Muffins/Quick Bread Feed

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/300g) whole wheat flour

½ cup (2 ounces/60g) 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/155g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (14 ounces/400g) sugar

2 cups ( 15 ounces/500g) mashed or canned pumpkin

4 eggs, at room temperature

2/3 (5 ounces/160mL) cup water

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup (5 ounces/155g) raisins (or currants, dried cranberries or dried cherries)

½ ( 2ounces/60g) cup pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted, cooled. and then chopped

Pepitas or sanding sugar for top garnish

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, sprinkle batter with pepitas or sanding sugar, 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.


Perfect Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Perfect Pumpkin Spice Muffins

 I use pumpkin all year long, but it’s especially nice during the autumn months. These muffins are lightly sweetened with brown sugar, and stay very moist.  Pumpkin works particularly well with whole wheat and creates a very tender muffin. This recipe also works as a bread, just pour the batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

  Download Perfect Pumpkin Spice Muffins recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. cloves

1 stick butter, room temperature or 1/2 canola oil

1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin

¾ cup finely chopped pecans

¾ cup golden raisins or dried cranberries, optional

Pumpkin seeds, for sprinkling muffin tops, optional

1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers and lightly spray papers with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugars in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy by hand, or with a handheld or standing mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of mixing bowl. Beat in vanilla and pumpkin. Using large mixing spoon, add the dry ingredients, mixing gently by hand until evenly moistened. Stir in nuts and raisins.

4. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, if desired. Bake 20-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then finishing cooling on rack.


Big Island Pineapple Upside Down Muffins

Pineapple Upside Down Muffin

I just got back from a quick trip to the Big Island in Hawaii where my friend had a plate of individual pineapple upside down cakes waiting on the kitchen table. They were absolutely scrumptious and came from the local Mamane Bakery in Kamuela. I decided to try them at home using my standard muffin batter and create a slightly less sweet tribute to Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I often like to substitute up to 1 cup of whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour for an equal measure of the all-purpose flour which give the muffins a nice wholesome flavor.

Download Big Island Pineapple Upside Down Muffins recipe   


Pineapple Topping

1 20 ounce can pineapple slices (in juice)

¾ cup (12 tablespoons) brown sugar

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


2 cups all-purpose flour (or mixture of whole wheat and white)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 cup milk, cream, or half & half

2⁄3 cup sugar or packed light brown sugar

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil or butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Remove 6 whole slices of pineapple and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Reserve the remaining pineapple for another use.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust rack to middle position. Lightly spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

3. Spoon 2 teaspoons of melted butter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Break each whole pineapple slice into 4 equal pieces. Place 2 pieces of pineapple over brown sugar/butter fitting each slice with the curve of the muffin cup; set aside

4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

5. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, oil (or melted butter) and vanilla.

6. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just to combine (do not overmix). Divide the batter evenly over pineapple mixture using large spoon or ice cream scoop.

7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, about Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes and then invert muffins onto wire rack or kitchen towel. Let cool, pineapple side up, until ready to serve – warm or at room temperature.    

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins slices on brown sugar 

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins baked 

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins wire

Moist Delicious Homemade Mini Banana Breads

Mini Banana Bread loaves

I’ve tried dozens of banana breads but this one has become the standard for the best traditional banana bread. No exotic ingredients, fancy spices, exotic nuts – just good old fashioned dense moist banana bread. I like to make the in 4 mini loaf tins, but it will also work fine in a standard 9x5 loaf pan. 

Download Moist Delicious Homemade Mini Banana Breads recipe


½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1½ cups flour (unbleached or white whole wheat)

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

½ cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. grated lemon zest

½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9x5 pan or 4 small loaf pans.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with mixer.

3. Beat in eggs.

4. Sift the dry ingredients and combine with butter mixture using a large wooden spoon. Do not overmix.

5.  Add the bananas, sour cream, zest and vanilla. Mix just to combine. Stir in nuts.

6. Bake 1 hour (40 minutes for small pans)


Drake's Thick Crumb Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Crumb Muffins

NY Style Coffee Cake typically comes with a thick rich crumb topping and one of the most famous brands in Drake’s Coffee Cakes. Newman E. Drake baked his first pound cake in Brooklyn in 1888 and sold them by the slice. Drake’s popularity grew and the Drake’s brand with it, supplying such favorites as Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles and Ring Dings. In New York City and New England, Drake's products came to rival national brand Hostess. Largely unknown outside of these areas until the 1990s, the Drake's product line received national exposure on the sitcom Seinfeld, most notably the episode "The Suicide" in 1992. Later in 1990s television talk show host Rosie O'Donnell professed a fondness for them, sharing the cakes with her audience members on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. If you prefer to make a whole coffee cake, rather than muffins, the recipe is here -- Old Fashioned Drake's Coffee Cake

Download Drakes Thick Crumb Coffee Cake Muffins recipe


Crumb Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)

1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon table salt

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

1 ¾ cups cake flour (7 ounces) (do not substitute)



1 1/4cups cake flour (5 ounces) (do not substitute)

½ cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ 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. 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.


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.

2. 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.

3. Using 1/4-cup measure or ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly among muffin cups; using small rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter (about 1/4 cup of crumbs per muffin), beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack at least 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Coffee Cake Crumb Topping
Coffee Cake Crumb pea sized

Coffee Cake Crumg Muffin Batter
Coffe Cake Crumb Muffins Prebake 

Drakes coffee cakes

My New Favorite Best Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Nut Muffins

My New Favorite Best Banana Nut Muffin

I have a couple of fool proof favorite banana bread recipes, but they never seem to translate into a winning muffin. After reading dozens of recipes, I finally settled on one that I found in the Joy of Cooking cookbook. It’s a perfectly tender, lightly sweetened muffin with great banana flavor and a nicely domed top – making it my new favorite banana muffin recipe.

Download My New Favorite Best Banana Nut Muffin recipe

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted in oven, cooled and chopped

1 large egg

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)

6 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and adjust rack to middle position. Put muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin tin and lightly mist with non stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir in chopped nuts.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugars, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla.

4. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in liquid mixture. Gently stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined – do not overmix.

5. Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups.

6. Bake until the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 16- 18 minutes.

7. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes and serve warm or remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

Banana nut muffin batter
Banana Nut Muffin Baked
Banana Nut Muffins Cooling

Big Island Banana Macadamia Nut Bread

Big Island Banana Bread

I was recently visiting a close friend who lives on a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. It’s a gorgeous place with sweeping views of lush green terrain and the deep blue Pacific. Each morning I enjoyed fresh papaya and pineapple with a nice piece of freshly baked banana bread. Now that I’m home, I thought I would a capture a little of that island flavor by adding some coconut and macadamia nuts to my banana bread. If you don’t have unsalted macadamia nuts, feel free to substitute pecans or walnuts.

Download Big Island Banana Macadamia Nut Bread

½ cup flaked, sweetened coconut

1 cup chopped unsalterd macadamia nuts (plus 3-4 extra for garnish)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

3 very ripe bananas, soft with dark peel, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)

¼ cup plain whole fat yogurt

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast coconut and macadamia nuts on small cookie sheet, stirring every 2 minutes, until light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. When cool, transfer to a mini-cuisinart and pulse 2-4 times (to a medium grind); set aside. (You can skip this step, but I prefer the texture it creates)

2. Readjust oven rack to lower middle position. Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Combine flour, sugar, soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in coconut-macadamia nut mixture; set aside.

3. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan, sprinkle center of bread batter with 3-4 coarsley chopped macadamia nuts; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Big Island Banana Bread coconut macademia
Big island banana bread prebake
Big Island Banana Bread baked