Unplug and Bake French Coffee Cake

The other day I forgot my cellphone at home when I went out to supper with my parents. It felt so strange being disconnected from…everything. My mom also forgot her cell phone as did my dad, and we all felt kinda odd. Granted we were just out for dinner, but still I actually wondered what I would do if I had some free time on my hands without my phone. Heaven forbid I just sit back and relax! 😉

March 4-5 is National Day of Unplugging, that means no cell phone for as long as you can hold out. I know my family has a hard time getting off their phones even to enjoy dinner together. I think I’m going to implement a sort of cell phone tower strategy.

The idea is that everyone piles their cell phones on top of each other on the table and the first one to cave and grab their cell phone has to clear the table and do the dishes. I’ve heard of something similar when going out to dinner with friends and the one who grabs their cell has to pay the bill. Both of those consequences seem like enough motivation to disconnect from a cell phone and reconnect with loved ones.

While participating in National Day of Unplugging, I think I’ll do some baking. And why not use a recipe from a nearly technology free era? I dug through my great grandmother’s recipe box and came across her recipe for French Coffee Cake. This will be a great reward for my family at the end of our day of unplugging.

French Coffee Cake Recipe

I did a trial bake and it turned out delicious! Everyone is going to need a reward for unplugging and this delightful coffee cake is perfect.

For this French Coffee Cake recipe you will need:

Ingredients for French Coffee Cake Recipe

  • 1/3 cup of Butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup of Shortening
  • 2 cups of Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 cups of Flour
  • 3 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1-1/4 cups of Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar

You will also need 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of hot milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla for the icing to go on top.

The tools you need are:

  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • Bundt Pan
  • Spatula
  • Bowls
  • Sifter or Fine Mesh Colander
  • Toothpicks (to check for doneness)

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now let’s begin making the batter.

Creaming Together Butter, Shortening, and Sugar First you need to cream together the softened butter, shortening, and 1-1/2 cups of sugar. It should be nice and smooth with all the sugar thoroughly mixed in.

Next you need to add the egg yolks.

Adding in the Egg Yolks

Carefully separate the egg yolk from the whites and add them to the mix one at a time.

Over a bowl, I crack a egg and pass the yolk back and forth between the halves of eggshell to separate the yolk from the white. There is also a tool that you can use to do this, but once you get the hang of it using the eggshells is pretty easy.

Set the egg whites aside because you are going to need them later.

Now you need to get the flour mixture ready.

Sifting flour

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. You don’t have to sift the flour, but I think it gives the cake a softer texture which is really nice.

Mixing the French Coffee Cake Batter

Next add the flour mixture, milk, and vanilla to the creamed butter mixture and beat well.

Then it’s time to whip those egg whites into shape.

Beating egg whites

This part takes a little time. You need to beat the eggs whites until it is almost a mousse like texture.


Mixing in Egg Whites

Pour the whites into the batter and gently fold them in. Nice and fluffy! 😀

To give the french coffee cake a nice swirl or marbled effect as well as adding some sweetness into the mix, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon, cocoa, and brown sugar. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder in mine. Dark chocolate is my personal preference, but regular chocolate cocoa powder will work as well. Adding the swirl to the French Coffee Cake

Pour and stir the swirl mixture into the batter. Be careful not to over mix it just enough to get the swirl into the cake. Yum!

Buttering, Flouring, and Battering the Bundt Pan

Next grease and flour a large bundt pan. Then pour the batter into it. I rotated my bundt pan around so I could make sure the batter was as evenly distributed as possible.

Next pop it in the oven at 350 degrees and wait for it to bake. It usually takes about 50-55 minutes to bake, but I recommend you check for doneness near the end.

What would cake be without icing?

This french coffee cake is deliciously sweet already but a drizzle of icing is always a nice touch. Just whisk together powdered sugar, hot milk, and vanilla. Then use the whisk to drizzle it over the cake and voila!

Finished French Coffee Cake with Icing Drizzle

Delicious French Coffee Cake! This recipe has been taste tested by friends and family and given a delicious stamp of approval. I’ve already made it twice in one week. 😀

I think my family will really enjoy this sweet reward after what will probably be a frazzling National Day of Unplugging. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and we will be able to be outside for at least part of the day.

If you live somewhere warmer than Minnesota this time of year, I hope you are able to celebrate unplugging by enjoying your own backyard. If you want to add ambiance to your yard while still being unplugged check out Heartland America’s selection of solar lights.

Solar Lights from Heartland America
Tall Coach Style Solar Lights, Diver Lantern Solar Lights, Modern Stone Pillar Solar Lights, Color Changing Solar Lights, Flicker Candle Lantern Solar Lights

They make a great addition to any backyard and use the power of the sun so no cords or electricity is required which is good for the environment and your wallet.

I hope your family has fun unplugging and enjoying delicious french coffee cake. Please let me know about your great ideas for encouraging others to unplug and enjoy the real world.

Thank you so much for reading and remember you are always welcome at Home with Heartland.

French Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 bundt cake 40 minutes
Cook Time
50-55 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bundt cake 40 minutes
Cook Time
50-55 minutes
French Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 bundt cake 40 minutes
Cook Time
50-55 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bundt cake 40 minutes
Cook Time
50-55 minutes
Servings: bundt cake
Coffee Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Separate egg yolks from whites and add yolks in one at a time. (save egg white for later)
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture and milk to creamed butter/sugar.
  6. Beat well.
  7. Mix in vanilla.
  8. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.
  9. Combine swirl ingredients and lightly stir into batter.
  10. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan.
  11. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into cake.
  1. Combine confectioner's sugar, hot milk, and vanilla.
  2. Drizzle over coffee cake when cake has cooled.
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