Bishop’s Bread

A coffee cake so good, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven


“ ‘It was kind of Vespasian Colville to escort you home yesterday,’ her mother said as she passed Carine a slice of Bishop’s Bread, a light cinnamon coffee cake and one of Betsy’s specialties. ‘But I wonder how proper it was to come from Bay St. Louis alone on the train with him.’

Above the newspaper Carine peered at her mother, whose brow was furrowed in anxiety. Thank God she had no notion of improprieties Carine had willfully engaged in with Vespasian.”

The Perfect Partner


Carine Bouchard, the heroine of The Perfect Partner, loves Bishop’s Bread, which the family cook whips up for breakfast. This streusel coffee cake comes from the best-selling Time-Life cookbook, American Cooking: Southern Style, written by Mobile novelist and cookbook writer Eugene Walter. A long-time family friend, Walter also penned Delectable Dishes from Termite Hall.

Bishop’s Bread just out of the oven

Grease and flour one 9-inch cake pan. Preheat oven to 425.


12 Tablespoons butter, cut into bits

2 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder

1 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar and butter bits. Rub together with fingertips until you have created what looks like fine crumbs. Set aside ½ cup of this for the topping.
  • Gradually stir into remaining crumbs the buttermilk, egg, nuts and cinnamon.
  • Pour into cake pan and sprinkle set-aside crumb mixture.
  • Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn oven down and bake fo 20 to 25 more minutes until cake tester comes out clean.


*If you’re short of buttermilk, add 2/3 tablespoon of white vinegar to milk and stir.


On a hot summer day, it is a good idea to enjoy a piece of Bishops Bread with a glass of iced tea.