Cookies and Cream Donut Muffins

I wanted to make donut muffins for breakfast this morning, but I didn’t really feel like cinnamon.  Crazy, I know.  I’ve done chocolate frosted, vanilla frosted and powdered sugar donut muffins.   They were all delicious.  But, what could I do to make these different?  Ooo, how about cookies and cream?  Don’t Oreos make just about everything better?  I decided to use the recipe for donut muffins from Back in the Day Bakery as the starting point, omit the spices, and fold in crushed Oreos.  Then I added a thick vanilla frosting and some crushed Oreos on top for garnish.  Okay, so maybe these look like cupcakes.  But, they really do have the texture of cake donuts and those are considered breakfast.  So, I am going to go ahead, take it upon myself and declare these perfectly acceptable for breakfast.  I mean, definitely not for everyday, but as a special treat when you want to see your kids eyes light up like it was Christmas.  If you ever wondered why I bake, this is it. ♥

Cookies and Cream Donut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins (I would have gotten 13, but I wasn’t going to bake 1 extra muffin)

For the muffins:

3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

8 Oreos, coarsely chopped

To make the muffins:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350◦F. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.

In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. I used my Kitchen Aid.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth. Fold in the chopped Oreos.  Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.

With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately two-thirds full. I had a bit of leftover batter.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.  Let the donuts cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting or glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp whole milk   I used heavy cream, but I had to add almost 3 tbsp to get it to the consistency I wanted.  If you want more of a glaze, add more cream or milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 crushed Oreos to sprinkle on top

In small bowl, stir together sugar, milk (or heavy cream- start with 1Tbsp) and vanilla extract.  Add more cream or milk, a bit at a time, and whisk until incorporated.  Continue to add more milk or cream until you get the consistency you want. Use immediately to frost/glaze the doughnuts.  Sprinkle the Oreos on top of the frosting before it sets.

Source: the donut muffin is adapted from Back in the Day Bakery.  The frosting is adapted from Sprinkle Bakes.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake

I was looking on Pinterest (where else?) for a recipe to use up some blueberries and I came across this blueberry cream cheese coffee cake.  I really love anything with crumb topping and then you one up a coffee cake with cream cheese?  Now we’re talking.  The cake batter is easy enough to put together.  Then you fold in the blueberries and chunks of cream cheese to complete the batter.  The crumb topping is made by just mashing together sugar, flour and cold butter.  I have tried the two fork method and I even have a pastry blender, but I find that nothing works better than mushing it with your hands.   The cake is so pretty after it is baked with all the bright purple blueberries poking out from beneath the golden crumb topping.  When you taste it, the cake itself is moist and buttery.   Then you bite into a blueberry and it’s sweet and juicy.  Then you hit a pocket of cream cheese and it’s well, as you can imagine, creamy.  I love all the different texture and taste contrasts in this cake.  Another thing I love about coffeecake?  It is one of the few times where it is completely acceptable to eat cake and call it breakfast.  Although, that’s not to say that I haven’t eaten chocolate chip cookies in the morning and called it breakfast.  But that was only me, hiding in the kitchen, stuffing them in my mouth before my kids woke up and wanted cookies for breakfast too. 😀

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield:  an 8 x 8 cake.  I used a 9 inch round cake pan.

For the cake:

1/4 cup (4 Tbs) butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla   (my addition)

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all- purpose flour, DIVIDED

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, washed, dried and picked over for stems    I used fresh

3 oz cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes

For the crumb topping:

4 Tablespoons flour

4 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 375F.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,  cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla (if using).  Combine 1 cup of flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.  Start and end with the flour mixture.

Toss the blueberries with remaining 2 Tbs flour.  With a spatula, fold the blueberries and cream cheese cubes into the batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 8 inch baking pan.  I used a 9in round.  I wish I would have put a parchment circle on the bottom so the cake would have been easier to remove and put on my cake stand.

