Muffins/Quick Bread Feed

Lemon Almond Loaf Cake with Rosemary Drizzle

Lemon Almond Loaf Cake Rosemary Drizzle Cake sliced

I’m always searching for a great recipe for lemon pound cake, or tea bread, the kind I remember having in Paris, moist but light, and loaded with lemon flavor. This might be the best one I’ve tried, which I discovered on an episode of Milk Street TV called “Baking in Paris”. The recipe is inspired by the show’s visit to Rose Bakery, a cafe owned by Rose Carrarini,  where they sampled Rose’s acclaimed Lemon-Almond Pound Cake. Her secret is to replace some of the wheat flour with almond flour. Almond flour makes the cake's crumb extra tender and moist and gives it a more interesting texture than wheat flour alone. The original recipe uses a traditional lemon drizzle, but I decided to try a rosemary lemon drizzle which I saw John Whaite (English baker who won the third series of The Great British Bake Off) do on a Baking Mad “makeittogether competition The rosemary lemon drizzle soaks into the loaf cake and brings it to another level – an absolutely fantastic combination.



195 grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

241 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

100 grams (1 cup) almond flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) salted butter, cut into 14 pieces, room temperature

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Lemon Rosemary Syrup

108 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar

6 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

1 sprig of rosemary


  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess.
  2. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla until combined; set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the 241 grams sugar and the lemon zest on low until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add both flours, the baking powder and salt and mix until combined, about 10 seconds.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the butter a piece at a time. Once all the butter has been added, continue mixing on low until the mixture is crumbly and no powdery bits remain, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. With the mixer still running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream and mix for about 10 seconds. Increase to medium-high and beat until the batter is light and fluffy, 1 to 1½ minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice. The batter will be thick.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface, then sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds. Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven to 300°F. Continue to bake until the top is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean, another 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. While the cake is baking, in a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the 108 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and rosemary sprig, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches a bubbly simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
  8. When the cake is done, cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, then turn it upright. Using a toothpick, poke small holes in the surface at 1-inch intervals. Brush all of the lemon-rosemary syrup onto the cake, allowing it to soak in. Cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours.

Tips: Don’t use cold butter or cold eggs. The butter must be softened to room temperature so it integrates into the sugar-flour mixture. And the eggs must be at room temperature, too, not chilled, so they don't cause the butter to stiffen up when added to the mixer. Lastly, don't rotate the cake as it bakes. Jostling the pan increases the chance the batter will deflate, resulting in a dense, under-risen cake.

Lemon Almond Loaf Cake Rosemary Drizzle loaf pan
Lemon Almond Loaf Cake Rosemary Drizzle loaf pan 

Lemon Almond Loaf Cake Rosemary Drizzle

Lemon Almond Loaf Cake Rosemary Drizzle2

Gingerbread Muffins with Crystallized Ginger Topping

Gingerbread Muffins with Crystallized Ginger Topping

Delicious muffin recipe from Cook’s Country magazine that is perfect to make around the holidays. Ground ginger and crystallized ginger pack these moist and tender muffins with great flavor. I substituted Saco Buttermilk powder and water for the buttermilk and they turned out fine. The topping Is optional, but adds a nice crunch to the muffin tops.



2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)

1 cup buttermilk (or 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder & 1 cup water)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly

For Topping

2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger

¼ cup sugar

Be careful not to overmix the batter in step 2; otherwise the muffins will be tough.

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice (and buttermilk powder if using) in medium bowl until combined. Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and buttermilk (or water if using buttermilk powder) in large bowl until combined. Add melted butter and whisk vigorously until thick and homogeneous. Whisk half of dry ingredients into wet ingredients until two begin to come together and then add remaining dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined (do not overmix).
  1. For Topping: Process crystallized ginger with sugar in food processor until finely ground.
  1. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin, will almost fill cup. Sprinkle even portion of ginger sugar over each muffin. Bake until golden and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Old Fashioned Coffee Cake Thick Crumb Topping

