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?


Cafeteria Connection: LA

Did that title make sense? It does if you’re doing Loopy Academy and remembered that we’re doing a “cafeteria connection” from time to time. And just what is a cafeteria connection? It’s remembering back to our school cafeterias long ago!

Do you have memories of your school cafeteria? For some reason, I have so many (though most of them are from elementary school). When we were in sixth grade, the teachers appointed some of us to work in one cafeteria job or another during lunchtime. For a time, my job was collecting milk money from students when a carton of milk was a whopping 4 cents. I remember thinking they needed to make it a nickel so I didn’t have to go through all of those pennies, giving back change. Eventually it did switch to 5 cents and that was a happy day! I also remember if you were in the dishwasher position, you could stretch out the time it took to rinse the trays and send them through the dishwasher so that you might be able to miss 20 minutes of history class. We tried to do that often. 🙂

Today I’m sharing a recipe for School Cafeteria Peanut Butter Brownies. We had these a lot (or something like them), because I think peanut butter must have been relatively cheap back then. If you like peanut butter, I think you’ll like these.

School Cafeteria Peanut Butter Brownies

School Cafeteria Peanut Butter Brownies The Loopy Ewe

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I used chunky, but either will work)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour

Melt the butter and peanut butter together, then set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar and salt. Mix in one egg at a time. Add in vanilla. Add in cooled peanut butter/butter mix and stir until just combined. Mix in flour.

Butter a 9 x 13 pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Let cool in pan.


1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter, melted
Milk (approx 3 Tbl)

Mix all three ingredients, adding more milk as needed for desired consistency.

When pan is cool, flip them out onto a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet. Drizzle the icing over the top. Let icing set and then cut into bars.

Now – what is the best food item that they served in your school cafeteria – did you have a favorite?


Soup to Warm You

There are a lot of comfort foods out there, and now is a time when some people might need some comfort. Here is a soup that we tried once, loved, and have made again. (Plus, hopefully these ingredients can still easily be found in grocery stores.) I hope it warms you from head to toe!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Soup

3 lbs. boneless chicken breast or thighs (cooked, shredded)
10 slices of bacon (cooked, chopped)
8 cups chicken broth
16 oz. cream cheese (cubed)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 packs Hidden Valley Ranch mix
3 cups broccoli (chopped)

Add the dry ranch mixes to 8 cups of chicken broth. Add broccoli and cook until tender. Mix in the cheeses and stir until melted. Add the chicken and bacon and heat through.

Thick and delicious.

Do you have favorite soup recipes you can share with me? Leave a comment or email us – we’d love to try them!


Looking for more recipes? Check out some of our favorites from the blog here.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

I finished up Louis the Owl (now named Gilbert the Owl) and this may be my favorite project ever. The directions were well written, and I look forward to making more of the animals in the book! Pattern: Louis the Owl from Knitted Animal Friends. Yarn: Knerd String Sport and Uncommon Thread DK.

I also have had fun knitting up acorns. I made some for the shop, some for friends, and some for myself, All told, I will have made 15 of them by the time I’m done. Or maybe more. They’re fun and quick and cute. Pattern: Acorn by Kim Hamlin. Yarn: Cascade 220.

I spent some time up in the mountains last week and saw some gorgeous Aspens. If you’ve never been to Colorado in the fall, you really need to make the trip. Those bright yellow trees nestled into the dark green pines make for some beautiful photos. (And if you’re coming to Colorado in the fall – or any time – be sure to stop by Loopy Centra to see us, too!)

Today’s delicious recipe comes from The Baking ChocolaTess (via Pinterest). Quick, easy, and so good.

Amish Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Cream Pie The Loopy Ewe

1 9″ pie crust, baked and cooled

Pie Filling:
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup whipped cream (I used Cool Whip)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups whipped cream

Crumbles: Add powdered sugar and 1/4 cup peanut butter to a mixer and mix until it starts to crumble. Add half of the crumbles to the bottom of the pie shell.

Filling: Combine the dry instant pudding mix, the milk, and the 1/2 cup peanut butter and mix for 2 minutes in an electric mixer. Fold in the whipped cream by hand. Pour into the pie crust on top of the crumbles.

Topping: Spread 2 cups of whipped cream on top of the pie, and add the remaining crumbles.

Refrigerate for 2 hours to let it set before cutting.

I’m betting that you’ll think this Peanut Butter Cream Pie is the best. (I do. But then again, I love pie, I love peanut butter, and I love pudding. So it’s a given that I’d like this.) Do you have other cream pies that you love to make?

Hope you have a great weekend!