Prepare the crumb topping:  In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.  Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mine took about 35 minutes.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you use frozen berries, do not thaw before using or they will bleed into the cake.  It will still taste good, but it won’t look as pretty.
  • When making the crumb topping, I find just using my hands to work better than two forks or a pastry blender.

Source: Slightly adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, originally from Taste of Home magazine

Blueberry Buckle

Holy cow! Pretty soon I will have made so many recipes from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, you won’t even have to buy it! 😀  The book really is that good.  The other day, I bought three pints of blueberries because they were super cheap.  We ate some, froze some, and  I decided that I had to make the Back in the Day Bakery’s blueberry buckle with the rest.  But, I had to get rid of at least half of this cake or else I would be eating the whole dang thing.  There are worse problems I suppose.  But, I convinced my father in law to swing by and pick some up.  It really didn’t take much convincing.  And, he was nice enough to give me some raspberries that he picked from his garden in exchange.  Sounds like a fair trade to me.

This is a really simple cake to put together.  The batter is similar to other coffee cake batters.  But, I love the addition of the sour cream and lemon zest for a bit of tang.  The recipe makes a ton of streusel.  It may seem like too much, but don’t be tempted to not use it all.  Come on, the cinnamon streusel is the best part!  I ate it warm out of the oven for breakfast and it was delicious.  My mother in law enjoyed hers with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Okay, maybe not for the piece I ate for breakfast but on one of the other two pieces I ate that day.  And, now I have none left.  Oh well, I will have to keep this in mind for next time.

Back in the Day Bakery’s Blueberry Buckle

Yield:  one 9 inch round cake

For the crumble:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
8 Tbsp (1 stick ) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the cake:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cardamom  I omitted
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 granulated cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Butter the sides of a 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Make the crumb topping:  Combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in a small bowl and mix until well blended.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the crumbs are the size of peas.  Put the topping in a covered container and set in the freezer to chill while you make the cake batter.

To make the buckle:  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low,  and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch.  Sprinkle the top lightly with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Wrapped in plastic, the buckle will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Back in the Day Bakery’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

I’m sure I have said this before, but I am in love with The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  Everything I have made from it has been amazing and there are still so many more recipes I have bookmarked to try.  While looking through the book again, I saw these cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins.  Now, a few months ago, I made a similar recipe from the famed Downtown Bakery and Creamery.  But, those were so good that I figured I would give this recipe a try and see how they compare.   Two great things about doughnut muffins are 1. you don’t need a special pan and 2. they are baked, not fried (can we just pretend there aren’t 2 sticks of butter?).  The batter is super easy to prepare and comes together quickly- even with a baby at your feet pulling everything out of every cabinet within his reach.  After they bake, you are supposed to let them cool before coating them in melted butter and then rolling them in cinnamon sugar.  You know I couldn’t wait.  Okay, so I burned my fingers. but just a little.  Oh well, it was worth it.  Besides, I had to have breakfast on the table ASAP before Jack and Sammie started whining that they were hungry and wanted cereal instead.  Why is it so hard to compete with Frosted Flakes?  Damn you Tony! 😀

I have to say, these tasted just as good as those muffins from Downtown Bakery and Creamery.  But in Back in the Day Bakery’s favor, I think theirs baked up a bit taller, fluffier and more tender.  So, I may have found a new favorite doughnut muffin.  But, to be fair, I haven’t had the Downtown Bakery and Creamery’s muffins in awhile.  So, I am going by memory…which I’ll admit, some days isn’t so good.  I think this calls for a head-to-head competition.

Back in the Day Bakery’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffins:

3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg    I used ground nutmeg from a jar

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom   I omitted because I didn’t have any

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

For the coating:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

To make the muffins: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350◦F. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.

In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. I used my Kitchen Aid.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth; do not overmix- or they will be dense.

With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately two-thirds full. I had a bit of leftover batter.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.

