Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Orange & Chocolate | Fair Trade Giveaway

loaf of coffee cake

It took 32 years for me to start listening to my mother. I’m only just beginning to understand how annoying this must have been, only just appreciating how many gray hairs I may have caused, only just accepting how many wrinkles I may have induced.

The other day I asked Ella (my four-year old) to help me pick up a mess she created, and she said: “Um, you can just do it all by yourself.” I’ve read enough self-help parenting books to know that freaking out is not the appropriate reaction to this response, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to strangle her.

I have it in for me. Every time Ella yells: “No Mom, I’m telling you a question!” I think of my poor mother and all the times she offered advice only to receive pushback.

Why was it so hard for me to just say, “Yes! Of course! That’s a great idea!” every time my mother told me to “Enunciate!” or to “Eat [my] greens!” or to “Put [my] shoulders back!”?

Why couldn’t I have just said, “You’re right,” when she told me the best chickens come from her kosher market, the best lamb from Australia?

Why couldn’t I have just smiled when she told me not to frown?

Because she is right. She is ALWAYS right.

And for this, I have started to listen: I now save all of my receipts. I keep a journal. I floss. I salvage the juices from that roasted kosher chicken, and I cook potatoes in those juices on subsequent nights. They are the best potatoes in the world.

And it seems her granddaughter is listening, too: Yesterday, Ella dropped a box of toothpicks all over the floor and asked for help picking it up because she was too tired to do it all by herself. As I knelt on the ground next to her, she looked at me and said, “Many hands make light work.” Yes they do, Ella. Yes they do. My mother would be so proud.

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This year, Mother’s Day and World Fair Trade Day fall during the same weekend, and the Fair Trade theme this year is: “Moms Make a World of Difference.” One of the founding principles of Fair Trade is Women’s empowerment. In addition to freedom from harassment, Fair Trade certification ensures that women have a voice, a vote, and a leadership role in the community. You can read a few inspiring stories here.

Many of you know what Fair Trade means, but to review:

• Fair Trade helps farmers (more than 1.2 million worldwide) in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.

• Products that bear the Fair Trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated.

• Fair Trade ensures that farmers follow internationally monitored environmental standards and also provides financial incentives and resources for organic conversion, reforestation, water conservation and environmental education.

• Fair Trade empowers women to play an active role in their families and in their co-ops by starting businesses with guaranteed access to health care, certain job rights and freedom from harassment.

• Fair Trade supports education with revenues set aside to build schools and maintain enrollment.

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A Giveaway:

UPDATE 6-11: Thank you all for sharing such words of wisdom from your mothers. I truly enjoyed reading every single comment, and maybe by next year, I will compile everything recorded here in one post. Anyway, the winner is Lindsay Frucci. I have emailed you.

Fair Trade is generously giving away a box of goodies to one of you. The Fair Trade treats include: BarkThins (addictive), Allegro Coffee (truly addictive), Guittard semi-sweet chocolate (love shaving this bar for chocolate chip cookies), Nutivia Virgin coconut oil (the best I’ve tasted — seriously so good), prAna Vanessa Scarf (so beautiful!), sweetriot chocolate (so yummy), Numi Organic Tea (love the chocolate rooibos), Frontier cinnamon (so fragrant), Choice Tea (love adding a spoonful of honey to my Moroccan Mint), India Tree Brown Muscovado Sugar (use as you would brown sugar), Honest Tea (perfectly sweet).

To enter the giveaway, please recount any advice (comical or otherwise) you cherish from your mother or any mother-like figure in your life.

Giveaway goodies. Please note that for this photo I substituted Fair Trade coffee/chocolate from my Co-Op for the Allegro Coffee and SweetRiot chocolate…I drank/ate those before snapping a picture:
Fair Trade Goodies

slice of orange coffee cake with chocolate

ingredients

You can make this with chocolate chips…:
Fair Trade goodies

guittard chocolate

…or chopped chocolate. This Guittard chocolate is delicious:
chopped chocolate

batter

unbaked loaf

just-baked coffee cake

slice of orange coffee cake with chocolate

Attention Pinners: In the spirit of Mother’s Day, Fair Trade invited food bloggers to bring a dish to a virtual brunch party on Pinterest. Vote for your favorite dish by repinning its photo between May 1st and May 11th. This Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Orange and Chocolate, inspired by a recipe from More from Macrina, is my contribution to the party.

FairTradeBrunch-LockUp Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Orange, Chocolate & Coconut Oil

Inspired by a recipe in More From Macrina
Yield = 1 to 2 loaves (see notes) or 1 bundt cake

Notes: The original recipe calls for an orange syrup, a chocolate glaze, almonds, butter, and a number of other ingredients/changes, so please check out the original if you are looking for the Macrina version.

