Food Fashion and Flow: LAUSD Old School Coffee Cake   

Thursday, June 21, 2012

LAUSD Old School Coffee Cake



I am a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Cafeteria food is not usually something to be celebrated, in fact of, most of us crack jokes about the food we ate in the school cafeteria or the foods we didn’t eat in the school cafeteria, but among the heckles and catcalls of cafeteria food, there is one that deserves a standing ovation and an encore.   

The LAUSD coffee cake. 

My fondest memory of attending elementary, middle school and high school in the LAUSD is the coffee cake! Apparently, I am not the only one.  Lots of taste buds all over Los Angeles and even those who have relocated to other parts of the country have starry eyed memories of slightly warm, brown sugary, crumb topped nutmeg and cinnamon laced coffee cake. I remember many mornings munching on this coffee cake and trying to shove the last bit of sweetness in my mouth before the bell rang for class. 




In elementary school, I had the art of scoring a piece of coffee cake down to a science. Get to school early to buy a slice before it sold out!  I soon discovered that the genius way to make sure I always had a coffee cake hook up, was to volunteer to work the window at the school cafeteria during the nutrition break. Decades later the memory of this coffee cake makes me smile:-)


A few years back the popularity of this iconic LA sweet treat proved to be such a tasty memory to thousands of now adult LAUSD alumni, that the original recipe nearly 60 years old was printed in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles  Daily Newspaper and The Daily Breeze. Now we could all once again sink our now grown up teeth and taste buds into that delicious old school LAUSD coffee cake. The Los Angeles Times has received so many letters asking for the recipe for this treat, that now LAUSD has shared their secret with us.

There are nearly a million slices served each year.

When I saw the recipe, there was no doubt in my mind that this would be a mainstay in my kitchen.  For those of you that reside in other states and countries, this is the mother ship of coffee cake recipes.


When  I made this recipe, the smell coming from my kitchen was so sweet and inviting, that I was expecting the neighbors to ring my doorbell and ask what I was cooking.  This is not just coffee cake, this is comfort cake. Have a piece, I promise it’ll make you feel better.

L.A. Schools School District Coffee Cake


From the Los Angeles Unified School District Food Service kitchen.




For the Cake:


3 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. plus 2 Tbs. Non-fat dry milk, or 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbs. vinegar
1 1/2 C. water
1 C. plus 2 Tbs. oil
1 C. sugar
1 1/4 C. brown sugar
2 eggs


For the Topping:

3/4 C. plus 3 Tbs. All-purpose flour
1/4 C. plus 1 Tbs. brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. sugar
dash of salt
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 C. salad oil


For the cake :

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, combine flour, dry milk, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

3. Combine vinegar and water in a measuring cup, Set aside.

4. In mixer bowl, blend together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar on low speed for 1 minute.

5. Add eggs and continue to blend on low speed for 1 minute.

6. While mixer is on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the water/vinegar mixture tot he oil/sugar mixture. Scrape down the bowl and blend on medium speed for 1 additional minute.

7. Evenly divide batter between two greased 9x9 pans. Sprinkle 3/4 Cup topping evenly over the batter in each pan. (See directions below for topping.)

8. Bake until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Approximately, 45-55 minutes.

Directions for topping:
1. In mixer bowl, combine all ingredients except oil. Blend on low speed for 1 minute.

2. Add oil gradually and continue to blend until topping is crumbly.


Source: Los Angeles Unified School District Kitchen

 

This coffee cake was so insanely delicious,that some of us bought two or three slices at a time. If you didn't attend an LAUSD school and have this coffee cake, I feel so sorry for you... and if you did attend LAUSD and you didn't experience this coffee cake, I feel even more sorry for you

 This coffee cake is as familiar to those of us that went to school in Los Angeles as Pimples, braces, and algebra. The funny math and metal mouth we willingly forget, but this coffee cake, we remember:-)


So now that you have the recipe, why don't you make some and invite me over for a slice and we can discuss the good old days over coffee:-) And since we are getting to know each other, why don't you tell me what your favorite stuff from the cafeteria was?

Were you a coffee cake fanatic like me?



36 comments:

Sing said...

This looks super moist. I've never seen vinegar in a cake recipe before, that's so interesting to me.

Haylie said...

mmm looks delicious! :)

-haylie

~Jeimy~ said...

looks amazing I bet is as yummy as it looks!!!

MS AMYAGUILERA said...

Cakes for me, is really hard to make.
HAHA I'm not that good at cooking, sometimes I think I'll ruin my kitchen if I'm at home alone, (at the time I need to cook for myself) LOL

msamyaguilera.blogspot.com
Amy x

Randy said...

This took me back some years. Some of the good years that I had at Mann Junior High School!

Paris said...

Sounds like I know what I am making this weekend! This cake looks divine!!
Thanks for the sweet comment on G&G; you're blog is adorbs and I'm following you now via GFC and would love if you followed me as well :)

xoxo,
Paris

glitteratiandglamour.blogspot.com

Paris said...

Sounds like I know what I am making this weekend! This cake looks divine!!
Thanks for the sweet comment on G&G; you're blog is adorbs and I'm following you now via GFC and would love if you followed me as well :)

xoxo,
Paris

glitteratiandglamour.blogspot.com

Paris said...

Sounds like I know what I am making this weekend! This cake looks divine!!
Thanks for the sweet comment on G&G; you're blog is adorbs and I'm following you now via GFC and would love if you followed me as well :)

xoxo,
Paris

glitteratiandglamour.blogspot.com

Buggy Whipped said...