While the muffins bake, set up two bowls to dunk them in. In one bowl you will have the melted butter, and in the other bowl you will have the cinnamon sugar.

Let the doughnuts cool completely on a wire rack. If you can wait, I couldn’t 😀 Dunk them in the melted butter, then coat them with the cinnamon sugar. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Cook’s Illustrated Individual Coffeecakes

My kids just love those little Hostess Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cakes.  I have to admit, I kind of love them too. 😀  When I saw this recipe for individual coffeecakes in The Quick Recipe, that’s exactly what it reminded me of.  You get the same soft, fluffy little cakes perfectly complemented by a sweet, cinnamon streusel ribbon.  So good.  I just love that you can have warm coffee cake muffins on the table in a mere 45 minutes!!  I also love that you can just grab one and go and not make a total mess because the streusel is contained on the inside.  You should see my kids faces after they eat, well, just about anything. So, that’s always a plus for me.

My son, Jack, for the first time in his 6 years of life, slept until 9am!  I was upstairs with a hot pad on my aching back from carrying around my little butterball baby, Alex, all the time.  So I didn’t get to see him eat one.  Later, when I asked him if he liked the muffins, he said they were so good.  Who made them?  Come on silly, Jack.  Who do you think made them?  They must be pretty delicious because usually when I try to make a homemade replica of something I buy in the store, my kids don’t like it.  It’s just not the same.  Heck no it isn’t the same….it’s better.  But, they never see it that way.  In this case, I’m sure the chocolate chips and the glaze tipped the scales in my favor.  Sorry, Hostess.

Cook’s Illustrated Individual Coffeecakes

Yield:  12 cakes

1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) unbleached all purpose flour   DIVIDED

1/2 cup  packed (3.5oz) dark brown sugar    DIVIDED    I used light

1 cup (7oz) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

semisweet chocolate chips- (to sprinkle on top of the streusel)   optional

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F.  Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and all of the granulated sugar in the work bowl of a food processor.  Combine the mixture in five 1 second pulses.  Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and place it in a medium bowl.  Add to it the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and the cinnamon, mix to combine, set aside.

Add the remaining 1 cup flour to the mixture remaining in the food processor work bowl along with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Combine the mixture in five 1 second pulses.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture breaks down into small pebbly pieces that resemble wet sand, about ten one second pulses.  Add the eggs and sour cream and process the mixture until it is well combined and thick, about eight 1 second pulses.

Place enough batter (about 2 TBSP) into each muffin cup to cover the bottom surface of the cup, but rise no more than 1/2 inch up the sides.  Sprinkle with about 1 1/2 Tbsp streusel mixture over the batter.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if using.  I used mini chocolate chips for half the batch.  I didn’t use all the streusel.  Cover with an additional 1 to 2 Tbsp of batter, or enough to fill the cup to 3/4 full.  Bake until light golden brown and the cake feels firm, but springs back when touched, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time.  Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and cool 5 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with Quick Confectioners’ Sugar Icing below..Serve immediately.

Quick Confectioners’ Sugar Icing:

1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbsp water

I added a splash of vanilla

Whisk the powdered sugar, water and vanilla together (if using) in a medium bowl until smooth.  Place a piece of wax paper underneath the wire rack of cakes. Spoon about 2 tsp glaze on top of each upside down cake (narrow end facing up).  Make an X in the glaze so it runs down the sides of the cake in 4 places.  I prefer to drizzle the glaze on top.

