Sunday, April 16, 2006

Weekend Cookbook Challenge #4: Easter Brunch

Having grown up in the Upper Midwest, I have an arsenal of recipes for good, hearty, no fuss foods. I learned at a very early age how to make a Sunday roast, bake old fashioned sugar cookies, and that hashbrowns are shaved potatoes with a golden brown outside and soft, creamy insides. I also learned how to make coffee cakes, the staple of any church brunch and social.

One of my favourite coffee cakes is my mother's Gooey Butter Coffee Cake. She would make this coffee cake every Easter Sunday to go with poached eggs, country bacon, and hashbrowns. Gooey Butter Coffee Cake is a decadent concoction of rich, buttery yellow cake surrounding a gooey, sweet, almost cheesecake like center. The perfect way to break the self sacrificing season of Lent. This recipe is my mother's that she submitted to her local chapter of the Homemakers Extension Association for publication in their 1982 cookbook.

Gooey Butter Coffee Cake (serves 14)

1 box yellow cake mix (use one with added pudding)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (use real cream cheese not the light/fat free, etc.)
4 eggs (large)
1 lb powdered sugar

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan. Combine the cake mix and melted butter together. Add 2 eggs and mix until a solid dough-ball forms. Using your fingers, press into the prepared baking pan to thickness of about 1/4", pushing the dough up the sides of the baking pan and set aside (if the dough slides back to middle of pan, place in refrigerator for 15 minutes until the dough holds form and push up sides). In bowl, mix cream cheese and remaining 2 eggs. Slowly add powdered sugar until smooth. Using a spatula, spread in center of dough in prepared baking pan. Put in center of oven and bake for 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and center set. Let cool for 30-40 minutes until center is solid. Cut into 1" x 1" squares and serve.