Murphy Dome Diaries

A journalist observes life in the far north.

A visit with Bumpa

Don Turner and his grandson, Slate Turner.


Slate’s grandfather Don returned from a long sojourn to Columbia and drove up to Murphy Dome to meet his son’s latest progeny.

Visits from Bumpa, as Lucky calls him, usually involve a photo shoot and a meal. Since he came midday, I made a pecan coffee cake.

The coffee cake recipe, provided below, is easy to prepare and always a hit. I made it in two pans and sent one pan over to a neighbor in appreciation for providing the one ingredient I lacked. Sour cream. What is it about sour cream in cake that makes it so good?

Don is about 20 pounds lighter than when he left Fairbanks last fall. He credits disciplined eating and a daily swimming regimen.

He brought gifts from Latin America and praised Alec and me for making nice-looking children.

Alec spent much of the visit in the garage working on a project that has been a long time coming: hooking up water to a secondary kitchen sink.

The sink has been in place for years but with no plumbing. It was kind of embarrassing when people would visit and try to use the sink but no water came from the faucet. What could I say except that our house is a work in progress.

I’ve never had two sinks in my kitchen before. It’s kind of a strange convenience. I guess it will save me the trouble of having to turn around and walk four steps to the main sink. It’s closer to the dining table should anyone need a refill of their water. It’s easier for little ones to reach than the big sink.

Alec didn’t get the water going until after his dad left so Don missed the excitement, but Alec made a video of the water running with his smart phone and messaged it to his mom in Oregon.

Pecan Coffee Cake

The cake:
2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pecan topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter

Use a 350-degree oven and a greased 9X13 pan or two square pans.

Sift the flour salt and baking powder. Mix the butter to cream it and then add sour cream followed by sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture.

For the pecan topping, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans and then add the melted butter. I mix it with my hands until it’s crumbly. Sprinkle it over the cake batter in the baking pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2011 by .
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