Source The Quick Recipe

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup

On Saturday night, my husband asked what I wanted him to make me for my Mother’s Day breakfast.  While that is so sweet, and I really appreciate it, I absolutely love to make breakfast.  I just couldn’t give it up.  So I said it would make me happiest if I made breakfast for everyone.  Begrudgingly, my husband gave in.  😀

I subscribe to a bunch of recipe sites, so I must get at least 50 emails a day.  When I opened an email a few days ago from Fine Cooking, I was immediately drawn to the photo of light looking muffin, smothered in syrup and topped with fresh strawberries.  When I read the name, Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup, I knew these had to be made and soon.  It would be the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast! I love the idea of making pancakes in muffin tins.  It’s brilliant because everything is done at the same time and can be served piping hot.  No sweating over a hot griddle and flipping pancakes. No preheating the oven to warm finished pancakes while you make more.  No trying to get bacon done in between all the pouring and flipping without burning anything.  Here, you just pour the batter in the wells and bake.  Done.  I loved the texture of these muffins, so different from anything I’ve had before. Since the egg whites are beaten and folded into the batter, you get a light, souffle textured muffin that tastes just like a pancake.  How does that not make you want to make these muffins immediately?  If you don’t, you must have willpower of steel.  I envy you. 😀

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup

Yield:  24 muffins, 12 servings


Nonstick cooking spray
10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
6 T bs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with the cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks.

Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup—you can fill the cups to the rims. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Strawberry Syrup –

1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries

While the muffins are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in a medium serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the berries and set aside in a warm spot.  I served mine with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, syrup for dipping and strawberries on the side.

To Serve:

With an offset spatula, pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.

Make Ahead:

You can make the batter up to 2 hours ahead through the step of folding in the beaten egg whites. Refrigerate it, covered, in its bowl. Do not portion it into muffin tins until you’re ready to bake.

Source:  Fine Cooking

Mini rainbow vanilla bean donuts

I have a mini donut pan that I have only used once or twice.  I am really trying to make an effort to use all of the crazy, one-use baking pans I have.  I thought I would make vanilla donuts for breakfast this morning.  But, then I was thinking, what isn’t made better with the addition of vanilla bean?  Umm…nothing.  So, I threw that in too.  But, I didn’t want to make plain old vanilla donuts.  I wanted to wow my children a bit.  But how? I thought of my daughter Sammie and her favorite color, rainbow.  So, I’ll make rainbow donuts!!

I just love how these turned out.  But let me warn you, they do take a bit of time and lots of dishes.  The batter is super easy to put together, taking only minutes.  The time comes from dividing the batter into 6 colors, dying them, putting them into piping bags, piping them and then baking them.  The big problem I discovered was that I only have one pan.  I put the 12 on table and I thought my children, who usually eat like birds would each have like 2, and my husband would have the other 6.  Nope.  They inhaled them in about 1 minute.  My husband was lucky to grab one out of Sammie’s hand and pop it into his mouth before she knew what was happening.  So, then it took me awhile to get the next pan prepared for the oven and baked.  Meanwhile everyone was waiting, impatiently, and starving.  Two notes to self:  buy 2 more donut pans and do not start a project like this unless you get up way before everyone else.  But, let me say these were delicious donuts.  They were so light and fluffy.  And, the vanilla bean gave them the perfect extra shot of vanilla flavor.  So, while these may take a bit of extra time and effort, these donuts will be a delicious, showstopping breakfast for your children.  And, based on Sammie and Jack’s happy faces, I must say, time well spent. 😀

Mini rainbow vanilla bean donuts

Donut batter:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Seeds from one vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, sift together all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and butter and beat until just combined.  I divided the batter into 6 bowls and colored them with Americolor gels – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

Scrape each colored batter into a separate small sandwich bag.  I put each bag into a small glass for support.  Cut a small hole from the corner of the red bag and press gently to place a big dot of batter into the well.  Do the same with the orange.  The red will have spread a bit, so place the orange so it overlaps by about 1/2.  Continue around the well with yellow, green, blue and ending with the purple to complete the donut.  They should be about half full.

Bake 4-8 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 4–5 minutes before removing. Finish doughnuts with vanilla glaze. Doughnuts are best served fresh.

