A while back I had a request from Steve Frazer of Reisterstown who was seeking the recipe for the chocolate chip coffee cake that used to be sold at Miller's Delicatessen in Northwest Baltimore in the 1970s. At the time I ran his query I received an email from Leslie Miller-Scherr, whose family was the original owner of the deli.
She told me that back in the day they purchased the cake from a local caterer, Cyril and Ruth's, but she thought they were no longer operating. I tried to locate the caterer to see if they would share the recipe but found that they were no longer in business. At the time, I did receive several recipes for chocolate chip coffee cakes from readers, and I published a very good one, even though I knew it likely was not the exact one Frazer was seeking.
Interestingly, I recently received an email from Barbara Block Novicki, originally from Baltimore now residing in Scottsdale, Ariz., who said that on a recent visit to Baltimore she learned about the request in the paper for the chocolate chip coffee cake. It turns out that Novicki's mother was Cyril Block, who along with her aunt, Ruth Julius, founded and ran the catering business Cyril and Ruth's for many years.
She said the business began in the early 1950s in the basement of her home on Mondawmin Avenue and later as it grew was moved to a commissary. The coffee cakes that were sold at several local establishments, including Miller's Delicatessen, were only a small part of their operation. She said the business, along with the name, was sold many years ago.
Novicki explained that the original recipe was for blueberry coffee cake and came from her grandmother, Mary Mogol. H her mother and aunt adapted it and frequently substituted chocolate chips and chopped nuts for the blueberries. The basic recipe remains the same except that one cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped nuts are combined and then added in layers to the batter in place of the blueberries. Either way, their recipe makes a delicious and moist sour cream coffee cake perfect for brunch, afternoon tea, or just snacking.
Anne Marie Gardner from Baltimore is looking for a recipe for the cinnamon sticks that were made by Rudot's bakery that used to be on the corner of Old Frederick Road and Loudon Avenue in Irvington. She said they would "just melt in your mouth" and were her husband's favorite from childhood.
Bobbi Millner from Timonium would like to have the recipe for the stuffed lobster tail that was served at the Brentwood Inn in Dundalk. She said they were stuffed with lobster meat and were good and rich. The Brentwood has been closed for many years.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email email@example.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
Grandmother Mogol's blueberry coffee cake
Makes 8 to 10 servings
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch round tube, bundt or springform pan.
Sift dry ingredients together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition until the mixture gets fluffy. Add the vanilla to the sour cream and then add alternately with the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the top before baking.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake tests done.
Variation: Chocolate chips and chopped nuts or cinnamon, sugar, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins can be added in layers in place of the blueberries.