I absolutely love this cake — the texture is super moist, and the orange zest and juice offer the nicest complement to the chocolate. The coconut oil, too, imparts such a nice flavor and smells heavenly while baking. I have now baked this three ways: 1.) In a bundt pan. 2.) In a single loaf pan (pictured here) 3.) And divided among two loaf pans. The original recipe calls for baking the cake in two loaf pans, and that’s probably the ideal. Cramming the batter into one pan (as pictured here) causes some issues during the baking — one, the batter almost spills out; two the cake takes a lot longer to bake and might still be underdone in the center, which I don’t mind, but which I know isn’t ideal. The reason I tried baking the batter in a single pan was because I find the two loaves to be on the small side, which is fine, but I just kind of like a bigger loaf. And I felt the same way about the bundt pan — it makes a pretty wimpy bundt cake in my opinion. I am dying to make a 1.5x batch of batter and divide it among two loaf pans or one bundt pan. I will report back as soon as I do.

1¾ (224 g) cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 (114 g) cup sugar
1/2 (116 g) cup light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed (or not) orange juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
a scant cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate from a bar

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325˚F. Grease two 4½-by-8-inch loaf pans or a bundt pan with coconut oil or butter and set aside. (I’ve had issues with sticking when using coconut oil, so I recommend butter or nonstick spray or whatever you are comfortable using.)

2. Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the orange zest with your fingers until evenly distributed. Set aside.

3. Whisk together the orange juice, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream in a separate medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

4. Whisk wet and dry ingredients together. Pour in melted coconut oil and stir to combine — it will seem as though the oil will never incorporate, but just keep going. It will. Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

5. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn them out onto a plate.

slice of orange coffee cake with chocolate

126 Comments

  1. This is my ideal of a coffee cake! I’m going to try the bundt and maybe up the quantity. Going to check out the Macrina glaze too. Sounds delish.

    Reply
  2. When I was about 12 my mom told me that no matter how tired I was that I had to put cream on my face every night. Years later I’m still looking pretty good and thanking her for that advice!

    Reply
  3. When I was a kid, I always lost control of eating too much of what I enjoyed until I was too full to move. She told me many times that if I eat less the amount that those food will taste double delicious than they were. She is right!

    Reply
  4. My favorite advice given to me was to not get bothered by those who make us feel bad. It’s a waste of our energy to think about them, just let it go and vow to never be like them!

    Reply
  5. Guitard is my go to chocolate for baking during the holidays. Nice to see the Fair Trade.

    My Grandmother is whom I accredit this tid bit of advise… Invest in high quality that will last a lifetime rather than have to purchase it over and over. Better for the environment and your pocketbook. I think this more true these days as we seem to be living in such a disposable world. What a smart bird she was.

    Reply
  6. “Buck it up! That’s life.” –My Dad.
    I was raised by my father so I couldn’t come up with anything mushy, ha! : D But I do recall this being his mantra and you know what? It’s true. You’ll always have things you don’t want do in life but if you buck it up and get it done, you’ll be glad you did.

    And for him having to take on both roles of parenting successfully, I think he followed his own advice pretty well, too. : )

    Thanks for the delicious treat! I can’t wait to try it out one day.

    Reply
  7. good motherly advice: if you give your kids enough love affection they won’t go looking for it elsewhere. (before the proper time, was the implication)

    Reply
  8. Since I don’t have my mom any more, her advice and wisdom are often what get me through difficult times. So many things to choose from…but one that is not only always spot-on, but always makes me smile is: “take a sweater.”

    Reply
  9. Lovely giveaway! I know my mom would love that scarf. :) Probably the funniest advice I have gotten from her is to always wear matching underwear in case you get in an accident and they have to cut off your clothes. :)

    Reply
  10. Any time I am in a bad/sad mood, my mom says to me, “Life. Be in it.” It always makes me laugh because I think to myself, “What tha world?!?!” But she is right. It is life. We must be in it. Moms are so cool that way :)

    Reply
  11. Always make the bed after getting up. Implying that if everything else is a mess, at least you have one neat spot :)

    Reply
  12. Your 4 year old sounds exactly like my 4 year old! :-) My Mama taught me not to be too critical of others, because no one is perfect (her serious advice) and instructed me to marry a rich husband (her not so serious advice). Of course, most of her advice fell on deaf ears, until I became a mother myself. Now things have come full circle!

    Reply
  13. The very first thing that came to my mind was: “If you cannot make a decision, then don’t make one. Move on to something else. The answer will come to you soon.”