Vanilla glaze
1 cup confectioner’ s sugar
1 tbsp whole milk   I used heavy cream, but I had to add almost 4 tbsp to get it to the consistency I wanted.
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Food coloring optional
sprinkles   optional

In small bowl, stir together sugar, milk (or heavy cream- start with 1Tbsp, and slowly add more until you get the right consistency) and vanilla extract until sugar is completely dissolved.  If using, add food coloring and stir until color is uniform.  Use immediately to glaze doughnuts.  Sprinkle on nonpareils if using.

Source: Sprinkle Bakes

rainbow donuts tray

Martha’s Classic Crumb Cake

So, it’s Sunday morning, about 6:30 AM and I’m in the midst of my usual scramble trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. I really don’t feel like the usual pancakes or French toast.  So, I start thinking about making a cinnamon crumb cake.  I really don’t remember the last time I made one and it’s my husband’s favorite.  I was leafing through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and I found a recipe for classic crumb cake.  Looking at the picture, I was instantly drawn to the sheer amount of streusel.  I am such a sucker for it.  Now, please don’t freak out when you see 3 1/2 sticks of butter in the topping.  I know that’s a a ton, especially since there is 1 1/4 sticks of butter in the cake.  I don’t know about you, but I have a Julia Child like love affair with butter and I have to admit even I was taken aback for a second.  But, keep in mind, this recipe really does make a huge, 13 x 9 crumb cake.  I would say it is definitely enough to serve at least 12, if not 16 people, given its richness.  The cake is obviously really buttery and moist and the cinnamon streusel is the perfect texture contrast.  I like to serve mine with just a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, along side a piping hot cup of coffee.  Ah, what a perfect leisurely Sunday morning breakfast, right?

I sent a large portion of the cake with my husband to school and the kids loved it.  One student told Justin not to tell me, but as good as the cake is, the streusel is the best part.  Why would I take offense?  She’s totally right.  As far as I am concerned, cake is just a vehicle to eat streusel.  If you just ate a bowl of streusel, most people would frown upon that.  I say most, because I certainly wouldn’t. 😀

Martha’s Classic Crumb Cake

Yield: one 13 x 9 cake, 12 to 16 servings.

1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and sour cream; beat just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Take caution not to overbake, or the cake will be dry!  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Crumb Topping

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 ½ sticks (1 ¾ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

1. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, until large, moist clumps form. (Alternatively, mix together in a food processor.) Topping can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source:  Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Downtown Bakery and Creamery Donut Muffins: 4 New Flavors

I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl when it comes to menu planning.  So, early Sunday morning, I decided I need to quickly think of a special breakfast to make my family for Easter.  I thought the donut muffins from Downtown Bakery and Creamery would be a great choice.  But then I remembered that my daughter, Sammie, didn’t like the cinnamon sugar very much.  What’s not to like about cinnamon sugar?  I can’t say I get it, but I know she loves chocolate like me.  So, I decided to make some with chocolate glaze.  Then as long as I was making chocolate glaze, I might as well make vanilla glaze for my husband too.  Oh, but wait, how about vanilla bean sugar?  And regular powdered sugar?  So, very quickly plain cinnamon sugar donut muffins spiraled into 5 different flavors.  All the toppings are easy to do, but it does end up dirtying a bunch of dishes.  I always have cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar and powdered sugar on hand, so those were ready to go.  Then, I was able to make the two glazes while the muffins baked.  So, while it seems like a lot of work to make all those toppings, it really wasn’t.  Jack and Sammie both said “Wow!” when they saw all the flavors (especially the sprinkles!) and they each inhaled 4 muffins.  Well, Sammie ate the tops off of 4 muffins.  😀 What better way to start off Easter than with a super delicious breakfast, followed by searching for baskets, hunting for eggs and spending the day with the people I love more than anything?  For me, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Downtown Bakery and Creamery Donut muffins 5 ways:

Donut muffin recipe:

  • Again I made half of the original recipe and baked them in a mini muffin pan.  This time I got 36 muffins and I baked them for 15 to 18 minutes.

