Cinnamon Coffee Cake – Inspired by “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”


How to Succeed… (H2$) premiered on Broadway in 1961. It tells the story of J. Pierrepoint Finch, and young window washer at World Wide Wickets who follows the advice of a book to work his way up the corporate ladder to the executive offices in a short time. Along the way, he falls in love with Rosemary, a secretary in the office. The show is hilarious, though some may view it as somewhat problematic today for it’s views of women and gender roles and relations within an office environment. But in it’s time, it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama – an honor few musicals have received.

My experience with the show

I have never performed in a production of H2$. However, the show will always be special to me. I saw Schenectady Light Opera’s production in 2017, and little did I know from the audience, but that’s when I first saw the man I was going to marry. My now fiance was in the ensemble. I had gone to support many friends in the show, including his sister who was playing Rosemary. And though we wouldn’t meet that night, and wouldn’t start dating for almost a year after that, I do remember seeing him onstage and thinking he was kind of cute.

The Inspiration

Part way through Act 1, there is a number called “Coffee Break” which includes the line “If I can’t take my coffee break, something within me dies.” The employees at World Wide Wickets sing about their desperate need for the cardboard tasting caffeinated beverage served at the office. I am not a coffee drinker, and can’t stand the taste of it (though I do love the aroma), so I wasn’t going to make a coffee flavored treat. But when SLOC did it’s production, I volunteered with the opening night party committee and we served coffee cake as dessert for the event – and an idea was born.

I’ve taken the aspects of traditional cinnamon coffee cakes, and switched things up in my own little ways. I’m not a sweets at breakfast or brunch person, but if there’s a strong cinnamon flavor, I may just be swayed. So I’ve bumped up the cinnamon flavor in this coffee cake, and played with the presentation to make a really pretty slice when served. I hope you enjoy it.

The Recipe

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Grease an angel food cake pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon (for the cake portion), and kosher salt together and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, white sugar, and dark brown sugar (for the cake portion). Once combined, mix in the oil.

4. Add the eggs one at a time. Once fully incorporated, add in the vanilla.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture along with the Greek yogurt, alternating the two beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

6. Stir together the dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and white sugar for the filling. Then divide in half into 2 separate bowls.

7. Add the 6 Tbs. of melted butter to one half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. This will become the filling. The remaining cinnamon sugar mixture will become the topping.

8. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the greased angel food cake pan. Add in 1/2 of the filling by dropping spoonfuls around the pan. Take a knife or chopstick and swirl the filling into the batter leaving no clumps of the filling. Repeat. Top with the final 1/3 of the batter and swirl gently.

9. Pour the topping mixture over the batter to cover it completely.

10. Bake for 60 minutes. Check cake with a toothpick – and remove from oven when the toothpick comes out clean.

11. Let cook on a wire rack in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Remove from shell of pan (leaving the cake still on the bottom and middle portion) and allow to cool completely.

12. Once completely cooled, remove cake from the remaining part of the pan and transfer to cake pedestal or desired serving dish (If the cake won’t release or it’s too difficult to handle the removal, you an always serve the cake still on the remaining part of the pan).

13. Mix all ingredients for the drizzle together. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake any way your heart desires.

14. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Serves 12. 570 calories a slice (If you cut the slices smaller, you can serve more and save calories).


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