I’m certain there must be a recipe, tucked away in your recipe box, which takes you back to a memory in your youth. This Allentown cake is just one of those recipes. I asked friends what recipes brought back sweet memories, baked goods in particular. Baked goods (homemade mac and cheese or grilled cheese and tomato soup are the ultimate comfort foods so say I) are the best comfort foods.
Heather Dolan, a high school friend now living in Tennessee, shared a recipe which caught my eye, Allentown Cake. The recipe belongs to Heather’s late Grandma Olive Herzer Dolan.
Heather says, the “recipe was one of my grandmother’s ‘go to’ deserts. She was a fabulous Pennsylvania Dutch cook, but did very little baking. The few baked goods she did make were done to perfection. I have fond memories of she and I sharing a cup of coffee and slice of this cake on late evenings while savoring the end of the day and the smell of Pennsylvania, which is unique and delicious.”
Of course, I’m wondering why the cake is called an Allentown cake. Maybe you know? Do tell! Heather always wondered about the cake’s name but never asked. She said, “maybe because my mouth was too full of cake.”
This recipe is a hit with Heather’s southern friends. The cake and recipe has been shared at many family cookouts. What a wonderful gift to give, the memory of a loved one!
Enjoy it as a coffee cake but we both agree this would make a perfect base for vanilla ice cream and in season, freshly picked strawberries.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grease a 9x11 or 9x13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, sugar and baking powder. Using your hands or a fork mix in the butter (like a pie dough). The mixture will be very dry. Remove a handful of crumbs, about ½ cup and see aside.
- In a small bowl mix the egg yolks, milk and vanilla until well combined; set aside. In a separate small bowl beat the egg whites.
- Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined and fold in the egg whites.
- Spread the batter in the pan, sprinkle with the remaining crumbs, dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes.