My Mother-in-Law’s Coffee Cake

chicken cake

This recipe is what my mother-in-law calls a 4-4-4-2 cake.  That’s because it consists of 4 ounces of flour, 4 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of butter, and 2 eggs.  When she attended the Domestic Science College in Aberdeen (or what she refers to as Do School) this was the ratio she learned for a basic sponge.  So the next time you hear someone complain about math and how none of what they learned in class is applicable to life . . . just ask them if they like cake.  If they say yes, point out that ratios are responsible for making that deliciousness happen.


Ingredients for the cake:

4 oz. all purpose flour

4 oz. caster sugar

4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 level tsp baking powder

2 eggs

4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water



Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Grease, flour, and line 2 8″ cake tins.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Mix in the coffee mixture then add the eggs one at a time.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl then gradually add this to the mix.

Divide the batter between the pans.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.



Ingredients for the coffee icing:

6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

3 to 5 oz. powdered sugar

4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water



Beat the butter with half the powdered sugar to start.

Mix in half the coffee mixture to taste.  Add more if you like it stronger.

Same with the sugar.


To assemble the cake:

Put the first layer of sponge on a plate.  Spread it evenly with icing.  Top this with the second layer of sponge.  Ice that and decorate as you wish.


*Feel free to use strong coffee in lieu of instant coffee.  Stove top espresso is my preference, but I have written the recipe as my mother-in-law makes it.




4 thoughts on “My Mother-in-Law’s Coffee Cake

  1. I couldn’t wait to see this coffee cake and got quite a chuckle when I saw it was part cake, part roost. It sounds like a great cake and love the coffee icing. The recipe is easy enough that I think even I might be able to prepare it. Well, hope springs eternal.

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