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Coffee (cup)cake

Workplace celebrations are a perfect excuse to bake. I can test out a new recipe and don’t have to worry about having leftovers. This was a great recipe to try for my first coffee cake – simple, few ingredients, and rather quick.

Here’s what you’ll need and how it’s done:

• ¾ cup white flour
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ cup butter, melted

• ½ butter, room temperature
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
• ½ cup sour cream
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1⅓ cups flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• 1 pinch of salt
• Several dashes of cinnamon

For the topping, mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the melted butter. Mix until well blended.

For the cake, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and egg yolk, mix. Add the sour cream and vanilla, mix. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet ingredients. Stir until just blended. Add the topping.

I added a layer of wildberry jam between the batter and the topping. Fresh blueberries would be another excellent option. Lots of possibilities!

Bake at 350°F for ~20 minutes for cupcakes / ~35 minutes for cake (8 inch pan), or until a tester comes out clean.


The recipe has been adapted from Anna Olson’s book Back to Baking.


Four-bite brownies

After having more two-bite brownies a few weeks ago than I care to admit, I decided it was time to make my own version. Homemade brownies are so much better than store-bought, anyways.

I used by go-to brownie recipe, found here, but divided the batter into muffin cups and cooked them for ~15 minutes. I put about two large spoonfuls in each, but probably could have done with just one. The result turned out to be much better than I anticipated. Brownies cooked in muffin cups cook much more evenly, avoiding the “I prefer the center, more fudge-y part” vs. “I prefer the cooked edges” argument (the center is obviously way better).

Rhubarb muffins with cinnamon streusel

Rhubarb was on the most amazing sale ever last week, so I stocked up. Of course, my most favourite dish with rhubarb is strawberry rhubarb pie. It can’t be beat!! Unfortunately, it’s still about a month away from strawberry season here in Nova Scotia. I decided to “settle on” (and by settle, I mean found every excuse to bake) this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for rhubarb streusel muffins.

I’ve never baked with sour cream before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than that they’d hopefully be nice and moist. They are! Well… were (they’re long gone). If you’re going to try this recipe, I would recommend chopping the rhubarb into slightly smaller pieces and using slightly more than a cup. I also adjusted the recipe to make slightly less streusel and used only all-purpose flour.

Here’s the recipe as adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tbs granulated sugar
3 tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tbs butter, melted

1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
5 tbs butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1+ cup diced rhubarb, in 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix together flours, sugars, and spices. Mix in melted butter and stir until crumbly. Set aside for addition to batter and for topping.

Whisk together the egg and both sugars. Whisk in butter, then sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the sour cream mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in rhubarb and ~ half of the streusel mixture.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining streusel, pressing the crumbs into the batter so that they adhere.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Let cool. Enjoy!

Banana roundup

Since I always have bananas around the house, they’re bound to get too ripe every once and awhile, making the perfect excuse to bake. I usually stick to my classic banana bread recipe – it’s moist, delicious, always turns out well – but I’ve been wanting more and more to switch it up. Here are some of my favourite banana-focused recipes, some of which are on the top of my to try list. 

Streusel-Topped Banana Berry Muffins
Tart to Heart

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread with Cayenne
Baker Bettie

Baked Banana French Toast

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Honey Frosting 
Honey & Jam 



Carrot apple muffins

As I mentioned, we’ve started to change the way we cook meals in our house. That means having lots of veggies on hand all the time, including carrots. I found this recipe from the blog I Love Muffins and was too excited to try it. It was one of those instances where I had all the ingredients on hand. 


1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract


Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder/soda, salt). In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (carrots, applesauce, eggs, milk, oil, extract). Add the dry to the wet, in stages, while mixing. Bake at 350F for ~20 minutes.

This is a simple recipe and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. They’re denser muffins than I expected, though, and aren’t light and fluffy like others. At the same time, they’re very delicious and moist. Definitely good to bring out as a snack (and by out, I mean to class… which starts today… oh yay!).

Simple banana bread

I had done a previous post on peanut butter banana muffins, but not one on simple, regular banana bread. There isn’t too big of a difference between the recipes, but everyone has to have a go-to recipe for this. Here’s mine:

3-4 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flour
Some enthusiastic dashes of cinnamon!

Mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet. Put the batter into muffin cups or a loaf pan. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Bake at 350F for ~ 20-25 minutes for muffins and ~ 50-60 minutes for a loaf. Not sure if your muffins / loaf is done? Poke a fork into it. If it comes out clean, without batter, then it’s ready to be removed from the oven.


* Tip for extra deliciousness: mix in or add on top some frozen berries of your choice. It will give a nice burst of flavour. My favourite fruit to add to this recipe is raspberries! Mmmmm.

Peanut butter banana muffins

I’ve made plenty of banana bread in my life, but for some reason I’ve never thought much about adding the deliciousness of peanut butter. Given this obvious baking-lapse-in-judgement-and-creativity, I decide to mash together some bananas and peanut butter in a new recipe I like to call: peanut butter banana muffins. Yes, both original and descriptive! Well, here it is:

2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Some enthusiastic dashes of cinnamon

Mash up the bananas. Add the peanut butter. Mash it up. Add egg. Continue mashing.
Mash in the oil and then the sugar.
In a separate bowl, mash up the dry ingredients.
Add the dry to the wet and mash it up.
Mash the mixture into muffin cups or a lined loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes.

I noticed that making this recipe include peanut butter changed the cooking speed of the muffins. They cooked much fasted and browned much more quickly than a plain banana muffin or loaf. Keep an eye on the goodies in the oven and then remove when lightly goldened. Use a fork or toothpick to check when they’re done (the removed fork/pick should be clean with no batter).

The last step is obviously to enjoy. Yums.