Crumb cake piece 

This recipe for "New York-Style Crumb Cake" from Cook's Illustrated reminded me of my years in NYC where you could find big squares of thick crumb coffee cake in nearly every corner deli. It's also reminiscent of Drake's Coffee Cakes - a primarily east coast product made even more famous by a Seinfeld episode. Cook's Illustrated makes it clear not to be tempted to use all-purpose flour in this recipe, the cake flour is essential to producing a fine tender crumb. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt. When topping the cake, take care to not push the crumbs into the batter. This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. If doubling, increase the baking time to about 45-50 minutes. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Crumb Topping


1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

1/8 teaspoon table salt  

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm 

1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces) 




1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces) 

1/2 cup granulated sugar (3.5 ounces) 

1/4 teaspoon baking soda  

1/4 teaspoon table salt  

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool 

1 large egg  

1 large egg yolk  

1 teaspoon vanilla extract  

1/3 cup buttermilk  

 Confectioners' sugar for dusting 



1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.


2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.


3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.


4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Using both hands, break apart the crumb dough, rolling the broken dough between your thumb and forefinger to form crumbs about the size of large peas. Continue until all the dough has been broken down into crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the cake batter, breaking apart any larger chunks, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.


Crumb cake prebake


Crumb cake baked  

Naturally Sweet Maple Bran Muffins

Naturally Sweet Maple Bran Muffins 

America’s Test Kitchen recently published a new cookbook called Naturally Sweet (available here) which features classic desserts and baked goods using recipes that rely only on natural, less-processed sweeteners like Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar), coconut sugar, date sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Much attention is focused now on reducing the amount of sugar that we consume in our diets. In a recent NY Times article, it was determined that “the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead” (O’Connor. “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat”. Sep 9, 2016) This morning, I decided to try the Bran Muffins recipe and they are truly delicious. Most muffin recipes contain close to 30 grams of serving per serving, but ATK has whittled it down to 12 grams while still maintaining a sweet, moist, well-structured muffin. I highly recommend this cookbook and look forward to trying all of the recipes. One note, I substituted canola oil for the melted butter.

Print recipe - Download Naturally Sweet Maple Bran Muffins 

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups wheat bran

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

½ cup maple syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or vegetable oil)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

½ cup of raisins, chopped

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Grease or spray 12-cup muffin tin, set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, wheat bran, baking powder, soda, spices and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, syrup, butter (or oil) eggs, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients, just until combined. Fold in raisins.
  3. Divide batter evenly into prepared tin, an ice cream scoop works well. Bake 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer muffins to wire rack.

Naturally Sweet Maple Bran Muffins pan

St Patrick's Day Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread sliced 

March is the perfect time to bake a traditional Irish Soda Bread and after trying several versions, this one from Cooks Illustrated is a favorite. For a more traditional soda bread, reduce the sugar by half and omit the raisins. If you're in the mood for more Irish fare for St Patrick's Day - try making a Guiness Beef Stew or some Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes) or take a trip to Dublin and stay at one of my favorite hotels,The Merrion, which I wrote about in an article for Huffington Post - A Visit to the Merrion Hotel


Download St Patricks Day Irish Soda Bread recipe


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1 cup cake flour 

1/4 cup granulated sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar 

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt 

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter 

1 1/4 cups buttermilk 

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup raisins, golden raisins, or currants (or combo of dark and golden raisins)


1.    Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.


2.    Add buttermilk, egg, raisins,  and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)


3.    Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet. Cut a cross shape into the top.


4.    Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, covering bread with aluminum foil if it is browning too much. Remove from oven and brush with some melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes

Irish Soday Bread


My Favorite Corn Muffins

Corn muffins 3 

Corn muffins are so versatile, but many can turn out dry and tasteless. The sour cream in this recipe keeps them moist and tender every time. They’re perfect in the morning with some homemade jam, or serve them at dinner with Chili Con Carne or Chicken Tortilla Soup. To get the best corn flavor, I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal. It comes in a variety of grinds. Fine will produce a tender muffin, while medium grind creates a bit more texture.  You can find Bob’s Red Mill products at most grocery stores or order from their website -

Download My Favorite Corn Muffins recipe

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)

1 cup fine or medium-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (4 ½ ounces)

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1. Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with papers and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside.

3. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.


5. Bake until muffins are light golden brown and skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes; invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, cool 5 minutes longer, and serve warm.


