Simple, Frugal Recipe: Coffee Cake!

I love coffee cake. I always have. It’s a quick, easy, frugal food to make for potlucks, or when you have company over for breakfast or brunch. Or because it’s Tuesday.

A few weeks back, Social Nature and Bob’s Red Mill sent us a Blueberry muffin grain-free mix. I don’t have a muffin tin (RIP muffin tin, it served us well for 10+ years), and the kit came with a recipe to use the mix for a coffee cake. HELLS YES.

The kids gobbled the cake up and the big kid asked if there was a way to make a coffee cake without a mix.

A quick glance at my handy dandy 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook and here is my version of the recipe. I have made found the perfect recipe. I’ve made some changes that are a little healthier, a little more modern, but don’t mess with the flavors at all.

Betty’s Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping



  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups AP Flour (You can use whole wheat flour if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp. baking POWDER
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 Tbsp. AP flour
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • (optional, but tasty) 1/2 C. chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine white sugar, softened butter. Mix together until fluffy.
  3. Add egg and blend thoroughly.
  4. Stir in milk, and the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour and spread batter in greased (use spray release) 9×9 glass baking dish.
  6. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, remaining AP flour, cinnamon, melted butter, and pecans (optional). Spread this crumbly mixture over top of the baking dish.
  7. Bake cake for 25-32 minutes.

Serve with coffee (DUH), or a glass of cold milk.

Small Changes to Make your Box Cake Mix Taste Scratch-Made!

When cake mixes were first invented most of them only required the addition of water and one or two eggs. Some early cake mixes only required the addition of water, as the cake mixes contained shortening and powdered eggs.

Nowadays most of us use cake mixes, but we long for the taste of scratch-baked cakes and pastries.

Here are a few tips to make your boxed cake mix taste a little bit more like the scratch-baked treats you remember your grandmother or mother making in your youth.

  1. If a cake mix calls for water, use milk.
  2. When the cake mix calls for vegetable oil, use softened butter. Or coconut oil (room temp).
  3. If you are using a spice cake mix, omit eggs, oil and, water and substitute a (14.5 Oz) can of pumpkin to make a tasty pumpkin spice cake.
  4. If you are watching your cholesterol, you can omit oil and eggs in a cake mix for applesauce. 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg, and an equal amount of applesauce instead of the oil. The cake will come out delicious and moist.
  5. Adding ingredients such as chocolate chips, dried fruits (I like dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and dried cherries), or chopped nuts can also make your box cake a little fancier.
  6. I love making a yellow cake mix into a coffee cake by making a streusel topping: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup room temperature butter, 1 tsp. cinnamon or pie spice to taste. After the cake batter is poured into the greased cake pan, sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the cake and bake per box directions. It makes a great coffee cake for brunch!

If you are looking for more ways to fancy up a plain boxed cake mix, check out the Cake Doctor books on Amazon!

12/1/2020: Celebrate Santee’s 40th Birthday with Treats & Fireworks!

My hometown, Santee, CA is celebrating their 40th birthday this Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

No birthday is complete without treats, and there are lots of locations throughout town giving out yummy goodies!

Visit any of our Sweet Treat Stop locations on Tuesday, December 1 to enjoy a sweet birthday treat on behalf of the City of Santee. (while supplies last)


Santee City Hall – 10601 N. Magnolia Ave, Santee • Gourmet sweet treats handcraft by Lantern Crest‘s Executive Chef Mario Esparza, Chick- fil-A • Brownies, Baklava King, Inc. • Variety of baklava  Drive-thru map (11am – 6pm)
Bagel & Donut Bar – 9720 Mission Gorge Rd Ste E, Santee • Kids – 6 donut holes and Adults – 1 classic bagel with cream cheese (6am – 8pm)
Baklava King, Inc. – (off site distribution of treats at Santee City Hall) • Variety of baklava
Chick-fil-A Santee – (off site distribution of treats at Santee City Hall) • Brownies
Dairy Queen – 70 town Center Parkway, Santee • Small soft serve cone vanilla or chocolate (11am – 8pm)
Eccentric International Chefs – 8925 Carlton Hills Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 • Mini cupcakes, mini cookies & macaroons (4:30am – 4pm)
Go Get Yogurt – 9802 N. Magnolia Ave, Ste 1, Santee • Special birthday size frozen yogurt with one topping of customer’s choice (11am – 9:30pm)
Honey Donuts – 10718 Woodside Ave, Santee  • Donuts, coffee, hot chocolate, muffins or cookies (24hrs)
Kravings Fruit Bar – 9740 Mission Gorge #D, Santee, CA 92071 • Dessert TBA (10:30am – 8pm)
Mary’s Donuts – 8959 Carlton Hills Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 • Donuts (24hrs)
NatSweets – 8840 N. Magnolia Ave #150, Santee • Chocolate chip or birthday cake cookie or a scoop of ice cream (9am-5pm)
The Coffee Corner – 235 Town Center Pkwy Ste A, Santee • Mini acai bowls & Belgian waffles (7:30am – 4pm)
The Cupcake Store – 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd Ste 7, Santee • Mini cupcakes (10am – 5:30pm)
Whipped Cake Shop – Pathways Church Parking Lot 9600 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee • Gingerbread cheesecake bites (10am – 6pm)


In addition to treats, there will be fireworks! At 7:00 p.m. two simultaneous LIVE fireworks shows will be launched from Town Center Community Park and West Hills Park. If you have pets, make sure they are safely inside.

And both park locations where the fireworks are being shot off will be closed to the public- remember to view the fireworks somewhere safe and socially distant.