Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Book, Great Food! Author Shelli Johnson's Very Berry Coffee Cake Recipe

Shelli Johnson

I always love to combine books and food (for some examples on this blog see my interview with K. E. Saxon and Alle Wells' guest post) and today it is great to welcome author, Shelli Johnson.  She is not only sharing a fantastic coffee cake recipe with me, but is also explaining how the recipe connects to her brilliant, novel, Small as a Mustard Seed, which was the grand prize winner of the Writers Digest International Self-Published Book Awards!

Many thanks for this idea & for having me on your blog, Katheryn! This recipe is both for a crock-pot & for muffins. It ties into & was inspired by a pivotal scene in my novel, Small as a Mustard Seed.

I sat at the kitchen table wearing frayed jeans and a blue sweater, my hair pulled back in a small ponytail. I hooked my bare heels on the bottom rung of the chair so my toenails, painted a bright, gaudy red, pointed at the linoleum. I sliced a circle from a log of summer sausage and nibbled on the edges. My mother in her robe and slippers, hair pinned back in a bun, moved from the kitchen counter to the refrigerator and back again. Her flurry of activity sent odors — honeydew melon, strawberry lotion, flour, and raw eggs — spinning through the air. Half her body bent into the refrigerator, she scoured the shelves, muttering, “Where is it? Where is it?”
“Where’s what?” I said.
“The sour cream. Have you seen it?”
“Daddy finished it off yesterday with the potato chips.”
She slammed the refrigerator, and the bottles inside the door clanked together. She stamped her foot and said, “Just how am I supposed to make muffins without sour cream?”
I shrugged. “Make them with butter.”
She rolled her eyes dramatically then dismissed me with a few flaps of her hand. “Lord, you would think I spent all this time teaching you absolutely nothing. Sour cream makes it moist.”
“Oh,” I said.

Prep. time: 15 minutes. Serves 8 - 10 from the crock-pot (cake slices) & more if making muffins. Costs less than $10.

Shelli's delicious cake


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 6-ounce containers of fresh berries (a little over 2 cups) (I used blueberries & raspberries. I don't recommend frozen; I tried it & it didn't work out well)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar In The Raw (chunky granules of sugar)
  • fresh berries to garnish (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another microwave-safe bowl, soften shortening in the microwave for about 20 seconds then add in sugar. Beat together with an electric mixer. When blended, add in eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg. Add in vanilla extract & lemon extract, mix well. Add in sour cream & mix well.
  3. Add flour mixture slowly to shortening mixture, beating until blended.
  4. Add in berries & fold them in with a spoon (don't use the mixer to blend).
  5. Coat crock-pot with non-stick spray.
  6. Add batter to crock-pot in an even layer.
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours or until edges start to brown & a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If you're making muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray muffin cups with non-stick spray or use liners, fill cups/liners 3/4 full, then bake for 30 minutes or until tops start to brown & a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean ~ I made large-sized muffins; if you're making smaller ones, it will probably take less time)
  8. Melt the one tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter over top of the entire cake (or entire batch of muffins). Immediately sprinkle the two tablespoons of Sugar In The Raw over top of the entire cake (or entire batch of muffins).
  9. Turn off the crock-pot & remove the lid (& if you can, remove the ceramic ware from the heating element). Let cool for at least 30 -45 minutes then slice into servings ~ if you try to remove it too soon, while it's still warm, the cake will fall apart. Muffins can be served immediately.
  10. Serve with fresh berries as a garnish.
  11. Enjoy!
Please keep in mind that cooking times may vary so the first time you make a recipe, keep an eye on the crock-pot (or the oven). You may need to adjust the amount of cooking time.

Thank you so much Shelli for the great recipe!  If you would like to have  a FREE copy of her award-winning novel, Small as a Mustard Seed, head over to her blog. 

 Just go to Shelli Johnson before 25th December, 2011 & enter to win an ebook copy of her novel for Kindle.


  1. Hi Katheryn!

    Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your blog. I hope you enjoy the recipe.


  2. Oh, that looks (& sounds) delicious! I must try this!! Thanks for sharing! :)

    May God bless,
    Trisha Wilson

  3. It looks really yummy, i would like to give it a try soon, a new recipe for before new years eve.


  4. Thank you Shelli so much for being a wonderful guest on my blog and sharing such a great recipe! (I finally found some raspberries and blueberries out here in the Middle East! Worth hunting for to make your great cake - my family loved it!)

  5. Hi Trisha & Cody! I hope you enjoy it. It really is delicious.

    Hi Katheryn! Thanks again for having me on your blog. I'm so glad you & your family liked it. :)