Lisa Erickson mug

was shocked by what I found in the kitchen last week when I came home from work.  I have to keep reminding my kids our kitchen is not a college dorm. Crumbs on the counter, food globs covering the inside of the microwave, and fingerprint smudges across the front of the refrigerator do not miraculously disappear. Neither does food appear in the cupboards and there is no such thing as kitchen fairies. 

My kitchen was becoming a battle zone of seriously bored collage-agers, my new term for them. However, that all changed when I saw one of my cookbooks on the counter. 

This isn’t any old cookbook; this is the cookbook that I learned to bake some of the most difficult things from. It changed my baking world. 

Many of the recipes in this book I have memorized, and I don’t take it out anymore. It was buried among a hundred other cookbooks in my office. Whoever took it out, wanted it. My heart was happy. My sons wanted to bake.

The next day, one of the boys asked how to make the crumb topping for my streusel coffee cake. I figured out who took the cookbook out. I happily told him the recipe off the top of my head and said I couldn’t wait to try it.  He was on the right track and that’s all I cared about.  Maybe there are kitchen fairies. 

Streusel Coffee cake

Streusel topping: 

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

½ tsp salt 

1 cup flour 

1 Tbsp cinnamon

½ cup butter 


1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tbsp cinnamon


1 ½ cups butter, softened

1 tsp salt 

1 ½ cups sugar

2 ½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract 

3 eggs 

¾ cup plain yogurt (not Greek) 

1 ¼ cups whole milk 

3 ½ flour 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan or a 9x13 pan; set aside.

For the streusel: Mix together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add the butter, mix until well combined; set aside. 

For the filling: mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. 

For the cake: 

In a large bowl, beat the butter, salt, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla until combined and the mixture is smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. 

In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt and milk until combined. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternating with the milk mixture, mix to combine. 

Scoop half the batter into the prepared pan. Spreading the batter to the edges. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly on the batter. Scoop the remaining batter on top of the filling. Use a knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter with a couple broad “S” shaped strokes. Don't swirl too much. 

Sprinkle the streusel over the top, by squeezing it in your hand and breaking the clumps apart. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly and serve warm with butter. 

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at or email her at

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