5 Toppings:

Cinnamon Sugar: (the original)

Cinnamon Sugar

melted butter- 2 sticks for original recipe, 1 stick for half a recipe (1/2 stick if you are doing multiple flavors)

Brush the warm muffins with melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Vanilla Bean Sugar:

Vanilla bean sugar

melted butter- 2 sticks for original recipe, 1 stick for half recipe (1/2 stick if you are doing multiple flavors)

Brush the warm muffins with melted butter and roll in vanilla bean sugar.

Powdered Sugar:

about 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl

Roll warm muffins in powdered sugar

Chocolate glaze:  (This is the original recipe, I made half and still had lots left over.)

5 Tbs. unsalted butter

4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water

sprinkles optional

Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the top pan of the double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips. I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and hot water until combined. Set the top pan over the simmering water and keep the glaze warm until ready to use.  Dip the doughnuts, one at a time, into the warm glaze, covering the top half of each doughnut with glaze. Immediately add sprinkles if desired.  Place the doughnuts, glazed side up, on the wire rack and let the glaze set for 10 minutes

Vanilla glaze:  This is the original recipe, I made half and still had lots left over.

Follow the instructions for preparing the chocolate glaze, omitting the chocolate chips and decreasing the hot water to 3 Tbs.

Sources:  Fine Cooking for the donut muffins.  Williams-Sonoma for the chocolate and vanilla glaze.  Better Homes and Gardens for the vanilla bean sugar.

Note:  You will need to use your judgment to adjust the amount of topping depending on whether you make the original recipe or half recipe, regular sized muffins or mini, and the number of flavors you decide to make.

Chocolate Oven Pancake

Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfasts.  But, making 4 pancakes at a time over the stove or 8 if I feel like dragging out the electric griddle, isn’t always convenient.  It is just so hard to make the bacon or sausage at the same time and keep everything hot, especially with one or two children underfoot.  The solution to this, of course, is to make an oven pancake.  It’s super quick and easy and delicious.  You just make pancake batter, but then spread it on a cookie sheet, bake it and cut it into squares.  While it bakes, you can get all the yummy sides prepared.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about!! 😀

My daughter Sammie is in love with these pancakes.  As she inhaled her pancake, she proudly told my husband how she was tearing up her breakfast.  Which, to me is a feat, because she hardly eats anything for breakfast if it is not cereal.  But, Justin is like, well of course you ate your breakfast Sammie, you had chocolate cake.   To which Sammie replies, “No, not chocolate cake daddy, chocolate pancakes!!”  No use trying to argue semantics with a five year old.  Okay, so maybe these are closer to chocolate cake than pancakes.  So, yeah, they probably aren’t an everyday breakfast but a nice, special, once in awhile breakfast for sure.  To serve, I cut the pancake into squares, dust it with powdered sugar and top it with sweet whipped cream and strawberries.  So see, at least I served it with some fruit!! 😀

 iChocolate Oven Pancake

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder   I used Valrhona (dutch processed)

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup mini semisweet chips

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted     I omitted

Preheat the oven to 425F.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.  In a small bowl, combine milk, egg, butter and vanilla.  Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 15x10x1 baking pan.  I used baking spray and I used a 13×9 pan.  The first time I made this, I used the 15×10 and I thought it was too thin and dry.  When I made it in the 13×9, it was thicker (more pancake-like) and very moist.  Perfect. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and almonds if using.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the surface looks dry and the edges pull away from the pan.  Mine only took 8 minutes, so watch carefully.  I would start checking at 7 minutes with a toothpick…just try to avoid a chocolate chip.  Cut into 12 squares (if using a 15×10) or 9 squares (if using the 13×9).

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes 2006

Helpful Hints:

  • I highly recommend baking this pancake in a 13×9, though the original recipe calls for a 15×10.
  • Watch the pancake carefully.  Mine finished in half the time.  Since the pancake is so dark, you can’t watch for color change.  I would do a toothpick check.
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