On June 5, 1906, 18-year-old Gertrude Margaret Bauman took the short carriage ride from her parents’ home at 71 East Livingston Avenue in Columbus to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. There, she married John Frederick Heinmiller, a plumber who worked with her father. After their nuptial Mass, the auburn-haired bride and her groom, 11 years her senior, returned to the garden of the Baumans’ home for a wedding breakfast.
Here they are around 1909 with their first two children. My grandpa, Jimmy, is on his father’s lap. His brother, Jack, is held by their mother.
“Gert,” as her husband called her, was a talented seamstress who enjoyed writing poetry for her grandchildren’s birthdays and singing her favorite songs. Among her nine surviving children and their families, she was best known for her coffee cake. Every week until she died in February 1955, after she and her husband returned from their Saturday-morning shopping trip to Central Market, she would make myriad loaves of this treat to share with her children. After going to church, each son or daughter would stop by their parents’ home at 1514 Studer Avenue to visit them, claim two of the cakes that were lined up on the kitchen table, and take them home for their family’s Sunday breakfast.
Here are Gertie and John with eight of their children on their 34th wedding anniversary, June 5, 1940. The ninth one was probably behind the camera, taking the picture.
Grandpa loved his Ma’s cake so much that my grandmother wrote her mother-in-law’s recipe for it in the cookbook she received from one of her friends as a wedding shower present.
In honor of my great-grandparents’ 107th wedding anniversary this week, we pulled out Grandma’s recipe book and whipped up a batch of Gert’s coffee cake. Although it’s a simple recipe, it’s time-consuming — the yeast dough has to raise three times before it’s baked. Here are some slices of the streusel-topped cake on a plate of Haviland China “Autumn Leaf,” a pattern developed as a premium for the Jewel Tea Company in 1927. Gert acquired dozens of pieces of “Autumn Leaf” to use for the weekly Sunday dinners she fixed for her family.
After I tried a piece, I can see why Grandpa said it “tasted like more.”
If you’d like Gert’s recipe, leave me a comment and I’ll send it to you.