For this acclaimed pastry chef, home tastes like a coffee cake

“You’re grounded.”

Remember those days? Mindy Segal does. Her parents grounded her regularly while she was growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She was dyslexic, a bad student with a bad attitude by her own admission, who preferred to skip school and hop a bus downtown. But once she was stuck at home with nothing to do but watch Julia Child and Jeff Smith’s “The Frugal Gourmet” on TV, she started cooking and baking herself. Her mother owned a cookbook published by their synagogue with a recipe for sour cream coffee cake that caught Segal’s attention early on. 

“I have eaten this cake since I was a little girl,” she told me recently, as we stood in the kitchen of Mindy’s HotChocolate, her restaurant here in Wicker Park. “It’s a simple 1-2-3 cake, but the things I’ve done to transform it made me who I am. It’s

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