Category Archives: Breakfast

strawberry-rhubarb upside downer

I really wanted to tell you about the asparagus risotto I made this week.  It was creamy and subtle and deliciously spring-ish, while comforting enough for the chilly air that settles around us in the evenings.  But I can’t.  It would be irresponsible- nay, reprehensible– to allow you to go on living one more day of your life without hearing about this cake.

There are cakes for celebrations, and then there are cakes like this.  This is an everyday cake, padding around in day-old jeans and a faded t-shirt, perfect for coffee and a bit of freshly whipped cream.   But at the same time, this is a seriously awesome cake.  This is a make-this-when-your-mother-in-law-comes cake.  Even if it’s only in jeans, it’s impressive.  Sweet, sticky, and spicy. What more do you need?!

This is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours, except she wrote it as a cranberry-nut cake.  She also included in the margins directions for a peach version, but I decided to springify.  I halved the cinnamon from the original recipe and added half a teaspoon of fresh cardamom- and WOW.  If you’ve got cardamom, break that bad boy out for this cake.  I don’t know if there’s anything I like more in spring than the combination of strawberries, rhubarb, and cardamom.

There’s also no salt in this cake.  That may dismay some and cheer others.  I will admit that I cheated and used salted butter for the “topping” and unsalted for the actual batter, because I had some stray salted laying around.  Don’t be afraid to add salt if you  know you like it in your cakes and muffins.

Strawberry-rhubarb upside downer
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: FMHTY

14 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons + 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup chopped rhubarb
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350.  Put an 8×2 (or 9×2) round cake pan on a baking sheet (you WILL want the baking sheet!).

Melt 6 T of the butter and whisk in 6 T of the sugar. Stirring, bring up to a brief boil, then pour evenly into the bottom of the cake pan.  Sprinkle strawberries and rhubarb on top of the butter-sugar combination and press lightly to flatten.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the remaining 8 T (1/2 cup) of butter for 2-3 minutes until soft and creamy.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cream well for 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one and scraping the bowl down as needed.  Pour in the vanilla.  Turn the mixer down to low and add in half of the dry ingredients, only mixing until barely incorporated.  Mix in the milk.  Then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Spoon the batter in the pan over the strawberries and rhubarb, and smooth the top down.

Bake on the baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  With a knife, loosen the cake from the pan around the edges, but allow to sit for 20-30 minutes to let the cake soak up as much of the juice as it can.  While still warm, carefully turn out the cake onto a plate.

Serve thick slices with fresh whipped cream or ice cream, preferably while still a bit warm (or warmed up for 20 seconds in the microwave.  Enjoy!


Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Desserts, Spring, Summer

pumpkin pancakes

First, a spontaneous goal for the  month of November: post at least every other day, for a total of 15 posts throughout the month.

Not incredibly inspirational, but given my lack of consistent posting, this is something I need to do. Especially if I want to participate in NaBloPoMo in the coming months.

So, November 1st. Pumpkin pancakes. Seasonal, nutritious, easy to make and easy to eat.

Not much to say about these little guys.  N doesn’t like pumpkin (I know, what a loser), so I didn’t get to test these on him. However, I tasted enough pumpkin pancakes to know that these are worth making. Three tested recipes later, and I can assure you that this is *the* recipe to make if you’re looking for pumpkin in breakfast form.


Pumpkin Pancakes
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine and Joy The Baker

1-1/3 c. unbleached all purpose flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. salt
3/4 to 1 c. whole milk or buttermilk
3/4 c.  pumpkin
2 large eggs
2T. + 2 T. unsalted butter, melted but separated
1 t. vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients to blend. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, 2 T. of the melted butter, and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick). Let sit for 5 minutes.

Brush a large nonstick skillet with melted butter and heat over medium-high. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles form around the edges and bottoms are brown, then flip. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing with butter between batches. Serve with your choice of toppings- my favorite is a bit of butter and real maple syrup.


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Filed under Breakfast, Fall, Vegetarian

blueberry scones

Yes, I know it’s not blueberry season, and that I ought to be writing about the beef stew or the pumpkin pancakes I enjoyed last week. But something about scones (and muffins, come to think of it) reminds me of autumn. They’re a perfect treat to whip up while the coffee is brewing, to bake while getting ready for the day, and to grab on the way out the door in a sweater and scarf.

There’s some extra rolling-and-folding with this particular recipe, but I think it makes the scones extra flaky and really ensures that the blueberries are spaced throughout the scone without touching each other or clumping up.

Blueberry Scones
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and Sweet Savory Southern

8 Tablespoons cold butter, plus 2 T. more for brushing
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, frozen
sanding sugar or regular white sugar for sprinkling

Grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater; scoop into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 5 minutes while prepping.

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-large bowl.  Incorporate the frozen butter with a spoon (if you use your fingers, the heat from them may cause the butter to melt slightly).  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and whole milk, and stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and knead a few times.  Roll out into a 12×12 inch square.  Using a bench scraper, fold the dough into thirds, then fold into thirds again in the opposite direction to form a square.  Roll the dough out into a 12×12 inch square again and refold.  Place on a plate and freeze for 5 minutes.

