The Dorothy Project: Overnight coffee cake.

Two things strike me about this recipe that I found in my grandma Dorothy’s old recipe file: one, the beautiful penmanship, and two, this line: “Can be made 2 days before, providing you have good refrigeration.”

Good refrigeration.

This Overnight Coffee Cake recipe was signed by its creator, Alma Worthington. Alma was the much-beloved cook and kitchen mistress at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, where Dorothy worked and worshiped for many years. I remember Alma as a kind and dignified woman, thoroughly in charge of her kitchen and generous with her food. Alma and her cooks catered the various church luncheons that I attended with Grandma, and her recipe for Hot Chicken Salad remains one of my family’s favorite comfort dishes. (I’ll have to share it here.)

This simple coffee cake recipe is one you’ll want to have in your back pocket for the holidays: You can make the batter and topping a day ahead and pop it in the oven the morning you want to serve it, so your houseguests wake up to the enticing scent of warm cinnamon. It would be stellar on Christmas or New Year’s Day morning.

Raising a cup of coffee in toast to Alma. And to good refrigeration.

Overnight coffee cake recipe

serves 12

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
3/4 cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to combine. Mix in sour cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; add to butter mixture and stir to combine. Batter will be thick. Spread batter in prepared pan. In a bowl, mix together topping ingredients; sprinkle evenly over batter. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Before baking, preheat oven to 350°. Bake 30–35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with just a couple of moist crumbs attached.

4 thoughts on “The Dorothy Project: Overnight coffee cake.

  1. I will have to make this for the gatherings I will be having this month. I am sure it will help set the Christmas mood as they enter my home. Thanks.

  2. I LOVE COFFEE CAKE. I do not love rushing around to make it before guests arrive. Good think I have good refrigeration, thanks for sharing!

    • Heather, I think you’ll love this coffeecake recipe! I’ve also found that it freezes well … you know, if you have any leftovers …