    Also, my Mom and I agree that we like to “eat our sugar, not drink it” yummy!

    Reply
  14. One of my biggest lessons was being tolerant of others. My mom always says, “to each his own.” It helps me remember not to be judgmental of anyone since we don’t know their back story!

    Reply
  15. My mom taught me to have 3 colors on your plate when eating. It’s served me pretty well and makes me laugh when I see her advice touted in cooking magazines as a way to eat a healthy variety of foods!

    Reply
  16. My mother shoved thank you notecards in front of me, with a stamped, addressed envelope after each holiday and birthday. She also chided me when I procrastinated in returning phone calls. I now understand why both are more than just niceties (though I still struggle with returning phone calls sometimes!).

    Reply
  17. The stories about Ella are just too sweet :) Moms really are always right! And because I’m clearly becoming more and more like my mother every day, I’m so glad she’s an amazing lady :) Such a great post! Coconut, orange and chocolate?…. YES. I say, Mother’s Day Brunch here we come!

    Reply
  18. My mom always told me to carry at least $20 in cash, at least 50c in quarters, and a blank check in my wallet along with my normal credit/debit/ID cards in case I find a place that doesn’t take one form of payment. I still do, even though the quarters were for payphones which I never find anymore. I doubt I’ll ever stop!

    Reply
  19. Always take off your makeup every night! :)

    When I was young, my mom also told me not to make mean faces because then my face would freeze that way!

    Reply
  20. My grandmother always had a glass of tea and a pie at the ready, was always cooking the next meal, had readers digest condensed books by the bedside and let me sleep on the porch…you never know how much you will miss these things later in life…’busy hands are happy hands’. Happy Mother’s Day grandma! <3 I love u!

    Reply
  21. “Layer/Bundle up. Better to be too warm and able to take off a hat or sweater, than be too cold and have nothing to add.”

    Reply
  22. My Mama was a funny woman and I learned many things from her. Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. ♥

    Reply
  23. My mom taught me to bring a book with me everywhere I went to stave off boredom. Many a book have I finished in a doctor’s office!

    Reply
  24. Best advice or rather maxim from my mom is to write out all of the things you want to say to someone when you are angry at that person, and then to wait a couple of hours. If you’re angry, you’re allowed to pick half of what you would actually say to this person. Every time I’ve done this, I actually don’t end up saying anything I wrote to the person but make peace in a much kinder way

    Reply
  25. The bread looks delicious!

    Some good advice I received from a mother-like figure is to never speak ill of your boyfriend or husband to others, especially if they’ve never met. It does not reflect well on you, and leaves a sour impression in their mind of your significant other.

    Reply
  26. Mom always told me to wear a hat, but it’s only as an adult could I acknowledge that she was right – much warmer in winter and much cooler in the sun!

    Reply
  27. My mom always taught me to make more food than you think necessary when either hosting or bringing something to a party. No one will go hungry and you can always bless someone with leftovers!

    Reply
  28. My mom told us,”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. And she practiced what she preached.

    Reply
  29. These pictures look delicious! My mother always came to us and asked for forgiveness and it has taught me to do the same to other people I have wronged. Mothers, never doubt that your little ones are watching you. :)

    Reply
  30. A few minutes ago, my mother advised me to make this coffee cake for our book club tomorrow. That’s advice I’ll definitely follow. Though I suppose the best advice my mother ever gave me was not to buy something “unless it makes you do a little dance.” Her three daughters, myself included, have used this as a guide for many life choices, shopping-related and otherwise.

    Reply
  31. My grandmother told me to always read through the recipe first. Make sure you have all of the ingredients and that you have the time and knowledge to follow through with the recipe. It has helped! Although sometimes I have forgotten to take her advice and end up messing up a recipe!
    sellcrystal2 at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  32. My mother was a retailer and always prided herself with finding the best bargains. Her advice was to never purchase anything at full price; everything goes on sale eventually. I am my mother’s daughter–just went shopping with MY daughter and saved a bundle with coupons and a sale.

    Reply
  33. Try as I might, I can’t be like my mother who is just always happy and not things about the bad stuff. I try to attempt to carry it on though.

    Reply
  34. Besides be humble and when you think you have done enough you could always do more, my mom said to always clean as you go in the kitchen. I never realized how important it was until I went to Culinary School and now I am really organized in the kitchen at home and at work!

    Reply
  35. She taught me that when things go wrong in life to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on. It could always be worse.

    Reply
  36. my mother taught me that food is meant to be shared around the table with friends and family. she believes that the food and the experience are better when there is someone to share it with.

