An Excuse to Eat Dessert for Breakfast

First off, I should apologize as I have been a bad, bad blogger. As everyone knows, life gets busy and summer tends to be a slower time for me when it comes to baking. Who really wants to be in a hot kitchen in the middle of August?

Good news internet friends, the weather is cooling off and now is the best season for baking. Not only is it cooler out, but usually right about now I start getting the itch to bake with apples, and pumpkin, and cinnamon, and everything else delicious and fall-y. Autumn-y? Yep, neither is actually a word but you get the idea.

So to kick off the fall/winter baking season I’m going to share what has now become a tried and true, go-to, recipe for me: my great-grandma’s favorite coffee cake. The best thing about this cake, is it pretty much is a dessert. You actually use a boxed cake mix for the base, BUT because it is a coffee cake you can totally serve it for breakfast! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like cake for breakfast? (If you don’t, well, just shhhh!)

This recipe is pretty straightforward, my grandma’s recipe calls for 1 package instant vanilla pudding – I have always used the smaller box; she didn’t specify because she came from the era of measuring in a “pinch” of this and where apparently a “package” meant something specific. (okay haha, insert requisite “package” joke here.) The recipe also calls for some Nestle’s Quik powder (like the kind you make chocolate milk with); I have made it with the Nestle’s Quik and I have made it substituting cocoa powder. Both work. Nestle’s Quik is way more fun though. Also, you should pull out the hand mixer (or use a stand mixer) to beat the batter, it really needs to get well-mixed and fluffy. I made it once without a mixer and the batter was a lot thicker than normal, it still worked but wasn’t ideal.

Here’s the recipe…

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Nestle’s Quik powder
  • 1/3 cup sugarphoto 1

Beat together the first 5 ingredients at high-speed for 7 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the nuts, cinnamon, Nestle’s Quik and sugar.

Pour 1/3 of the nut mixture into a greased pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter over the nut mixture. photo 2

Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the batter, and then cover with the remaining batter. Marble through lightly with a knife.photo 3

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. Cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. photo 4I usually serve the cake at room temperature, despite what the recipe says. Yeah, I know, I’m such a rebel.

So hopefully I will be a better blogger in the coming months, in the mean time, happy baking!

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Sugar Shakin’ and Pumpkin Doughnut Makin’

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts (Sources: Milk & Honey, Original Source King Arthur Flour)

Sometimes when you are walking through Target you get crazy ideas. One of my most recent epiphanies was I needed to make homemade doughnuts. With cider mill season in full swing, I was instantly drawn to the apple cider and pumpkin recipes blowing up the food boards on Pinterest.  So naturally when I saw the doughnut pan on an end of aisle display I had to throw one in my cart.

Now, I think a major concern people have over these doughnut pans is if they would just result in making doughnut shaped cakes…after all doughnuts are supposed to be fried in oil. I had this same worry, and usually think it is silly to buy novelty baking pans, but like I said crazy things happen at Target.

I came across this recipe on the Milk & Honey blog, and already had all of the ingredients on hand (which is always a bonus). Now instead of keeping you in suspense while I detail making these bad boys, I’ll tell you fresh out of the oven they were fantastic. Like cider mill flavor explosion, kind of fantastic.

After mixing up the batter, I took one look at my doughnut pan and decided filling it with a spoon was going to create a hot mess. So I filled a plastic bag with the batter, cut off a corner and piped the batter into the pan.This worked spectacularly; the only messy part occurred when I needed to set down the batter bag.

There was some batter bag oozing, BUT hey the batter was in the pan, and even better when the doughnuts baked they actually maintained their doughnut shape.

I let the first batch cool on a wire rack, while I re-filled the pan. FAIL. The doughnuts got too cool so when I tried to sugar them up, it didn’t really stick. I sugared the second batch sooner and it seemed to work. I also didn’t follow the “shake them in a bag” advice and decide to just stick them in a bowl. I wasn’t confident I could shake the doughnuts without them falling apart. Exuberant shaking and somewhat delicate baked goods just doesn’t seem like a good combination.

Then I decided to try the doughnut hole option and pipe the rest of my batter into a mini-muffin pan. I’m never filling a cupcake pan with a spoon again; the pastry bag method works wonders. The little doughnut muffins (they don’t really look like real doughnut holes) came out and I decided they could withstand my sugar shaking.

These doughnuts are super moist, and the next day the cinnamon sugar had kind of soaked in. So they were sticky, still delicious, but I would recommend serving them the same day you make them if you care whether things are pretty and look exactly how they should, or if you have friends who might be scared of a wet doughnut.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Cinnamon-sugar, for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the wells of a doughnut pan (or muffin tin) with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients except flour and cinnamon sugar in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
  3. Fill the wells the doughnut pan about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Run a knife along the outer edge of each doughnut to loosen and remove to a wire rack to cool.
  4. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, but still warm, place a zip-top bag with cinnamon-sugar and shake to coat. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 15 to 18 doughnuts.

Happy Baking 🙂