You can stop laughing now.
I am in a magazine, but I’m not exactly the centerfold. The actual centerfold pages are 42-43.
I’m on pages 72-73. Well, really I’m on page 72. The story is on page 73. And that’s on the left column of the page. (The other column is the recipe. And that’s only about one-third of that column. The rest of the column belongs to two other recipes.)
Really. You can stop laughing now.
Oh, and I have my clothes on. Trust me on this: I’m doing you a favor.
But seriously, stop laughing!
Last August, one of the food competitions I entered at the Iowa State Fair was sponsored by Our Iowa magazine, called Our Iowa Church Cookbook Favorites. Each year the magazine sponsors the division and they choose a different category. For the 2012 fair the category was coffee cake. And I won first place!
I prepared a rhubarb coffee cake recipe from a church cookbook whose recipes I grew up on. It was published way back in 1977 for the Wellsburg Reformed Church, comprised of tons of the best recipes from the ladies of the church. This recipe was submitted by Mrs. Carl L. (Ann) Nederhoff.
Part of winning the contest is the prize money, $400, given to the kitchen fund of the Iowa church from whose cookbook the recipe was taken. The other part of winning is a spot in the “Recipes They’re Proud to Share” feature in an issue of Our Iowa. Back in September, a photographer from Des Moines, Perry Struse, spent an entire afternoon at my house photographing me, the coffee cake, and me with the coffee cake (by the way, it wasn’t the winning coffee cake; I did make a fresh one for the shoot – two, actually). He made the long day a fun one, and even shot some photos of my daughter and me.
Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail with an Our Iowa apron, as well as an advance copy of the February/March 2013 issue. So, I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this or not, but...do you want a sneak peek?
That’s my daughter in the recipe card photo, pretending to chew on a piece of rhubarb. I think she’d rather just eat her rhubarb in the coffee cake.
(Personally, I would get the subscription. I’ve been a subscriber myself since first spotting the June/July 2010 issue at The Machine Shed Restaurant. I even give gift subscriptions, and I’ve never done that for any magazine ever. I subscribe to several magazines, and this is by far the one I cannot wait to arrive. I read absolutely everything in it, which takes a long time because it’s not filled with a bunch of advertising the way most magazines are. It’s published by Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman Publications, which originally published magazines like Taste of Home, Birds & Blooms, Country…..so you know this is quality. And it’s written and photographed by fellow Iowans. Definitely a gem for touring the great state of Iowa!)
Another unanticipated perk for me of winning this contest is that I finally now have in my possession my very own copy of the church cookbook! Every summer I “borrow” my mom’s copy in search of a great recipe to fit the magazine’s contest category for the upcoming state fair. So I asked the church if they knew where I could find a copy. 35 years after it was printed meant my chances were not good. But they came through and located a copy and sent it to me. I’m so grateful! Now I can browse and bake some of the recipes from my childhood whenever I want!
Before I share the recipe for the coffee cake, I want to take a moment to thank not only the Wellsburg Reformed Church for the cookbook, but also Our Iowa magazine for a fun experience: at the fair, during the photo shoot, and through phone conversations with Paula Wiebel (editorial assistant and wife to editor Jerry Wiebel). I am grateful for the generous prize money; I know the church will put it to good use. And thank you especially for including me in my favorite magazine...even if I’m not the centerfold.
Yours in pie (uh, I mean coffee cake),
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
from the Wellsburg Reformed Church cookbook, “Happiness is Good Cooking,” page 116*
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, softened
1 ½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk
3 c. chopped rhubarb
1 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. chopped walnuts
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl and set aside. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, and mix until combined. Fold in rhubarb.
Spread batter in greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Combine brown sugar and walnuts in a bowl; sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
¾ c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in saucepan and heat until boiling. Boil for 3 ½ minutes; remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat well. Pour over warm cake just after it’s removed from oven. Poke holes in cake to let topping soak in. Cool on wire rack.
*If you have a copy of this cookbook, you may notice that flour is not listed in the original recipe. In my mom’s copy, she hand wrote “2 ½ c. flour” – a great perk about living in a small town: when something’s missing from a recipe, you can ask the contributor yourself.