Food for Thought: Easter Cakes

Food for Thought

By Jean Hecker

A Columnist for the Newspaper

Our columnist shares Easter memories, and a recipe her mom would have loved.
My mom was a great one for always buying us kids special little mementos for every holiday! She just loved to buy us stuff for our “Hope Chests” and my favorite treasures are the ones that we got for Easter. Every year I take out the big box of goodies and distribute the decorations throughout the house. I have a special place for each item—the sterling silver Easter Egg goes on my kitchen table in a little vignette of  assorted  porcelain chicks and bunnies, and my collection of Anna Lee dolls take up their yearly residence on my fireplace mantel. These “dolls” are  bunnies and chicks made of a high-quality felt and hand-painted with quaint features. They are made exclusively by a company in New Hampshire and I was happy to see them once again for sale in the local stores.  Boscovs and Marshalls have a small supply and they really are adorable!
Call me a big baby, but these little things make me happy. Being surrounded by these seasonal decorations not only heralds the coming of Spring but reminds me of the wonderful mom I had and how much she loved us!
Mom would also do her special baking for the Easter holiday and we would just gobble up her Babkas and Easter Bread and especially her cinnamon crumb cake. All were great for an afternoon snack or breakfast. I know that Annie and her girls at Crust n Krumbs are baking up their usual Easter specialties like the sweet Easter Bread and Bunny Cakes and cookies—great for the family gathering—but if you have the time, here is a special little coffee cake that I know Mom would have loved. It combines two of her favorite ingredients, lemons and rosemary, in a way that is not only unique but so delicious! I found the lemon curd for this recipe at ShopRite at Landis and Lincoln avenues. So no excuse not to make it!

  • Lemon-Rosemary Coffee Cake

  • Parchment paper

  • 3 large lemons

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup very cold butter, cubed

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 (10-oz.) jar lemon curd

  • Powdered sugar

  • Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, lemon slices


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a nine-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

  •  Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 Tbsp. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a bowl to equal 5 Tbsp. Reserve the zest and 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice.

  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of a food processor; pulse three to four times or until blended. Add butter; pulse six to seven times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of this flour mixture.

  • Transfer remaining flour mixture to bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Add baking powder and baking soda; beat at low speed until well blended. Add buttermilk, egg, and 1/4 cup lemon juice; beat at medium speed 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until batter is thoroughly blended, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Stir in rosemary. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan.

  •  Whisk lemon curd in a small bowl about 1 minute or until loosened and smooth; carefully spread over batter in pan. Top with remaining half of batter.

  •  Stir together reserved lemon zest, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 cup flour mixture; sprinkle  this lemon zest mixture over batter in pan.

  •  Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  •  Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Gently run a sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen; remove sides of pan. Cool cake completely on wire rack (about 1 hour). Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

  • Jean Hecker is a full-time travel agent at Magic Carpet Travels and a part-time foodie. She has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the