Bobs Red Mill Corn Meals

Best Fall Harvest Apple Cinnamon Cake

Fall Harvest Apple Cake

It’s hard to believe summer is nearly behind us, and as apple picking season approaches, I’m reminded of this all-time family favorite cake. My sister Ann has been making a version of this cake for as long as I can remember. It’s often referred to as “Jewish Apple Cake” (probably due to the fact that the recipe is completely dairy-free - it uses orange juice instead of milk and oil instead of butter) and there are hundreds of recipes on the internet for it, however this is my favorite version. It makes an excellent coffee cake and freezes well too.

Download Best Fall Harvest Apple Cake 

Apple Filling:

4 apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ cup sugar



3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ¾ cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Combine the ground cinnamon and the ¼ cup sugar together. Toss the sliced apples with cinnamon sugar and set aside

2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed for 5 minutes until thick and pale yellow.  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

4. Whisk the oil and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside.

5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. Add half the oil and juice mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat with another 1/3 of dry ingredients, then the oil/juice, and finish with remaining 1/3 of dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 of the sliced apple mixture.. Pour another 1/3 of batter over apples and spread batter with rubber spatula. Add remaining apple slices, and top with remaining batter. It’s OK if a few apple slices poke through, the batter will cover the apples as the cake bakes.

7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. Garnish with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Fall Harvest Apple Cake apple layer 1

Fall Harvest Apple Cake cooling

Best Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

This is a delicious moist, dark, spicy pumpkin bread. The whole wheat flour not only makes it a healthier choice, but also lends great flavor to the spices. It’s perfect on its own, or you can make “sandwiches” with cream cheese and thinly sliced apples. The cornmeal gives the bread a great texture.

Download Best Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread recipe

2 ¼ cups (10 ounces) whole wheat flour

½ cup (2 ounces) corn meal

1 ½ tsp. soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. cloves

½ tsp. nutmeg

¾ tsp. salt

2/3 cup (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

4 eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup water

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup raisins (or currants, dried cranberries or dried cherries)

½ cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two medium sized load pans (8.5x4”)
  2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, soda, powder, spices and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until blended, by hand or with a hand held mixer.
  4. With large spoon, beat in pumpkin, eggs, water, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix together just until blended. Stir in raisins and walnuts.
  5. Pour into the 2 prepared pans and bake until wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about an hour. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Pumpkin Bread batter
Pumpkin Bread Baked

Easy Whole Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Easy Whole Cranberry Sauce Muffins2

I generally like to make my own cranberry sauce for holiday dinners, but if you happen to have some extra cans of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce in your cupboards, this is a great way to use it up. They muffins are great for winter morning brunch and are incredibly moist. Feel free to substitute whole wheat flour, or a combination of both.

Download Easy-whole-cranberry-sauce-muffins-recipe


¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

½ cup milk

1 cup (8 ounces) whole cranberry sauce

½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


For topping:

1. Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl and set aside.


1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with papers and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside

3. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in cream cheese and mix for 30 seconds. Add eggs, vanilla, and zest and beat to combine. Remove bowl from mixer stand and add flour mixture and milk and, using wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix together until just combined. Fold in cranberry sauce and nuts; don't overmix. 

4. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin. Sprinkle each muffin with 1 teaspoon of sugar/spice mixture.

5. Bake until light golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, and cool 5 minutes.

Easy Whole Cranberry Sauce Muffins batter

Easy Whole Cranberry Sauce Muffins prebake

Easy Whole Cranberry Sauce Muffins tin

Sour Cream Maple Walnut Muffins

Sour Cream Maple Walnut Muffins

My aunt recently told me about a note she found that I sent her nearly 20 years ago. In it, I apparently raved about a maple syrup muffin that I wanted her to try. I had no memory of it but luckily she saved the note which included the recipe and I decided to make them this morning. They’re still worth raving about. The combination of maple syrup and walnut makes for a great fall/winter muffin, and the sour cream keep them moist and tender. They’re perfect for the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Download Sour Cream Maple Walnut Muffins recipe

1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin pan or line with papers.

2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, then gradually add the maple syrup, beating constantly.

4. Beat in the sour cream and egg.

5. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon. Add the combined dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick comes clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove. Serve warm with sour cream and drizzle of syrup, if desired.