Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fancy-hotel breakfast, at home

One of the most-read stories I wrote as a reporter in Spokane, Wash. had absolutely nothing to do with corruption or a love triangle or a grisly double homicide.

But it has everything to do with a family secret.

There was (and still is) this fancy hotel in Spokane called the Davenport. Throughout the early- to mid-20th Century it was the place to be and be seen at social events. But as the 1900s wore on, the Davenport fell into disrepair. By the time I moved to town in the late '90s, it was a boarded up old eyesore in the heart of downtown.

But then real-estate magnate Walt Worthy stepped in, bought the Davenport and restored it to its original glory. Now, it's really something to see. And when Worthy bought the hotel, he insisted that his family's coffee cake, a recipe handed down through the generations, would be served there.

People line up through the lobby for a slice of this thin, light and super-moist cake.

I was grateful to the Worthy family for sharing it. And now you don't have to make a trip half-way across the country to try a slice.

Davenport Hotel Coffee Cake
From the Davenport Hotel, Spokane, Wash.
Makes two cakes, each serving 6-8

1 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 9-inch round cake pans with foil.

In bowl of a standing mixer (or with a hand blender), cream together the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Blend in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt. The batter will be quite loose.

Divide the batter evenly between the two lined cake pans.

Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of the two cakes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Immediately lift cakes out of pans by pulling up the foil and let them cool completely on wire racks before carefully peeling back the foil. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


  1. Boy could I go for a slice right now with my first cup of coffee. Looks excellent and I loved hearing the story!

  2. Oooh - looks wonderful! Reminds me a bit of the coffee cake my grandmother used to make!

  3. I could eat this every morning...

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  5. Great looking dish! Make me hungry!

  6. Great stuff here. A happy holiday season to you and your readers!


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