, Gloucester, MA

February 20, 2013

Coffee cake brightens breakfast

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Breakfast can be a quick bowl of oatmeal, or cold cereal, but add this coffee cake and you have made it something special. The occasion doesn’t have to be special. Breakfast with the family around the kitchen table on a Saturday or Sunday morning is special enough. This is prime family time in busy homes.

Muffins, smoothies, and pancakes are typical and traditional breakfast dishes. But when I want something different with a refreshing flavor to it, this is what I turn to.

In addition, it is quite simple to make your own Orange Julius drinks, or make a real treat of hot chocolate by adding a peppermint patty. Have friends over for coffee and surprise them, or after shoveling snow, have hot peppermint coffee and coffee cake ready. Make a chore into an enjoyable time with the simple things.

As I look back, I wish I did it more often.

Apricot Coconut

Coffee Cake

Serves 10 to 12

There is nothing like a warm piece of coffee cake with a steaming cup of hot coffee on a snowy day. I hope you enjoy this.


1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

11/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 can (12-ounce) apricot pie filling


1/3 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups flaked coconut

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture.

Beat just until moistened. Spread half of the batter into a greased 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Carefully spread apricot filling over batter; spread remaining batter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and cinnamon; stir in coconut. Spoon over the cake. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for at least a half hour before cutting.

Make your own Orange Julius

Makes 6 cups


1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (I start with a third of a cup and taste test)

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 to 6 ice cubes

Blend in blender 30 seconds.

Hot Peppermint Coffee

Place a chocolate peppermint patty in the bottom of a heated mug. Add hot brewed coffee, and stir patty melts. Add milk or cream if desired.

Or, add peppermint ice cream to a mug of hot coffee.

Ooh, what a treat this is:

Hot Peppermint Chocolate

3 cups hot milk, divided

8 chocolate peppermint patties (the small ones)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup cream

Combine 1/2 cup hot milk with chocolate peppermint patties. Add salt and 21/2 cups hot milk; heat to simmering. Add cream.

Good to hear

from you

Dear Pat,

Thank you for the great idea about the cupcakes. I didn’t bake them, but I went to a bakery and saw they had the same Valentine’s gift boxes that held four cupcakes. I bought four boxes, with cupcakes, for my son’s teacher, school bus driver, his grandmother, and my helpful neighbor. They were a big hit, and the idea came from your column with the picture. Thanks again,

Marilyn, Atkinson, N.H.

Dear Marilyn,

I guess that’s called “pass it forward” as I got the idea when I was looking around in Michael’s craft store.

Hi Pat,

I’ve never written to you before, but I check out your column every week which is the important part of the paper for me. You mentioned a coconut pecan frosting for a cake that someone made a comment on. I missed this one. Could I please have the recipe for this frosting which, I assume, is for a white cake.

Thank you,

Pat - Andover

Dear Pat,

You couldn’t possibly know this but you are the second “Pat from Andover” that has written me. I have sent you the recipe in its entirety, which actually is done using a boxed German chocolate cake mix, but I think the coconut-pecan frosting would be great on a white cake as well.

Hi Pat,

My husband and I think the tomatoes we have been getting in the supermarket have no flavor, so I was thinking of doing something different with them. Do you have a recipe for stuffed tomatoes that you bake? Thank you in advance,


Dear Nina,

In the winter tomatoes do lose flavor from refrigeration. Sometimes if you bring them to room temperature for a while, it may boost the flavor a little. I have sent you a recipe for baked stuffed tomatoes that uses ground beef in the filling; the recipe is more than five generations old.


Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at, or write care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.