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Jan 19, 2008 07:33 AM

LAUSD Coffee Cake [split from LA]

[Note: this post was split from the LA board at: -- The Chowhound Team].

Memories! Yes, the coffee cake from LAUSD schools is the best, though truth be old, it's been many years since high school. Here's the recipe from the LAUSD Food Services site. It's the only recipe posted so I suspect there are many Angelenos out there who hold this coffee cake in high regard:


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  1. I love you Suebee!
    I haven't thought about the coffee cake in...30 years!
    I loved the coffee cake at school...even the chocolate cakes and brownies!
    I can't wait to make some.
    Thanks so much!

    3 Replies
    1. re: tatertotsrock

      School coffee cakes are now made from a pre-prepared mix. Schools don't actually do any cooking from scratch anymore. The original recipe is much better than what is now served, I make it fairly frequently for my family.

      1. re: Saucey

        Good Morning Saucey,
        If you can find the good ol' skool brownie and choclate cake recipe too, I'd love it!!
        I can't wait to make the coffee cake!!!

        1. re: Saucey

          Which recipe do you use from this site, I see 3 different coffe cake recipes? I do know that the topping was crumbled sugar, brown sugar and cinammon, I do not remember any peanuts, walnuts, nuts at all inside the cake or on top. Please email me the original recipe or which ever one is close to the coffee cake we use to eat back in the early 80"s. When I lived in Los Angeles in which I grew up there, this lady use to make the coffee cakes for me and I take them to work. But she became older and weaker not being able to make them any longer. I live now in Arizona and you know they don't have no O.G. coofee cake with the crumbled top.

          Please reply

      2. My heart still belongs to those yeasty cinnamon nutrition rolls with the white icing!

        1. That may be a new recipe, I can not imagine them using oil back then. Butter was the fat of choice.
          Here is the recipe from the LA Times, years ago.

          Los Angeles Unified School District
          Coffee Cake
          1/2 cup butter (1 Stick) 4 oz room temperature
          1/2 cup all purpose flour
          1 1/2 cup cake flour
          1 tsp baking powder
          1 tsp baking soda
          1 cup sugar
          1 egg slightly beaten
          1 tsp vanilla
          1 cup sour cream

          Heat oven to 350

          Butter & flour a 9x9 pan
          Mix flours and baking soda & baking powder in bowl, set aside
          Beat Butter & sugar until light & fluffy, add the egg, and vanilla & mix well.
          Add half the flour mixture, mixing until flour is blended.
          Blend in the sour cream, then the remaining flour misture.
          Spread half the carefully in the pan, sprinkle with half the topping and spread with the reamaining batter. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining topping.
          Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.


          1/4 cup flour
          3/4 cup brown sugar
          1/4 tsp salt
          1 cup chopped walnuts
          1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) 2oz

          Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts. Add the butter in small pieces. Rub the butter in by hand until the mixture is crumbly. Be careful not to over mix!

          13 Replies
          1. re: Burger Boy

            I don't think this is it. The school coffee cake had a definite nutmeg flavor. I have made the OPs recipe many times and it is spot on. Only problem is that it is a huge recipe so I always halve it.

            1. re: Saucey

              That was from the Times years ago, from culinary SOS section. Go Figure.

              1. re: Saucey

                saucey can you post that recipe since I can't see it? thanks

                1. re: Saucey

                  Saucey, I have been looking for this recipe FOREVER! I used to work in the kitchen at South Gate High and always had the coffee cake. Can you please email me the OPS recipe?
         Thanks a BUNCH!

                  1. re: Saucey

                    can you post the OPS recipe..I can't see it either :(

                    1. re: COGIRL

                      Here's the OP's link in the Wayback Machine - ( It works:


                  2. re: Burger Boy

                    I remember the LA Times printing a sour cream coffee cake that they attributed to LAUSD, but they also printed a long long time ago something called Los Angeles City Schools Old-Fashioned Crumb Cake. It's different from the OPs recipe.