LV, you have struck a chord with this one! I always had to have my coffee cake with chocolate milk. The best piece was the corner piece which always had a lil crunch to it. My days at gang ridden Clay Jr Hi were eased knowing that my tasty treat around be there at nutrition. Great article. Keep them coming. Please do a tribute to the now defunct Buggy Whip eating establishment.

Savvy Sexy Mama said...

I loved this cake me and my sister would work in the cafeteria so we could get extra coffee cake. We would also try to get the homemade biscuit made daily with the little orange juice cartons. Those were the best times at West Vermont elementary school. Wow or seems like only yesterday

Dr. Reginia said...

LOL @ this post. I have memories of scoring another piece of chocolate cake. This is too funny.

We never had coffee cake though, I am not sure if our cafeteria ladies were hip to anything other than chocolate cake, brownies, or the unknown flavored cookie.

Jasmine of ❤AdamAlexMommy❤ said...

love all the yummy food posts. i love coffee cake... would love to bake it for the first time. :)

have a great weekend!!!

yummychunklet said...

What delicious looking cake!

Oh to Be a Muse said...

So I just finished eating lunch, but your coffee cake is so tempting (and I'm still hungry) so I think I'm going to have a snack.

I wanna be fierce said...

That looks beyond good.

-Shakiyla

Kat said...

Thanks for sharing! What a great story behind the recipe. If a million slices are sold a year, they've got to be doing something right...so I've pinned it for future reference. I must say I'm intrigued by the vinegar in the cake and the oil in the topping. Can't wait to try it sometime.

angiejenkins2011 said...

I remember this coffee cake. This definitely takes me back to my school days in Los Angeles. Everybody used to buy two or three at a time because it was so good.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been looking for this for so long.

Jr. High in the Valley and High School. I used to volunteer too just to make sure I had a slice.

Thank you so much, now I can share this with my kids and a little piece of home with them.
Lots of thanks from
Texas. =D

Erika said...

This is making me want to have been at your school just for the coffee cake!! I love the story behind this. Sounds like a must make!

Just found your blog through Choc Chip Uru and love it :)

Crystal C. said...

Oh, this made me smile. If there was anything good to say about the cafeteria food in LAUSD, it would definitely be about the coffee cake. I think I'm going to make this for my two boys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful memories. I also volunteered in the cafeteria to ensure a slice. Going to drive my neighbors crazy with the scent. I have a church pot luck coming up, I'm making dessert. There are going to be a lot of happy people.

Anonymous said...

My Mother actually worked in the cafeteria's at LAUSD my sister's & I were able to go the cafeteria and get cookie dough from her. Through the years there were many great recipes she cooked at school & then made at home but none more delicious than the crumb cake.. Great Memories & great crumb cake gonna have to make some.

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Maggie said...

I made this coffee cake, but it sure isnt the one I remember my scnool having. Maybe the recipe changed over the years. The coffee cake we had was in the late 60's. I really was hoping this was the same one. Also, I think you should start checking for doneness at about 30 mins.

LV said...

@Maggie
I am sure the recipe has probably changed over the years, but this is without question, the one I had in the 80s. I hope you still found it delicious even though you might have had a different coffee cake during your time with LAUSD.

Anonymous said...

Having made this numerous times, it's the cake we craved from school days in the LAUSD.

Certainly, there were other cakes and desserts available (The brownies! The brownies!), but before school and recess weren't the same without this yummy cake square.

Karen said...

I loved the grilled cheese sandwiches. I'd have one at nutrition break. One slice wheat & one slice white bread. They were the best!

Anonymous said...

I woke up this AM hungry and thots of the delicious coffee cake from my days at south gate high crept in...since moved away from California and have made it a hobby to look up old recipes for dishes @favorite restaurants indigenous to the west coast (such as a numero uno deep dish pizza)so on a whim I google the coffee cake this morning to see if anyone has posted a recipe and !shock surprise and elation!a link to the site came up !! I too, worked in the cafeteria early AM...preparing sheets of the half white half wheat bread grilled cheese sandwiches for baking and working at the window at nutrition was my job...and I always set aside 2 slices of coffee cake 2 grilled cheese sandwiches and to mini sausages with orange juice for my sister and I ...I've been looking for this recipe for years and I thank you thank you thank you for posting it from the bottom of my belly lol ! may the old school coffee cake gods bless you abundantly!
Alisa class of 84

Anonymous said...

I made it but it was a bit dry, did you use buttermilk or the powdered milk?

Anonymous said...

Making it for the second time. First time was a huge hit with kids so im making more. Another favorite for me was the chalupa...mmmm...recipe anyone?

Michelle Jones said...

OMG I have been missing this cake since the 8th grade!!! You have no idea how many memories this brings back. Reminds me of when my dad would walk us to school. I can remember the smell of this coffee cake in the air as I ran to the cafeteria. I am ready to use this recipe to create memories and my children. It will be interesting to see the look on my husbands face when I bake this for him tonight. He is a true L.A baby and I'm sure he will be able to reminisce with me.. Thank you for this recipe.

Amber said...

This was the best stuff ever!!! I always wanted to bring some home to share but it never made it past the end of nutrition! I'll will definitely be making some this weekend!

MsVChen said...

As an LAUSD teacher, I too have loved this cake for over 20 years. This year I learned from my middle schoolers that the way to eat it is to pour milk over it and mush it together! Thanks for sharing. =)

IMDark2 said...

Strange thing! At this age of 54 I woke up thinking about this coffee cake today. So, I thought everything else is on the internet .. Let me see if I can find that recipe. BOOM! There it is!!! Oh boy! This is gonna take me back to some fond memories!! I can TRULLY say this Coffee Cake was the best part of going to school everyday!!! Well, I'm off to the grocery store to get my ingredients!! Stop by on your next nutrition break! I'll save you a piece!! LOL.

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