    Reply
  37. mmmmm….Yummy!

    My Mom liked to say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. (guess that didn’t apply to her criticisms lol)

    Thank you for hosting the giveaway!

    Reply
  38. My mom has always told me (and she still tells me!) that I need to pick my battles. Some things just aren’t worth stressing about, and it’s only going to make life stressful and use up energy that could go toward something awesome. :)

    Reply
  39. My mom didn’t give out too much advice, but she taught me not to be too terribly upset when we got lost…which is often when she drives.

    Reply
  40. Your mother was right Australia does have the best lamb.
    A question you have included the metric measurements (which I love) so are the tablespoon and cup measurements in metric? I know our teaspoon is the same but the others are different sizes.
    Love your blog.
    Carol.

    Reply
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  42. My beautiful mother taught me to give of myself. And give, and give, and give. And that new clothes are not important.

    Reply
  43. My mother is full of odd-bit advice. However, the best odd thing she taught me was to hold the blade of scissors rather than the handles when not using them to cut. This has saved me quite a few stabs and snips. Also, everything seems to be a “fire hazard” when growing up (even things that simply warm up.) So, I’ve become quite careful with anything that heats. Not counting all the wonderful life advice and positive energy she has given me. Thanks mom!

    Reply
  44. We were just talking about this the other day. My Mother always warned me not to stick my tongue on a doorknob, etc. when it was freezing outside! Of course, I had to learn this out the hard way when I was six or seven years old. LOL.

    Reply
  45. My mom has become one of my closest friends. I thought moving back home after college (since rent is unreasonably high in the city I work in) was going to be a drag. But, I’ve been living at home for almost two years now while I’ve been working and I never thought it would be so good for our relationship. My dad worked for NASA when I was a kid. Growing up I thought only people who were good at math and science (aka my sisters and my dad) were smart.

    Over the years, I’ve learned that my mom is probably the smartest of us all. She’s given me countless pieces of advice – but perhaps the one I remember and cherish the most is “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” Which I know is a cliche piece of advice, except when it’s actually said about a spilled gallon of milk that’s pouring out of the entry way and down the front steps of our house – like a lactose waterfall. Which may have accidentally been my fault when after grocery shopping I thought my mom was closer behind me and accidentally bumped her with our door. She dropped the milk and it rushed down the steps. I was horrified at first – fearing that I’d hurt her and how mad my dad would be. But, then she started to laugh at the sight of the milk waterfall and our golden retriever who was feverishly lapping it up. We cleaned up the mess, washed off the front steps, bought a replacement gallon of milk and she said we didn’t have to tell my dad. We ended up telling him years later – but that was when I learned that she always has my back – and that sometimes it’s just not worth crying over spilled milk.

    Reply
  46. My parents were always hosting when we were growing up – extended family, friends, baby showers, post-funeral meals, birthdays. My mom taught me how to be a gracious host, to always have enough food and how to prep like the dickens so you could look relax during the event.

    Reply
  47. everyone new years day mom said to us “study hard. eat well so you can study hard”. she’s a Korean tiger mom.

    Reply
  48. My Mom also said that helping others is never a wast of time. I guess she was an early believer that karma is a bitch.

    Reply
  49. My mother always told me to stand up straight.
    She also always said when using raw egg white always rinse and pat dry the egg first. My mother also told us kids to always respect grown ups even if we didn’t agree with what they had to say.

    Reply
  50. My mom always told me to “say your prayers” she knew how much a personal relationship with God would help me throughout my life =)

    Reply
  51. My mother always advised to ‘Bloom where you’re planted’. This has been wonderful advice as I have moved several times in the last five years. It’s easy to get caught up in the things you don’t like about a new town or be sad about the friends you are leaving, but the real challenge is to start over again beautifully each time.

    Reply
  52. My Mom’s advice—pretty is and pretty does and if the shoe fits, wear it.
    Oh yeah—-lots of advice about clean bra straps. Writing this made me laugh.
    Thank you. I am a HUGE proponent of Fair Trade. Yahoo for you for giving it some ‘air’ time. The coffee cake by the way looks divine. I love the mix of ingredients and flavors.

    Reply
  53. So many of my mom’ wisest words related to the kitchen and cooking! Roll a lemon before slicing to make it juicier, don’t be fooled by the ultra skinny asparagus, go for the uniformly thicker stalks, how to slice onions, etc. But the best: taste, taste, taste throughout the cooking process!

    Reply
  54. My mother put a very strong emphasis on labeling things correctly. Especially when I kept loosing my water bottles at school. And, also keeping copies of important documents, because you may never know when you need them. Both proved very useful in life.

