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March 2, 2006

Cairo Butter-top Coffeecake

An old local favorite, butter-top coffee cake brings fond memories to many from Cairo, Illinois. 'Buttertop' was made at a Cairo bakery called Eddie's. This version was submitted by Ginger Johnson. Many believe they have THE original butter-top recipe. Send all butter-top recipes to

Submitted by Ginger Johnson

An old family favorite, butter-top makes a wonderful snack, breakfast or dessert. This recipe makes one large loaf or 2 mini loaves for gift giving. The bread also freezes well. Freeze on a plate 6 hours, wrap frozen loaf in heavy duty aluminum foil and return to the freezer for up to six months.

Cake ingredients

2 cakes of yeast
1 cup warm water
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
6 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

Cake directions

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand. Mix oil, sugar, salt, boiling water and eggs until well blended, using mixer with regular flat beater. Add dissolved yeast to mixture and blend. Gradually add flour, blend well after each addition, scraping sides often. Mixture will resemble sticky pizza dough. Put bowl of dough in refrigerator and let rise overnight, lightly covered.

Next morning scrape sides of bowl and divide dough in half (I use a little oil on my hands to separate). Put half of the dough in a 13" x 9" non-stick, or lightly oiled, baking pan, spreading dough to the edges. Repeat with remaining dough and put in second pan. (Or you may use four 9" x 9" pans.) Let coffeecake dough rise in a warm place about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick you like it. I think ¾" to 1" is about right. Meanwhile, make butter-top topping as follows.

Butter-top topping

1 one lb. box powdered sugar
2 sticks margarine (softened)*
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons Coffeemate non-dairy creamer**
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

Topping directions

Beat margarine, eggs, creamer, vanilla and salt until well blended. Gradually add powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Drop evenly by spoonfuls, lightly on top of raised dough. Spread gently to cover dough. Be sure to spread to edges of dough.

Bake in pre-heated oven 325 degrees for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Makes two 9" x 13"" coffee cakes or four 9" x 9" cakes.

*  The original recipe called for Miracle Whipped margarine, which I have not been able to find anymore.
**  I use Albertson's brand non-dairy creamer, because it does not contain aluminum.

© 2005 The Cairo Gate