The Cake Slice: Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake

School has been ridiculously tough so far this semester, and tension is definitely in the air at the U. It's honestly crazy. This semester seems to be everyone's toughest semester. Every time I've gone to the library, it's always packed. No one seems to be out of there. Work, on the other hand, hasn't been that bad. It's gotten to be pretty fun, and I've been making some really good friendships there. On the private life front, it's been complicated. I've had my good days where everything falls into place really well, and I've had my bad days, where things just honestly go from bad to the worst ever. Throughout the good and bad times, baking is always there to help me out. Yes, I know I'm kind of personifying baking, but it really seems to be like a good friend of mine. It always cheers me up when I'm down; it relaxes me when I'm so stressed things seem to be crashing down all around me; it brings a smile to my face when I see others enjoy what I've made. Into this baking relationship falls the amazing group called The Cake Slice. Every month, we all vote on which cake to make, and then on the 20th of each month, we unravel our baked goodies to the whole world. This time around, we all decided on baking up a storm from the book Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. For this month's choice, we made an amazing one-of-a-kind coffee cake. It's full of cinnamony goodness! It has a delicious filling and topping that's made of cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, and pecans. While the cake's baking, it fills up the whole house with the most delicious cinnamon smell ever. It even caught the attention of my cat, Holy, which happens to be the pickiest eater ever. I'm telling you all. If you're into cinnamon, and into coffee cake, you have to try this recipe out.

This little background excerpt comes directly from Southern Cakes: "Christmas morning breakfast at our house always included this outstanding cake, which had enough cinnamon to perfume the kitchen and enough brown sugar and pecans to make us clamor for seconds. I love to make it throughout the year, sometimes in a tube pan but mostly in a big rectangle so that it's easy to cut into yummy, portable squares."

Mother's Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake
*serves 8 to 10*

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup salted butter, melted

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

1) Heat the oven to 350F, and grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch pan.
2) To make the filling, combine the light brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix everything well. Combine the raisins and pecans in another bowl and toss to mix them. Place the cinnamon mixture, the nut mixture, and the melted butter by the baking pan.
3) To make the coffee cake batter, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix them together well. Stir the vanilla into the milk. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar, and beat with a mixer at high speed, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until pale yellow and evenly mixed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then, until the mixture is smooth and light.
4) Using a large spoon or a spatula, add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and stir only until the flour disappears. Add about a third of the milk and mix it in. Repeat two more times with the remaining flour and milk, stirring just enough each time to keep the batter smooth.
5) Spread half the batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter, followed by half the melted butter. Scatter half the raisins and nuts over the batter. Spread the remaining batter carefully over the filling, using a spatula or a spoon to smooth the batter all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the remaining cinnamon mixture, butter, and nut mixture, covering the cake evenly.
6) Bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, fragrant, and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes on wire racks or a folded kitchen towel, and then serve in squares right from the pan. The cake is delicious hot, warm, or at room temperature.

If you want to check out the other Cake Slice Bakers' monthly entries, click here.


  1. Yes this cake did smell so yummy baking. I'm glad your cat approved too :-)

    great job on your coffee cake!

  2. Your cake looks wonderful. I agree the smell as it bakes is wonderful

  3. I bake to relieve stress too. This cake was definitely a stress buster. I loved the warming smell of the spices that filled my house. Glad you decided to join our baking group!