Promised Coffee Cake

A while back I made a promise my next post would be about making a delicious coffee-cake. It’s been awhile since then and my next several posts haven’t mentioned a thing about coffee-cake or any other kind of cake for that matter.

My kitchen comes equipped with an Omnia oven that sits atop a butane stove-top (the kind used by omelet chefs). My mixing bowl is a small 1-quart mixing bowl, wooden spoon, spatula and a manual hand-mixer (at which most under the age of 30 would look askance), measuring cups and spoons. But I’ve found there’s no trouble turning out delicious treats in this minimalistic kitchen. In place of a cookbook, Google is my go-to for recipes which has only been troublesome in a couple of internet-free spots out here. In this pinch a biscuit recipe presented itself on the back of the flour sack.

I may have made a comment to the effect of making a coffee-cake one Sunday morning, which really lit up Kevin’s eyes. As soon as I began looking up recipes, they all had one thing in common — they were very time intensive and counted on lots of butter, something I didn’t posses in any great quantity. But a promise is a promise. After settling on this yummy recipe, I began to stack ingredients over my every available flat surfaces without covering my 18″ square working area.

My intention was to cut the recipe in half because I wasn’t certain my Omnia oven could handle a whole recipe. But then I got halfway through, sidetracked and started adding all the ingredients so I was pretty-well committed to the full size. The fresh ingredients list called for eggs, yogurt, butter and buttermilk. When stocking our stores for the boat I chose powdered eggs, powdered sour cream, powdered shortening, and powdered butter and buttermilk; so this was a test of how these things would work in baking something as traditional and yummy as a steaming hot coffee-cake. Yogurt was the one ingredient I did have in its fresh state. So I substituted the butter for butter & shortening powder, eggs for powdered eggs, buttermilk for buttermilk powder. After all the dry ingredients for the cake were heaped in my tiny bowl a fork acted as my sifter. Then I added a bit of water and the yogurt and began to stir it all together with my small wooden spoon. I just kept adding water until the consistency became like a thick cake batter.

I poured the batter into an oiled & floured Omnia and set the whole thing over the single burner butane stove on the lowest heat setting I could achieve and hoped the cooking fuel would hold out until it was finished baking. The biggest advantage and selling point for me was the ability to control the flame to just barely on but I’ve also discovered it runs out of fuel at inopportune moments. It took maybe an hour or so to cook but the end result looked as if it had been turned out in a full service kitchen with every available gadget & ingredient.




This tiny oven and my minimalistic kitchen turns out Toll House cookies, biscuits and bread on a regular basis. I’ve proven to myself without question that substituting powdered ingredients in place of fresh has no significant difference in the taste or quality. Actually when you’re miles from the nearest bakery it tastes pretty darn good!




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