Editor’s note: This reader recipe is an online addition to our September 2017 cover story, “Recipes from the heart.”

Lena Trautwein’s famous coffee cake

From Carol Pilmer

Coincidentally, the first time I met Lena Trautwein was over coffee and a piece of her famous coffee cake at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Alliance, Ohio.

Her warm smile and heartfelt welcome handshake made me feel as though this was going to be a faith strengthening church home for me. Little did I know at the time she had been a driving force in establishing Abiding Savior. Her retired principal administrative skills were instrumental in making certain everything ran efficiently and effectively, and she always managed to show God’s love.

She was a source of inspiration and encouragement to me as I accepted many positions of service and leadership within the congregation. Whether it was encouraging me when I served as a lector or deacon during the Sunday services, she always complimented me for being a leader.

I was the one she encouraged to share my cooking and semi-professional catering talents for the ordination reception for one of the congregation’s own. I’m certain she had a say in my being selected to serve as a video pilot project director or when I was chosen Women’s Circle leader.

Each time she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and accept a role to do something I had never done before, to learn and grow in my faith in God and in myself.

Her instinct seemed to tell her that since the death of my mother I needed someone to nudge me to move forward with faith in God. She helped me see that there was work to be done in God’s kingdom that I was capable of doing.

It is with heartfelt thanks that I say, “Thank you, Lena, for believing in me and sharing your incredible journey of faith.”

Recipe (makes 1 coffee cake)

First, make the nut filling: Mix together and set aside 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

For cake batter:

1 package yellow cake mix (Lena used Duncan Hines)
4 eggs, beaten
1 3-ounce package coconut cream instant pudding
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sour cream

Beat 5 minutes at fast speed. Spoon half of the mixture into a utility dish or pan, then cover with half the nut mixture. Spoon remaining batter evenly over the nut mixture then sprinkle remaining nut mixture on top. Bake 40 to 45 minutes in 350 degree oven. Test with a toothpick for doneness.

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