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Ruth Lyons’ coffeecake not fancy but oh so good!

Ruth Lyons' Coffee Cake

Ruth Lyons’ Coffee Cake

The coffeecake is a generational favorite. I get requests for it every year.  For those of you living in our tri-state, you may remember Ruth Lyons – the most popular television variety show host ever in Cincinnati. Easter wouldn’t be the same without this coffeecake on my readers’ tables.

I’ll be making this live on Fox 19 at 9:45 AM tomorrow with my buddy Frank Marzullo. Tune in for it!

Ruth Lyons’ coffeecake

No kidding, this iconic coffeecake has made the rounds for decades. But you know what? It has stood the test of time for sure, yet it’s not a fancy coffeecake at all. Great for a beginner baker.

Here’s my version. It can be made a day ahead.


1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar – I used light brown

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ea. nutmeg and salt

1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 cup Canola or other vegetable oil (not olive oil)

1 teaspoon clear vinegar

1 cup milk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix sugars, flour, nutmeg, salt and cinnamon together.

Add oil and stir until crumbly. Reserve and set aside 3/4 cup for topping.

Add vinegar to milk and let sit a minute.

Whisk in vanilla and egg to milk mixture. Then blend milk mixture in with remaining sugar/flour mixture.

Blend in baking soda.

Pour into a sprayed 13×9 pan.

Sprinkle with 3/4 cup topping.  Bake 30 minutes.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Why add vinegar to milk?

The reason the vinegar is added to the milk is to make it a bit like buttermilk or, as they used to say, “sour” milk.



Permanent link to this article: http://abouteating.com/ruth-lyons-coffeecake-a-cult-cake-for-easter/


  1. paulette kingery

    Ruths Halloween Stew…any ideas..

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Still hoping, Ruth, for someone to come up with this recipe!

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