On most days, my email is filled with spam, sales offers and other notices that generally are not very interesting. What a special day it was when I opened my email to discover an invitation to a very special cookbook signing.
You know the feeling when you get that special invite and your heart sings … score! I instantly began checking the calendar and counting the days until the event.
What caused all this excitement? Years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who fondly goes by “Q.” Q is the ideal picture of a perfect southern gentleman. I don’t recall ever seeing Q when he didn’t have on a suit and tie, no matter the occasion.
He comes from a time and era that I cherish. My friend Q is 95 years old and filled with more life and zest than many much younger. I have been friends with his daughter Nancy for years.
Let me describe Nancy a bit … the perfect hostess, cook and entertainer. Nancy has that extraordinary knack of always making you feel welcome and special when you enter her home. My recipe box has many recipes marked with Nancy’s name. She is a special lady indeed, so it is no surprise that her mom and dad — Q and Jennie — have those same qualities.
Nancy gathered up all of Q’s favorite recipes and took gorgeous photos of the baked goods and compiled them into a cookbook titled, “Q’s Favorite Recipes.” The day finally arrived and I was one of the first at the cookbook signing.
I cherished the time that I had to talk with Q, learn about his life and his love of baking. Q told me that he remembered baking from a young age. He grew up on a fruit farm in Kentucky, about 30 miles from Louisville. He recounted that on the days that his mother went to Louisville to grocery shop, he would immediately begin baking cookies.
Fast forward several years to the time in Q’s life when he retired. He began baking with a vengeance and became popular at many social functions. Q is always sharing his baked goods with friends and family.
Sadly, after 70 years of marriage, his beloved wife Jennie passed away last year. While he misses her greatly, his baking legacy continues. The workers and folks at his retirement community reap the benefits of his hard work. I was treated to a beautiful sampling of his baked goods at the book signing. Each and every morsel was moist, delicious and filled with the taste of warmth and love.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add another tidbit about my friends Q and Nancy. You may know or have heard of another member of this family. Patrick Ryan, famous chef and owner of Kansas City’s Port Fonda is Nancy’s son and of course, Q’s grandson. Patrick told me he has many fond memories of going to his grandparents house as a small boy and participating in preparing, serving and enjoying great food.
It is with a great deal of pride and pleasure that I share with you Quinton Wright’s recipe for Rich Coffee Cake. This was one of the best coffee cakes I have ever enjoyed.Rich Coffee Cake
Batter:1 cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sour cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Topping:1 cup pecans chopped 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Glaze:1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup butter, cubed
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 2 cups of sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine sour cream and vanilla; add to creamed mixture alternately with dry ingredients.
Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle 2 tablespoons into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. For glaze, in a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Spoon half the batter (3 cups) over the topping; sprinkle with half the remaining topping (1/2 cup). Drizzle with half the glaze (3/8 cup). Top with remaining batter; sprinkle with remaining topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack.
Warm remaining glaze; drizzle over coffee cake. Serve warm if desired.
Q credits this recipe as one he earmarked and adapted from Taste of Home magazine.
Roxanne Wyss is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining. She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. She blogs at pluggedintocooking.com