In week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, I am so thrilled to have my dear friend Christina Ahumada with us. Christina’s extreme passion for creativity seeps through everything she touches, including her oh-so-wonderful new blog, anora grey. I fell immediately in love with Christina’s style after a quick glance at her perfectly polished nail color and my adoration easily continued after being invited to one of her prosecco & homemade cookie dinner parties.
All photos courtesy of Christina Ahumada
What recipe are you sharing with us?
Great Nana Ida, on my Mother’s side.
What makes this recipe meaningful to you?
Flour everywhere, batter flung among my two sisters and me, the fireplace cracking as the logs move. Smell of cinnamon, nutmeg …….the scent of baking. The hum of family and friends laughing and enjoying. The exuberance of a snowy afternoon, or a holiday meal being prepared. Tradition is an oh, so important ideal to carry on, and scents, tastes and experiences bring all those traditions back to the tips of your fingers when you take that bite into that same recipe you had long ago. With baking traditions, your memoirs are only a recipe away. Being in Atlanta now and being born and raised in NY – family is a plane ride away, so the wonderful memories of laughter, sisters, mothers, grandmothers are only a few whisk-strokes away. Cooking these heirloom recipes bring them right into my kitchen. Every single one of them.
E very holiday breakfast, an array of baking items were prepared. Bread Dolls, Sweet Rolls, and my Great Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake. Rich with cinnamon, roasted walnuts, and they always-adorned crumb part of the cake, this recipe was one we looked forward to every holiday. It provides the memory of family, warmth from the cool, snowy New York winters; and love of family and friends.
Baking has a creative, cathartic memory for me, a tradition that began far before my mother began working with my sisters + I on the kitchen counters with our noses covered in flour and fingers covered in batter. Working with my hands created a most gratifying result and you can then watch people enjoy your creations. I have began an annual holiday tradition combining my memories and host a cookies + champagne soiree for my very best girlfriends where I serve my Grandmothers brisket, my Mother’s bread dolls + baking delectable’s from my Great Nana Ida’s recipe book all created in her pink baking bowls. This serves as a great platform for me to embrace all my creative passions, carry old traditions while beginning new ones, flowers, entertaining + baking. Simple, creative pleasures are easy to find… you just need to be looking for them. These, to me, are the best simple creative pleasures I could ask for.
Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake Recipe
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs separated
3 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cup milk
Cream butter, gradually blending in sugar + eggs yolks. Beat until light + fluffy. Sift flour with baking powder; fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry + fold into batter.
Turn 1/3 of batter into greased + floured 9 inch tube pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of topping. Add another 1/3 of batter + topping. Add remaining batter, sprinkle with the remaining topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until cake tester tests it is done.
Makes 12 servings
*Cinnamon topping: Cinnamon, Brown Sugar + Chopped Walnuts
A bit more about Christina:
Born loving all things creative Christina naturally gravitated to flowers, fashion, interior design + baking. She would pick flowers from her mother’s many gardens until she began taking too many, and she was given her own garden to create and pick flowers from.
Christina embraces her creative passions at anora grey, a floral design company inspired by a passion for design + a love for flowers.
This company embraces creativity offering consultation and floral styling services on all things design, creative, event, wedding or styling related, working with Interior Designers, Brides, Interior Design and Shelter Magazines.
Christina believes no room is complete without the perfectly selected flowers. She tweets on all things flowers, creative + design at @anoragrey and enjoys blogging her work + inspirations at anoragrey.com.
Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.