CLAIRE'S LITHUANIAN COFFEE CAKE

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This recipe is listed in the "Eastern European" (Lithuanian) and "Desserts" (Cakes & Cupcakes) sections of the YaleCooks recipe collection.

Background & Recipe Analysis:

Many New Haven residents and members of the Yale community have fond memories of Lithuanian Coffee Cake (the "Lith") prepared by Claire's Corner Copia, on Chapel Street.

There are several sources for this recipe.  The "New Haven Register" (NH Register) and the "Once Upon A Cookie" (OUAC) recipes are very similar.  The "Proof of the Pudding" (POTP) and "European-POTP" recipes are also very similar.  The POTP blog author (2008) claims the coffee cake recipe published in Claire's "225 Homestyle Vegetarian" (1994) cookbook is not the one used in the bakery!  See references at the end.

These four recipes from the internet require "baking powder" as an ingredient, but the recipes do not specify single-acting or double-acting.  The "Proof of the Pudding" (POTP) author described her cake as "unimpressingly small" (when she "followed" the recipe from Claire's cookbook) and the POTP recipe recommends more baking powder (proportionally).  It is possible the POTP author used a single-acting baking powder, but that is only an educated guess.  Know your ingredients!

Salt and butter:  Only the two POTP-based recipes include salt, but they also explicity recommend using unsalted butter.  It is likely that Claire's uses salted butter (omitting the need to add extra salt).

In the filling, the two POTP-based recipes use 50% more (1 tablespoon vs 2 teaspoons) cinnamon.  It is not known if Claire's uses freshly ground cinnamon or if the original POTP author (2008) was using older cinnamon, possibly with less flavor.

Comparison of Cake Ingredients: (the NHR recipe is almost 0.66X the OUAC recipe)

Ingredient NH Register (2012) OUAC (2010) European POTP (2010) POTP (2008)
flour 2 C, unbleached 3 C 3 C (385 g) 3 C
baking powder 1 t 1 1/2 t 2 t 2 t
baking soda 1 t 1 1/2 t 1 t 1 t
salt     1/2 t 1/2 t
butter 1/2 C 3/4 C 3/4 C, unsalted 3/4 C, unsalted
sugar 1 C 1 1/2 C 1 1/4 C, casters 1 1/4 C
eggs, large 2 3 3 3
coffee, brewed 1 T 2 T 1 T, expresso 1 T
vanilla extract 1 t 2 t 1 t 1 t
sour cream 1 C, lowfat 1 1/2 C 2 C, creme fraiche 2 C

Comparison of Filling Ingredients: (the OUAC recipe is 2X the NHR recipe, minus the raisins)

Ingredient NH Register (2012) OUAC (2010) European POTP (2010) POTP (2008)
brown sugar 1/4 C, dark 1/2 C 1/4 C (55 g), muscovado 1/4 C, light
sugar 2 T 4 T 1/4 C (55 g), casters 1/4 C (== 4 T)
unsweetened cocoa powder     1 T, Belgian cocoa powder 1 T
cinnamon 1 t 2 t 1 T 1 T
walnuts, chopped & toasted 1/4 C 1/2 C 1/4 C (25 g) 1/4 C
raisins 1/4 C   1/4 C (25 g), Corinthian 1/4 C
coffee, ground 1 T 2 T    

Annotated Internet Links:

1) New Haven Register (2012-02-28) An interview with chef-owner-author, Claire Criscuolo.  This appears to be the same recipe which appears in the late summer/early fall 2012 edition (Number 23, page 10) of edible Nutmeg
2) Once Upon A Cookie blog (2010-02-25) An adaptation from one of Claire's cookbooks.

3) Destination Dessert blog (2010-11-11) A European version of the following POTP recipe.
4) Proof of the Pudding blog (2008-01-30). An adaptation created by merging two recipes

Recommended Cookbooks:

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