Cinnamon Coffee Cake

IMG_0199Mark Johnson doesn't like to be called a hero, not even when I'm referring to his role in Finding Amanda, even though between his years of service in Afghanistan and his recent adventures in the novel, the term applies. But today, attempting to cook a cake for Mother's Day, he certainly doesn't feel like a hero.


But Sophie and Madi insisted they try, so he called his mother-in-law and found a recipe that, in her words, “Even Mark couldn't screw up.” And to give Amanda a break, he's even posting on the blog. Happy Mother's Day, Amanda.


Cake ingredients:IMG_0188

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 yellow cake mix

1 3.4 oz. box vanilla instant puddingIMG_0190

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla



1-1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 and spray a Bundt pan with Pam. You're supposed to grease and flower it, but Mark didn't bother with that, and it turned out just fine.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans and set them aside.

Throw the cake mix, pudding, veggie oil, water, and vanilla into the mixer. Then add the eggs one at a time. (That's how Mark's always seen Amanda do it, so that's how he did it.)

Put a little bit of the cinnamon/nut mixture at the bottom of the pan–just a little. Then add about 1/3 of the batter, then about half of what's left of the cinnamon/nut mixture. Then pour another 1/3 of the cake batter on top, then layer the rest of the cinnamon/nut mixture. Then spread the rest of the cake batter on top.

Bake 58 to 60 minutes. Let it cool on a rack for a little while. While it's cooling, mix the sugar, milk, and vanilla. When the cake is cool, run a knife around the edge and then turn it onto a serving dish. Then pour the icing over the top.

Amanda was very impressed.


robin_cookbook_high resTo see more of Amanda's favorite recipes, sign up for my newsletter list. The sign-up form is in the top right corner. When you confirm, you'll receive the e-cookbook, Amanda's Favorite Recipes.

Leave a Comment:

Erin Taylor Young says May 13, 2015

Creative idea! And I need Mark to come to my house and cook. : )

Debbie says March 22, 2017

This sounds so good! Has anyone tried pouring the icing glaze on the still-warm cake in the pan to soak in? This could really add to the moistness! Yum! Thanks.

Add Your Reply

Sign up & Get a free book from Robin!