Roll out to a 12×12 inch square for a final time. Press the blueberries into the dough in a single layer, getting all the way to the edges.  Carefully roll up as you would a jelly roll.  Flatten and carefully press the roll into a 4-inch wide rectangle.  Using the bench scraper, cut into 4 rectangles.  Then cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  At this point the scones can be baked or refrigerated overnight.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 18-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.  Serve warm, with or without butter.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Summer

CE: Carrot-walnut breakfast cake

I am practicing to be a Grandma. Which is to say, I knit; I talk to my cat; and I always bake something when people are coming over to my house, no matter the occasion.  (Because grandma-hood has very little to do with actually having children, right?) I had a friend call and ask to crash on our couch for the night. Sure, absolutely- I’ve got just the enough time to whip up a quick bread and vacuum!

I had carrots; I had walnuts. I quickly decided that a breakfast carrot cake was in order, with a streusely top and loaded with toasted walnuts. I found a recipe that looked divine, but required overripe bananas… and because bananas are evil, they generally aren’t in my house. I found multiple recipes that called for an entire cup of sugar… and only 1 cup of grated carrot. Sorry, that’s not how *my* carrot cake is gonna roll.  In the end, I relied on good ‘ol Betty Crocker, but cleaned her up. 

Finally, a word on breakfast cake- how is this anything but a GREAT idea?? It’s a healthy quick bread that made a modest amount of batter, perfect for an old milk-glass cake dish. Perfection. Do not doubt it.


Carrot-Walnut Breakfast Cake

3/4 c. sucanat or natural brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 T. oil
¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ c. whole-wheat pastry flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. toasted walnuts

1/2 c. sucanat or brown sugar
1/3 c. toasted walnuts
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a cake pan or loaf pans.  Whisk eggs and sucanat together until bubbly and yellow, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in vanilla, oil, and applesauce.

Sift together flour, powder, salt, and spices. Mix into the wet ingredients with a spoon or spatula, just until mixed. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Let rest a few minutes.

Mix together the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Pour batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with topping.  Bake for 30-35 minutes for cake pan, or 50-60 minutes for loaf pan. Check with tester/toothpick to make sure middle is baked through.

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Clean Eating, Desserts

Blueberry muffins [a repeat of a good thing]

Remember these muffins?

Imagine them with blueberries. Now wipe the drool from your face.

Follow the recipe except use blueberry yogurt and a pint of blueberries. Do not skip the butter/sugar topping if you know what is best for you. Eat and be happy. :)

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Breakfast, Summer

[sorta healthy] Rhubarb Muffins

The rhubarb recipes aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. This and spinach are the only things edible growing in my yard for the moment.

N has decided to be a muffin person. By that I mean that he has mentioned several times that he would happily eat a muffin every day if they were available. “Fluffy, moist goodness,” I believe was his exact quote. And these muffins are the ones that inspired said quote… they’re delish. Trust me.

Rhubarb Muffins
Adaptation of my grandma’s sour cream muffins recipe

1-1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. AP flour
3 t. baking powder
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cardamom
dash of salt
1 egg
1/2 c. applesauce
3/4 c. yogurt (I used strawberry- could use vanilla, plain, lemon, blueberry…)
3 T. melted butter
1 T. milled flax seed
2 c. chopped rhubarb sprinkled with a little sugar (~ 1 T.)

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cardamom, powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, applesauce, yogurt, butter, and flax seed. Make a small well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and fold together only until blended with a spoon or spatula. Fold in rhubarb.

Spoon into muffin tins with paper liners or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for ~20 minutes, until the tops feel springy and not batter-y when poked.

2 T. melted butter
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. cardamom

Mix together the sugar and cardamom in a small dish. Once the muffins are cool to the touch, lightly roll the tops in melted butter and let the excess drip off; then roll in the cardamom-sugar mixture. Adds a subtle sweet-and-crunchy top to offset the tender tart center. Mmm. :)


Filed under 30 min. or less, Breakfast, Desserts, Spring, Summer

CE: Pumpkin oat muffins

I love that autumn goes on and on… I get to start celebrating fall food on September 1st, and can enjoy potatoes, apple dishes, everything pumpkin, and other comfort foods through Thanksgiving!

I had made pumpkin-black bean quesadillas (which I still need to post!) last week, and had a little less than half of a can of pumpkin in the fridge to use. I saw these on TPOX’s website last week, and felt the need to do something productive after sitting around all day. I made some adjustments, including halving the recipe, and would have liked these to be a bit sweeter. I think next time I’ll try 3 T of agave nectar, 1-2 T honey, and 1 T molasses.


Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins
Adapted from Proceed With Caution
Makes 9 large muffins

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 T steel-cut oats
1 T wheat bran
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/3 of a 15 oz. pumpkin puree
3 T. unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 T agave nectar
1 T blackstrap molasses
2 T dark brown sugar

Sprinkled on top:
ground pecans
dark brown sugar


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray with cooking spray
-Combine flours, bran, oats, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
-Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat until smooth.
-Gradually stir in flour mixture until just combined – use a spoon or spatula, not a whisk
-Spoon into prepared pans or tins; sprinkle with topping ingredients if desired.
-Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
-Let muffins sit for 5 minutes; remove from pans and let cool on a rack or plate.


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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Clean Eating