Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cottage Cheese Coffee Cake with Fig Jam

I've had family in for two weeks. Delightful fun but I've had to do a lot of thinking ahead about what to serve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I went to the grocery store and stocked up basics and on fruits and vegetables, and, of course, an assortment of cheeses, but I wanted something fun and unique for a morning and/or afternoon snack.

Something to go with a cup of coffee or tea.

One of my all-time favorite things is coffee cake. Back when I was a teen, I was anorexic. Long story (I was a nervous, Type-A girl with a lot of family issues that I couldn't "fix.") I feel horrible for all of those girls (and boys) who go through this. Like them, I didn't know better. I thought I looked great losing all that weight. I wanted to be a size 2. Silly girl.

I survived and that's because of a lot of factors, one of which was my family (even with all the pitfalls) bolstering me to get through the trauma.

I moved to live with my father and stepmother  my mother and I until her death became close friends). But at that time in my formative years, I needed to get healthy. My father was eager to get me to eat. He would try everything, but nothing seemed to capture my attention. I ate a half grapefruit for breakfast, something light at lunch, and piece of white fish for dinner. I could not be enticed to eat more. I was bones.

And then one Sunday morning, my stepmother made Bisquick coffee cake. While she and my father worked in the garden, I was lured by the aroma of cinnamon to the kitchen table. I wanted a taste. I poured a glass of milk and sat at the table doing the crossword puzzle, and I ate a piece of the cake. At least, that's all I thought I ate. It turned out that I ate the WHOLE THING. Who knew I had a sweet tooth? My father and stepmother were ecstatic. They started to buy me donuts and making anything sweet to get me to put back on pounds.

Now, I've gotten my weight and my eating issues under control, but I still have a sweet tooth, and I adore coffee cake. You all know that I have to eat gluten-free (I don't think this is a result of my anorexia, but who knows!), so this recipe is gluten-free; however you can make it regular by substituting the gluten-free Bisquick mix with regular. Also, I've modified the Bisquick recipe to add extra moisture; hence, the cheese.

BTW, this coffee cake was inspired by fresh figs. I'm not sure if you can get them in your part of the country, but if you can't, use another jam of choice, and enjoy!

Cottage Cheese Coffee Cake


2 cups Bisquick gluten-free mix
2/3 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon water
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cottage cheese

1/3 cup Bisquick gluten-free mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease an 8 x8 pan.

In medium bowl, mix gluten-free Bisquick mix, milk, water, egg and sugar. Pour the mixture into the 8 x 8 pan.

Put dollops of the cottage cheese on top of the mixture, then spread evenly.

Make the topping. Mix Bisquick, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Drop by dollops on the cottage cheese, spread evenly with your fingers or a fork.

Swirl with a knife to incoroproate the ingredients, ever so slightly.

Bake 20-24 minutes until a warm medium brown. Cool 10 to 20 minutes.

Fig Jam (similar to apricot jam posted a few weeks ago)


8-12 large figs, sliced, tips removed (1 cup chopped up)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/8 cup water
3/4 tablespoon pectic powder


Wear long sleeves. You do not want to get burned by boiling sugar! 

You need a sugar/candy thermometer.

Heat the fruit and water in a deep saucepan to 120 degrees.

Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sugar with pectin. Whisk together.

Add the pectin mixture to the fruit and water mixture and whisk. Bring to boil for one minute.

Add the rest of the sugar to the saucepan. Cook to 223 degrees. 

At 223 degrees, remove mixture from heat and cool to room temperature. Store in a glass or Tupperware style container and seal. It'll last at least a month.



  1. Eons ago, one of the secretaries would treat the office to her home baked coffee cake. I was in awe, not just of her baking but her ability to bake while getting two young children and a husband out of the house, before her long commute to work.
    You have revived such memories!

  2. Avery, thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm so glad that you got healthy and that coffee cake tempted your appetite! Thanks for this recipe--it sounds delicious!

  3. Liz, I'm thrilled to revive such memories. One of my most favorite memories is teaching my son how to cook. He loved the task and is a great cook, now in his 20's. These were bonding times.


  4. Elizabeth, tempted is a little "soft," don't you think? I ate the whole thing! What was that commercial, he liked it? Mikey liked it!


  5. This will be perfect for tomorrow. I've made the bisquick coffee cake before, but not with cottage cheese or the extra water. I can smell the cinnamon now.

  6. Helena, I know I shouldn't use a mix, but there is something about the Nisquick aroma that sends me! Perhaps it's the cinnamon. LOL

  7. Thank you so much for sharing that story. Makes everything more personal from now on.

    And just love the cake!


  8. Moving story, Avery, and an intriguing recipe. Thank you so much for sharing both.

    ~ Cleo

  9. This sounds great, Avery. I found your story very moving. It sure does tell us a lot about the power of food and love used well and wisely. And of course, the power of cinnamon too.

    Thanks so much.

  10. Your story will surely inspire others who suffer from the disease and will give their families hope! I'm in awe of your fig jam. Wish we could get more fresh figs around here!

    ~ Krista

  11. Dave, Cleo, MJ, and Krista, thank you for your thoughts. It does speak to the power of love. I do not believe I could have gotten through the disease without the love and diligence. I am stronger for it, and I hope, I'm much more compassionate for people with emotional issues.

    Krista, change out the figs to anything else that you can make into jam, like peaches or apricots. I know figs are so seasonal and I didn't ever get good ones when I lived in Connecticut. Too far north.


  12. Avery,
    Thanks so very much for sharing such a personal story. It is courageous women and men like you, who are willing to share their stories that will help save lives...

    Your coffee cake recipe will save breakfast!! My om regularly made Bisquick coffee cake...using apples, peaches, cherries..whatever MI fruit was in season...I have just added Bisquick to my shopping list!


  13. I make my own bisquick. It's so easy & hopefully cost efficient. At least I know what's in it. I've thought of you & your family today. Time & love are so important to all of us, but especially to those suffering.

  14. Nanc, cute. I've saved breakfast. This late in the day? Hallelujah! LOL

    Helena, I hope you'll share the recipe for your bisquick. I'd love to have it.

    Hugs to all


  15. Homemade Bisquick
    4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 cup instant nonfat milk powder
    1 cup vegetable shortening PLUS
    2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
    In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and milk powder. Stir with a wire whisk to blend. Use a pastry blender, to blend in shortening until evenly distributed Spoon into an 8-cup container with a tight-fitting lid. Seal container. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 10 to 12 weeks.
    Made your cake today. I liked the extra cinnamon plus the water made the cake more moist. Yum :)

  16. Helena, wow! Thank you so much. Can't wait to put this together!

  17. Helena, just wondering. The shortening doesn't spoil faster? I'm assuming that's the reason for dating it 10-12 weeks? Do you use Crisco?


  18. Yes, I use crisco & I try to make only the amount I need. So I often half or quarter the recipe. I believe I have frozen the mix in the past too. Hope this helps.

  19. Hi, I want to make this but the end of the recipe confuses me. First it is supposed to be warm med. brown and then you let it cool 10-20 to light golden brown and cool again? Does that mean it gets lighter in color as it cools? Thanks.

  20. Anonymous, too funny. You are the only person who caught that. It should be a warm brown. Don't know how I made that mistake! LOL

    I'll fix the recipe right now.