Cafeteria Connection!

We’re celebrating Loopy Academy again today, with another Cafeteria recipe, harkening back to the 1950’s, and still in production today.

This cinnamon coffee cake recipe is so popular with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), that the 700 schools in that district make 800,000 servings per month, 10,000,000 servings per year. They only have it on the menu twice a month, but they also make it when requested for meetings and special events. And apparently it gets requested a lot! So it sounded like something that I needed to try.

The LAUSD now has mixes to make this and they have adapted the recipe over the years, but here is the original recipe from 1954 (and I’ve added the high altitude changes I made at the end, for those of us living above 3500 feet.) NOTE: we thought this tasted even better on day two, so you might make it a day ahead of serving!

Coffee Cake The Loopy Ewe

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Coffee Cake

3 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl. non-fat dry milk
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbl. vinegar
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup plus 2 Tbl. oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 14 cup brown sugar, packed


3/4 cup plus 3 Tbl. flour
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbl brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup salad oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, dry milk, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Combine vinegar and water in a measuring cup. Set aside.

In a mixer, blend the oil and both sugars on low speed for 1 min. Add eggs and continue to blend 1 more minute.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the water-vinegar mixture to the oil-sugar mixture. Scrape down the bowl and then blend on medium speed for another minute.

Grease 2 9×9 pans and divide the batter evenly between the two.

Make topping:

In a mixer, combine all of the topping ingredients except for the oil. Blend on low for 1 minute. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the oil until the topping is crumbly. Evenly divide the topping over the batter in both pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

For best results, make a day ahead of serving.

High altitude adjustments:

Add 2 Tbl extra flour to the cake mix
Add 4 Tbl extra water
Use just 3 tsp baking powder
Delete the baking soda
No adjustments to the topping mix
Bake at 395 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Today’s question to ponder (and answer in the comments, if you are so inclined!): What was your favorite game to play at recess in elementary school? Mine was Four Square. We spent so much time in those four squares, bouncing a ball between them!

Four Square

Did anyone else play Four Square?



  1. Holy cow! This IS the coffee cake I commented on the last time. I’m an LAUSD alumni and this is my fondest memory of the school cafeteria food.

  2. The recipe looks great! My husband will love it.
    We played jump rope and jacks or if we couldn’t play those we’d play red light.

  3. I love cinnamon coffee cake – I generally just use a mix though (is it Krusteaz?? not sure) because I am lazy! mIght have to try this one though

    1. I dont think I have ever heard of 4 square. We jump roped, played tether ball, climbed on the playground type equipment

  4. My girls played 4 square. When I was in school we played “a” my name is Alice-bouncing our individual balls. We also played stoop ball (in NYC we all had stoops).

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