September 25, 2023

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Did you love LAUSD’s coffee cake? You’re not alone, here is the recipe

Did you love LAUSD’s coffee cake? You’re not alone, here is the recipe

These days we stroll down memory lane on Higher LA. The journey starts off with a truly yummy piece of coffee cake that reporter Danielle Chiriguayo brought into our business office. She tells her tale beneath.


If you grew up in the LA Unified College District, you and I may have some thing in widespread: an appreciation for the LAUSD espresso cake.

I could not quit imagining about it after just lately strolling down memory lane.

See the initial 1954 LAUSD coffee cake recipe in this article.

So I did a social media search and realized I wasn’t alone:

I resolved to keep track of down some kindred spirits — from Apple Valley to Marina Del Rey.

I fulfilled Evelen Guirguis, the cafeteria manager at Marina Del Rey Center School. Kids know her as the “coffee cake lady” or “Evelen Coffee Cake.”

She walked me by means of the baking process, and educated me that the cafeteria at Marina Del Rey is amongst the few that nevertheless bake espresso cake from scratch.

Or as “scratch” as doable. The vast majority of the blend now comes in pre-packaged bags to streamline the baking course of action.

Today’s coffee cake is created from a pre-packaged combine. Credit: Danielle Chiriguayo

Rewriting the recipe for 2020

The earliest documented recipe is from 1954, in accordance to LAUSD nutritionist Ivy Marx.

“Over 60 several years ago, we weren’t anxious — not so significantly — about weight problems, higher blood stress … and the nourishment specifications weren’t extremely rigid,” Marx reported.

With the first recipe, every single slice experienced some 600 energy, 20 grams of unwanted fat, and 10-12 teaspoons of sugar.

With today’s recipe, one particular serving consists of about a portion of the primary calories, 5 grams of excess fat, and 2.5 teaspoons of sugar. It is made with complete grain flour.

Over the a long time, balanced-consuming initiatives have altered what food items are served at LAUSD colleges. But the coffee cake nonetheless reigns supreme. On days when it’s served, more college students get in cafeteria traces throughout the region, in accordance to LAUSD metrics.

Like by using espresso cake

For the duration of my on the web deep dive, I came throughout a Facebook web page called Mrs Looneys LAUSD Coffee Cake.

It’s operate, in component, by East LA native Eliseo Montoya. But he was not an LAUSD kid rising up. He went to a neighborhood Catholic university.

And still, the espresso cake was a mainstay through his childhood.
Some days expanding up, his mom would send him across the road to Belvedere Junior Significant to purchase slices of the cake. It’d be a deal with for the family.

About 10 decades ago, as Montoya discussed, he was at a crossroads. He felt nostalgic for his faculty boy days. So he went on Fb to search for his junior substantial flame, Sonia Fregoso. He was neighbors with her, and they noticed every other every day.

“I observed her going for walks, a massive old smile and anything, and [she] just caught my eye. And we flirted and she picked up on me. She [was] flirting with me and winked at me. And I was just an harmless Catholic faculty boy,“ Montoya explained.

As they began to reconnect, he discovered that Fregoso built LAUSD espresso cake.

“She would just do it listed here and there for her and the children. So I [would] taste [it], and I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” Montoya explained.

As time handed, Montoya and Fregoso finished up back again together. They even got married.

But they ran into money problems, could not discover work, and had been going through eviction. Montoya gathered cans on the streets. Some times, he manufactured $20. It wasn’t a good deal, but it was more than enough to buy a few burgers for his household.

Then a spouse and children mate of theirs experienced an concept. Why not promote the espresso cake?

“So I went on Fb and took a picture of the coffee cake. And we had a good sale. We did not make a killing, but we had been able to eat and aid pay out hire and continue to keep our head higher than h2o. We did that for a couple of months. And just to the graciousness of our mates and their pals … it was a life-saving second for us,” Montoya recounted.

Currently, the Montoyas are out of the fiscal purple zone. They do the bake gross sales if they have to have a minor added money, or when there’s a specific celebration or holiday.

For Montoya, the coffee cake is far more than a heat memory. “Everything that I’ve expert with this espresso cake has been appreciate. It was adore that [Sonia] created it, and she would make it for her kids. It was adore that my mom would say, ‘Hey, you know, I want to give you men a address, go across the street and go get so a lot of slices of espresso cake and bring it back.’ It was love that my buddy suggested that we provide it and helped us to get it began,” Montoya stated.

The first 1954 LAUSD coffee cake recipe:

  • Bakers’ flour – 2 ½ cups
  • Brown sugar, packed – 1 cup
  • Granulated sugar – ½ cup + 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp.
  • Nutmeg – 1 tsp.
  • Salad oil – ¾ cup
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp.
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp.
  • Egg – 1 (significant measurement)
  • Buttermilk – 1 cup

Combine the to start with 6 ingredients. Combine until crumbly. Reserve ½ cup of the previously mentioned for topping. Include the cinnamon. Incorporate the very last 4 elements and include to the initial mixture. Blend jointly, but do not over-combine. 

Place in a greased 9” x 13” cake pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon crumb topping around the top of the batter. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Published by Danielle Chiriguayo