aunt Gerry, I could almost forget for a second that my grandmother was gone. It was oddly comforting. Aunt Gerry passed away a few summers ago, but her recipes live on. Yet another reason to keep baking.

I made a video of myself making this cake, but it’s taking forever to upload, which really slows down our Internet. I’ll try uploading it again tonight and post tomorrow. For now, here’s the recipe:

For batter:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs

2 sticks butter, melted

1 cup sour cream (an 8oz. container)

1 tsp vanilla extract

For filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together. Pour half of the mixture into a greased bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the batter. Top with remaining batter and cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.



  1. Heather said,

    March 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I have made this several times, with all the butter, its fab!! I think the only recipes that my grandmother wrote down were those of her sisters. Have you made Aunt Gerry’s Cheesecake, soo gooooodd!!

  2. March 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    No I’ve never made the cheesecake. Send me the recipe!

  3. michele said,

    March 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    It must be the weather b/c I made a coffee cake too your recipe looks super tasty!
    We had a “who died” cake in our family too. My mom would always make a bundt cake and when I came home & saw it, would always ask who died?! Maybe it’s the Italian thing?

    • March 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      Yeah it’s definitely an Italian thing. We’re experts at mourning through food.

  4. Geraldine said,

    March 13, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Send me Aunt Gerry’s cheesecake receipe.

  5. christie said,

    March 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Looks great. Can’t wait to try it.

  6. Jeanne said,

    March 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Awwhhh ! that was so sweet !
    yes, i would never mess with the recipe – why did you cut out some butter ???
    trying to save some calories?? what’s another half a stick !

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