I wouldn't be surprised if more people were familiar with Lithuanian coffee cake in New Haven, Connecticut, than in Lithuania proper. Why do the locals, namely Yalies, love this treat from Claire's Corner Copia so? Three reasons: the dense sour cream cake, the middle brown stripe (sweet raisins and walnuts coated in brown sugar and coffee grounds), and the buttercream frosting. While most coffee cakes are just nice things to nosh on between gulps of coffee, this one actually has coffee in it.
The recipe is from the mom of a former employee at Claire's Corner Copia (can we stop to appreciate that name for a second? it's on a corner!) who was from Lithuania and used to joke that her cake had something to do with the fall of the Soviet bloc. It's still a big hit today, and sold by the slice ($4.15) or the whole cake, which can be pre-ordered.
Dana of Proof of the Pudding tried to recreate the recipe but didn't get identical results until, many batches later, she had a BINGO moment. "Did I successfully recreate the legendary Lith? I came close--really close." Scroll down for the recipe. Do you have a favorite coffee cake? Does it actually have coffee in it?
Claire's Corner Copia
1000 Chapel Street, New Haven CT 06510 (map)