    Reply
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  56. My Mom often said, “Don’t try to put 20lbs in a 10lb sack!” — Whenever I was trying to do way too much in a short amount of time, especially back in high school and college. I think she got it from her mom. :) She doesn’t remind me of this quite as often now, but I still remember it as a valid point that I would probably do well to follow. :)

    Reply
  57. My mother always said “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. I can’t say that I’m as good about this as she was, but I am inspired by the example she set. She was an amazing woman who raised 6 children, worked in an office M-F, and still managed to make a home-cooked dinner every day. I still don’t know how she did it.

    Reply
  58. My mom always carried sea salt in her purse, which I thought was crazy, but now I do the same thing. Tiny Maldon tins are a lifesaver.

    Reply
  59. When I got married, my mother advised me not to eat crackers in bed…she said it does not make for a comfortable night’s sleep.

    Reply
  60. My mom always told us to help out any elderly people and to respect them. I think it’s an awesome advice.

    Reply
  61. I’m not sure if your giveaway is open to Canadians (just in case: always make space in your life for something you enjoy), but that recipe looks amazing!

    Reply
  62. Photos that old friends have posted of me on Facebook from high school has confirmed that my mother was right, I looked much better when I wasn’t wearing baggy Tshirts with pictures of waterfalls and fairies on them in my Grateful Dead phase.

    Reply
  63. My mother and I have different ideas of the best advice she has given me over the years. According to her, our grandfather neglected to pass down these critical messages to her: “get your wisdom teeth removed” and “buy real estate” while you’re young. However, the best advice she has ever given me is “you can only control your own happiness, and no one else’s.” These wise words have helped me more than she knows. I love my mom!

    Reply
  64. My mom enjoys weighing in on many subjects, but I think most of all, she wishes I’d wear lipstick more often.

    Reply
  65. both the cake and the goodie bag look delicious.
    some of the best advice i got from my mom and ignored for a long time was to not pay attention to what other people thought about me. there was also a lot of “drink your milk”, “wear your hair down”, “don’t be so negative”… you really do appreciate your own mother so much more when you become a mother yourself!
    happy mother’s day to you and to your mom who i adore!

    Reply
  66. I just made this in a 9×5 inch loaf pan and it’s perfect! I cooked it for 60 minutes because I was afraid the center wasn’t cooked through and it’s a tiny bit overdone on the edges. I think next time I would throw caution to the wind and take it out at 55 minutes.

    My mother died when I was 21 and sadly there is little from her life that I would want for my own. But I’m now a mother of 3 grown kids and a new grand-baby and my advice to them (learned from many years of experiences) is to be grateful. Learning to acknowledge the good things in my life – however small and seemingly incidental – has gotten me through some pretty tough times and made the good times even better.

    Reply
  67. Mom handed out lots of advice, I promptly ignored most of it. But most the most helpful… Happiness is a choice. Second only to Never be dependent on a man, be able to take care of yourself so you always have options.

    Reply
  68. My mom always said, “Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.” I chuckle about that when I hear someone say there are no stupid questions. Let’s face it, sometimes there are. :-)

    Reply
  69. “Crying can be good exercise for them.”

    When my oldest daughter was a baby she had colic – for six months. Six. Months. Around month two I was about to break when she advised me to not fret over her crying so much because “crying is good exercise for her lungs. You should go sit on the stoop for a few minutes while she is in her crib safely exercising.”

    I am so glad I listened to her. I don’t know how I would have ever made it through those extremely challenging months of near-constant screaming had I not allowed myself to be ok with let her go for a few minutes. When I returned, I was much more able to soothe & comfort her than before I left. It was my first lesson on how necessary it is for mommas (& caregivers of all stripes!) to get rest.

    Reply
  70. Although my Mom passed away when I was 18 years of age, she had a profound influence on how I live my life everyday. She taught me to be truthful and loyal; two qualities she embodied.

    Reply
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  72. My mom allows me to be myself. Of course she offers her advice, but in the end she is always proud of my choices and who I have become.

    Reply
  73. She taught me not to sweat the small stuff during high school when everything seemed so urgent and upsetting. I remember her tip today.

    Reply
  74. My mother implicitly provides advice just by living her life in an organized, productive, thoughtful, kind, and generous way. But when asked, she gave me this advice: “Drink champagne!”

    Reply
  75. I love your post, it is so true.
    And this cake is wonderful. I just reduced the amount of sugar and put less coconut oil (1/2 cup), because my sour cream was really fat (my uncle brought me one from his neighbour’s farm :) ). Very nice cake, my kids loved it (and so do I).

    Reply

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