49. 49 years old. That was how old my mother was when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. 13. 13 years long. That was how long she battled it for. I wish I could say that my mother and I had a great relationship. The truth is that I spent much of my childhood, teen years, and young adult life resentful and bitter towards her. Now as a grown woman, with 3 little girls of my own, I look back and would do anything to capture those moments, those years, with my mother again.
She smiled, with her beautiful gap-tooth smile, during the seemingly endless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She laughed through the tears when her hair fell out. She continued to pray, support, and encourage my sisters and me when she was too weak or tired to get out of bed. She lived every single day bravely facing each moment while hoping for a better tomorrow. In her utter sickness, she was the strongest.
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Company is Coming
The brave and amazing woman she was, I will say (and my sisters will also attest) that she was not the world’s best cook. She redeemed her slightly lacking cooking skills with one heck of a coffee cake.
As soon as she received word that company was coming over, she would preheat that white kitchen oven and get to mixing. In the kitchen was where my mother and I would often find peace. Our squabbles and frustrations with each other could be laid to rest as we measured, mixed, and baked.
Coffee Cake Memories
Warm notes of cinnamon and brown sugar would soon fill the kitchen air. The fluffy white coffee cake with the crunchy streusel on top speckled with warm chocolate chips that immediately melted on your tongue.
I’ve adapted my mother’s coffee cake recipe to create a flavourful layered cake that always brings back memories of her. Memories of my mom, not the woman with breast cancer, but the woman who courageously lived even when dying.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 6-inch round cake pans.
Mix the espresso powder with the warm milk and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine all the dry ingredients and give it a quick whisk together.
Add in all the wet ingredients including the milk espresso mixture and mix until fully combined.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Invert and let fully cool on a cooling rack.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except the chocolate chips with a fork until crumbly.
Spread on the prepared tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
Cool completely and crumble any large pieces. Save chocolate chips for assembly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and shortening on medium speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Approximately 5-10 minutes.
Add the icing sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, and milk and mix on low until combined.
Turn the mixer up to medium and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Place one leveled layer of coffee cake on a cake board. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream.
Pipe a border of buttercream around the edge and fill with approximately ⅓ cup streusel filling and ⅛ cup of mini chocolate chips. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides.
Decorate as you please. I used the Wilton cake comb to create the stripes and a 1M tip for the buttercream ruffles. Sprinkles are Sprinkle Pop “Pink Ombre” mix. Enjoy.