Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

If you live in or near the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District, you’re bound to meet someone who has fond memories of their famous coffee cake, either from their own childhood or as an employee. Once the mention of this coffee cake enters the room, you’ll spend a good five to ten minutes reminiscing about how much you looked forward to coffee cake days. You’ll bemoan the loss of the original version which was less healthy and more sweet, so…better. Then you might even delve into the milk or no milk argument. (Some coffee cake connoisseurs stab their cake square with their spork and then pour milk over it for a tres leches type confection.)

Two weeks ago someone in our bike group started just such a conversation and after hearing the nostalgic sighs, I knew I had to bring my homemade version the next week for them. I packed up individual portions and put them in a big container and stashed them in my backpack. At our halfway stop point, I pulled out the surprise packets of foil. Those who were already familiar were delighted and those who weren’t were slightly dubious. But once everyone had a first bite, everyone agreed that the LAUSD coffee cake deserved its place of honor in our collective memories.

Instagram post after our bike ride

Because I’m such a good partner, I also ended up making a batch for my husband’s school staff. He likes to bring treats every Friday. Before 9:30 am that Friday I received a text that the tray was empty and people were asking for the recipe. Of course, I’ll never share, but if you start to reminisce about it or just ask when I’m around, you’re likely going to get a treat. (Psst…don’t tell anyone you can find a version or two online.)

New batch for Friday treats
  1. Food, the great equalizer, in the sense that we all need it basically even though I acknowledge that everyone doesn’t have equal access to it, is a story-rich buffet as you just proved. Love your honesty in the words,”You’ll bemoan the loss of the original version which was less healthy and more sweet, so…better.” Oh, our nostalgia about food knows no bounds. This sounds like ideal crumb cake that we found near our place in New Jersey, and the sadness when the bakers retired. Thanks for sharing in every way, with biking friends and your husband’s, too.

  2. Vivian, for me it is baking cookies. I found my Nonnie’s recipes scribed by my aunt. The secret ingredient was lard but who wants to go down that road? Your secret recipe is probably not from a depression era but I am sure it is delicious as evidenced by the Instagram remark. Yum!

  3. Sally says:

    I’m not really a big coffee cake fan but after reading this, I wish I was in your bike group or worked at your husband’s school!

  4. Lainie Levin says:

    This takes me back! When I was working in VA and MI, I can’t for the life of me remember food actually being served at staff or committee meetings.
    But my former and current districts all have their prescribed snacks. My old job had a set menu of cheesy popcorn and M&M’s, until the M&M’s were phased out (with great controversy!) by chocolate covered almonds. And my current district relies on Hershey’s minis, bagged chips and Jolly Ranchers.
    And…how much do I LOVE that you took the time to treat colleagues to a well-deserved, nostalgic treat? Yes! You are amazing. =))



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