                    I did a search on LA Times & it didn't come up (my clipping is pretty old), so I'm going to assume that we won't run into recipe copyright issues here:

                    2 1/2 cups flour
                    1 cup brown sugar, packed
                    1 cup granulated sugar
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1 teaspoon nutmeg
                    3/4 C oil
                    2 teaspoons cinnamon
                    1 teaspoon baking soda
                    1 egg
                    1 cup buttermilk

                    Combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, nutmeg and oil. Remove 1/2 cup of mixture from bowl, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside for topping.

                    Combine remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, egg and buttermilk and blend well. Add to flour mixture. Do not over-mix.

                    Spoon batter into greased 13x9 baking pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup reserved topping. Bake at 375 degrees 30 to 40 minutes.

                    I've made this recipe countless number of times over the years, and have always gotten rave reviews. I tend to double the topping to 1 cup & 2 tsp of cinnamon & it doesn't seem to affect the cake part of it. I would also say that in a 13x9 pan, it seems a little thinner than the coffee cake I used to buy from my high school, so I'd do this in a 9x9 pan instead. It's a tad easier than the other recipes here (no nuts, no dry milk, no sour cream, no cake flour, etc). The most 'exotic' ingredient is buttermilk, which sometimes I replace with 1 cup of milk + 1 tbl. vinegar without a big change in taste.

                    1. re: empfam

                      Im wondering if the sour cream/buttermilk makes a different in the cake? I made your recipe and found that the cake was darker then what I remembered?

                      1. re: manupopo

                        the cake I'm remembering is very light pale white like maybe in between the color of classic white cake and yellow or butter cake

                      2. re: empfam

                        This is it, this is it, this is it! I have thought of this coffee cake MANY times over the last few years, but always went about searching for it using my Jr. High School's name. Never even occurred to me that it might be a district-wide recipe. I've just made it and my kitchen smells heavenly - I am soo happy! Will definitely, however, use a smaller pan next time (I was so excited to make the thing that I didn't read that far...) - it is thinner than expected. Have posted on FB and tagged all my Jr High school friends... from the late 70's early 80's. Thank you! You've made many people very happy!

                      3. re: Burger Boy

                        This recipe is very similar( minus the topping) to my mom's sour cream coffee cake recipe. In her recipe, the soda is mixed with the sourcream( it gets bubbly). Dont know if that makes a difference.

                        1. re: Burger Boy

                          I don't remember nuts in there either though. it could have contained them, but maybe very tiny pieces so as not to notice too much.........

                        2. It was the best coffee cake. I also remember a peanut butter roll that I'd like to get the recipe for.

                          1. You got coffee cake in school???

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Missyme

                              Not in elementary. In middle and high school in Los Angeles we could buy coffee cake, the incredible sweet rolls mentioned above, and does anyone remember the french bread with melted butter? I loved that bread!

                              1. re: Saucey

                                How cute that someone (actually multiple someones) liked the coffee cake enough to not only remember it and then go out of their way to recreate it!

                                As for oil vs. butter -- I find it hard to believe that LAUSD would have sprung for butter. Rumor was at my school that the meat of choice was horse. Of course, I was a student when there was no money for pencils or tissues, just for metal detectors.

                                I did like the chocolate chip cookies (which went from 25c to 35c to 50c each, in successive years) but what hot chocolate chip cookie isn't good. I also suspect it was all pre-made and just reheated. My school was mostly about some outsourced pizza on Wednesdays and a bunch of vending machines with soda and candies, not to mention the candy we were required to sell. Suffice it to say that I always brought my own food.

                                1. re: Saucey

                                  Palms Jr. High in the 60's.

                                  I loved that French bread! That and the cinnamon rolls.

                                  I'm looking for the chocolate flying saucer cookies and the Ranger Cookies of elementary school.

                                    1. re: mar52

                                      OH MY GOSH>...............
                                      did we all go to the same school? that's crazy those flying saucer cookies, they were de bom...................

                                    2. re: Saucey

                                      ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo that's what it was..........
                                      I thought I was remembering it as an English muffin with melted white cheese but now that you say that, oh my gosh, that's it! thank you for reminding me...................sooooooooooooooo good

                                    3. re: Missyme

                                      I got it in all 3 of my adventures as a young person, the tyical 3 levels of school, such good memories [of taking a quarter out of moms purse]......................