Heath Brunch Coffee Cake – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Apr 2 2014 - 3:55am by RetroRuth

Today we are taking a break from all the gross, and we are making a coffee cake.


This is Heath Brunch Coffee Cake, because why wouldn’t you put candy on a coffee cake?

Seriously. I’m asking you a question. Why haven’t you done this yet?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Heath Brunch Coffee Cake
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For Topping:
  • 1 c finely crushed Heath English Toffee candy bars
  • ¼ cup pecans or almonds
  1. Blend the flour, butter, and the sugars. Take out a ½ cup of the mixture.
  2. To the rest, add the buttermilk, soda, egg and vanilla. Blend well. Pour into a greased and floured 10x14x2 inch cake pan. (I used a 13x9 cake pan)
  3. Topping:
  4. Crush finely the toffee bars with the nuts and add to the ½ cup of reserved mixture. Sprinkle over the top of the batter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.



I was actually pretty excited when I found this recipe. First of all, I haven’t made a coffee cake in a very long time. Secondly, I LOVE Heath bars. Actually, I just love toffee in general.


There was also very little risk that this could be disgusting. I mean, I know we all love to watch Tom eat gelatin with tuna and American cheese in it, but the guy needs a break sometimes.


And what better way to take a break than with a nice cup of coffee and something sweet?





“How is it?”

“A little bland.”

“What? Seriously? I put CANDY on it!”

“Yeah, it actually tastes like it is missing something.”

The Verdict: Tender Cake, A Bit Bland

From The Tasting Notes –

Good consistency for a coffee cake, tender but not overly moist.   I thought with the topping it would be sweet, but that wasn’t the case. I was expecting the cake itself to not be very sweet, but this went beyond that. The cake part was actually bland. It definitely needed salt at least. As I was eating it, I thought it might actually be really good with some peanut butter added to it or even cinnamon. But it had an excellent texture. Tom wasn’t a huge fan, but he said that if I made it again he would eat it.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Bunny April 2, 2014 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Definitely salt and perhaps a teaspoon of vanilla. Looks like a great coffee cake base recipe!

  2. Beth April 2, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I agree with you, the only thing missing from the cake recipe is 1/2 tsp. (or so) of salt. Cinnamon would be ok, too. Looks yummy. Maybe Tom’s palate has been impaired by all the Jello.

  3. Orchid64 April 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    I’m guessing that cinnamon is the big missing component – what’s coffee cake without cinnamon? That being said, it may conflict with the Heath bar (hard for me to know). It might be interesting to try this with a little cinnamon, vanilla, coffee and cocoa added into the cake to boost the flavor profile (heavy on vanilla and cinnamon, lighter on coffee and cocoa). My husband liked the looks of this, but we were less encouraged by the look on your husband’s face in the picture!

  4. SnoKat April 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    What about just substituting a spice cake mix instead? Or is that too out of the mid-century menu rules?

    • Lassie April 3, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Why would you use a cake MIX? Anyone can whip up a mundane cake out of a box. It’s a whole other ‘thing’ compared with making a real cake (at least for this recipe).

      • SnoKat April 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

        I’m insanely lazy and find every ‘from scratch’ cake I’ve ever done have been heavy and rather tasteless. Box mixes are great bases for all sorts of things!

  5. Tipsykit April 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Ooh, it looks good at least. Maybe add salt to the batter and some vanilla or almond extract, and mix some mini chocolate chips in with the topping? I’m definitely going to do some experimenting.

  6. Joanna April 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I’d be tempted to add cinnamon into the topping mixture next time. maybe a teaspoon or so. or perhaps mix together the traditional coffee cake type topping of flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter and then add the chopped heath bars and nuts to that.
    The batter needs some salt and perhaps a wee bit more vanilla.
    Just thinking on this. It’s got great potential though.

  7. Terry December 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I have eaten this coffee cake forever!! It’s missing nothing! Dont overbake is the key. My mom made this as far back as I can remember! Early 60’s and beyond. I know it says 10×14 pan, however my mom, my sister, and I, always bake this in a 13×9. Yummy!! I have all the ingredients to make this in the morning!! Happy baking, and eating!

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