Potluck: Cinnamon coffee cake, made with spelt

  • Raw spelt. Katy van Geel

  • Spelt coffee cake. Nina M. Scott

Published: 2/16/2018 10:02:11 AM

Now it was my turn (Nina, Amherst) to finish up our Five College Learning in Retirement course on Ancient Grains with spelt, another form of wheat, which has been cultivated for over 9,000 years.

In Germany, spelt was much appreciated by St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), who was very interested in diet and nutrition and counseled that eating a warm porridge of spelt, honey, grated apple and almonds every morning would keep your body and brain healthy. She was living proof: She reached 81, an astounding age in the 12th century.

I bought spelt berries and two kinds of spelt flour: light and dark. We had Hildegard’s porridge using spelt flakes, and a salad with whole spelt, oranges, dried cranberries and feta. I made our family’s beef-vegetable soup with cooked spelt berries instead of my usual barley (I preferred barley). As I am a bread baker, I made baguettes and a cinnamon coffee cake using dark spelt flour. Both had a nutty flavor, a chewy texture and kept extremely well. The seminar favorite was the coffee cake (a King Arthur Flour recipe, printed with their permission):

Cinnamon Coffee Cake



6 tablespoons softened butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional

1 1/2 cups spelt flour

1/2 cup milk


Streusel topping:

1/2 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, at firm room temperature



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8”-square or 9”-round cake pan. 

Beat butter and sugar together. 

Beat in the eggs one by one. 

Whisk baking powder, salt, and spices into the flour. Stir half the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs to combine. Stir in the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture, stirring to combine. 

To make the topping: Gently combine all of the topping ingredients until crumbly. 

Pour batter into the pan. Sprinkle topping over the cake. Use a table knife or spatula to briefly swirl it into the batter. 

Bake the coffeecake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven; allow it to cool before cutting. 




Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy