Kanakuk Coffee Cake

My Dad, right in the middle

Raise your hand if you ever went to summer camp.  Okay, that’s all of you.  Now, raise your hand if you understand why I spell kamp with a “k”.  That’s right…today I’m talking about summer camp.  Just to clear things up…from here on out I will be spelling kamp with a “k” because that’s what they taught us to do at the summer kamp I went to.  It was called Kanakuk (for the boys) and Kanakomo (for the girls) and they spelled everything with a “k” and yelled things like “this is Kanakomo, not can’t-akomo!  Pick up the pace ladies!” while trying to finish a mile run.  It became second nature to me as a kid that I still to this day have a hard time spelling it the correct way.

Me and my big brother

So a big shout out to all my kampers!  I was a kamper at Kanakomo Kamp in steamy Missouri from 1988-1991.  My brother was a kamper from 1980-1987 and a counselor in 1989 and guess what?  My dad was a kamper in 1955-1961.  Dear Husband was a kamper from 1985-1988 and a kamp counselor in 1994 and 1995.  I wanted to be a kamp counselor and thought I was a shoo-in because I was a legacy, but alas, I did not get picked.  In hind sight I recognize several factors that were working against me during the interview process.

1) I didn’t bring any sort of athletic ability or talent to the table.  This is a christian athletic kamp (or athletic christian kamp, depending on how you look at it).  Being able to say I took beginning Ballet and Jazz in order to complete my Fine Arts degree did not exactly make me a student athlete.

2)  My older brother was somewhat of a trouble maker when he was a counselor.  He got caught smoking on his day off and I’m pretty sure his file was reg flagged.  When they did a cross reference the alarm bells went off.

3)  I brought my then boyfriend to the interview where he sat in the corner and sulked.  I imagine he wasn’t too keen on the idea of his girlfriend going off for 1 or 3 months during the summer and would come back more in love with Jesus than with him.  As I happily bounced out the door after the interview he probably turned back to the interviewer and gave the slash-across-the-throat sign as if to say “keep away from her or I’ll cut you.”

All kidding aside, I loved my time as a Kanakomo kamper.  I was far from the most athletic or popular kid there but Kanakuk is where I learned to water ski, learned to love camping outdoors, and learned every praise and worship song in the book.  The “I’m third” lifestyle they taught has stuck with me all these years.  God first, others second and yourself last.

Yours truly as a kamper (I can’t believe my mom let me wear such a high cut swimsuit *gasp*)

Another great thing about kamp was the food.  No cokes, candy or super sweets.  Ice cream was an indulgence and on Sunday we got coffee cake.  If you remember the coffee cake then today you’re in luck because this is the Kanakuk Coffee Cake recipe.

Topping (prepare a day ahead and refrigerate):

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbs. cinnamon
2 oz. butter

Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix well.  Cut butter into small pieces and work into dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter.  Refrigerate overnight.


3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup margarine, melted*
1/3 cups water
2 cups evaporated milk

*I used butter instead of margarine.  Margarine is a freak of nature and I won’t have it in my house.   Sorry, Kitchi-komos.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix well and set aside.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan w/ non-stick spray.

Beat eggs in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add vanilla and evaporated milk.  Combine margarine with water, slowly pour into batter and mix on low speed.  Add a small amount of dry ingredients and mix on low to combine.  Continue adding dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until all dry ingredients have been incorporated.  Beat until smooth.

Pour into pan.  Sprinkle topping on top of cake.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Before you eat make sure to sing the dinner song.

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, the Lord’s been good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
the sun and the rain and the apple seed.
The Lord’s been good to me.
Let’s eat!

8 Responses

  1. Bridget

    Wow, were you a Kiowa or a Kickapoo? I only got in because I taught dance and aerobics and by some strange reason they had me teach soccer. Wow… that was a mistake! I remember the granola… yum!

  2. Lesley McMillan Graham

    a kickapoo, here, too. what term did you atend (sorry if i missed it in the read)? attending 3rd term, k2, the summer before 7th grade until the summer before entering college was my routine. i loved being a counselor at k3 (taught tennis and had a blast “trying” to be the canoe instructor). thanks for sharing your family pics. my brother and sister attended kamp as well. i can taste the coffee cake from reading the ingredients and seeing the photo. i think i gained weight just doing that, too 🙂 in CHRIST, lesley

    • Hugs, Kisses and Snot

      I always went to 1st term. My mom tried to make me think it wouldn’t be as hot in June. My brother (much older than me so we didn’t go the same years) went 3rd term and came back bragging about the awesome concerts. I was always so jealous of the 3rd term b/c I was convinced that Michael Dub only made an appearance in August.

  3. Tina

    Thanks for the recipe! Koffee Kake brings back fond memories! (I was a Kiowa in the ’70’s, btw.)


  4. Frito Love « Hugs, Kisses and Snot

    […] that will keep your college football fan happy and well fed.  Thank’s to Kanakuk Kamp I have another kamp favorite that is perfect for game day.  Frito Love.  This is basically a Frito pie but when you add the […]

  5. April

    My 4 siblings and I went to kanakomo/kanakuk! I was there 1986-90. Tonight my sister and I were singing to her toddler and started singing camp songs that we haven’t sang in years! I googled kanakomo kamp songs and somehow ended up on your blog! The song prayer at the end jolted our memories and we sang it at the top of our lungs ! We had completely forgotten about it! My mom made the coffee cake for us for years and had the kamp recipe placed in every church cookbook for years! Thanks for writing about your memories! I was a Kickapoo and attended k1 second term and then k3 but I can’t recall the terms! Were u there the year ‘ the funk’ aka terrible stomach flu went round the entire camp like an epidemic? That as awful!

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