Cake for Breakfast

I made a very bad coffeecake last weekend.  I wanted to give you a hearty breakfast cake that would get you through the day – spelt flour, cranberries, nuts. It was such a good plan. It was a such a failure. There’s only one way to redeem myself. Here’s a very scrumptious chocolate cake. I see nothing wrong with eating cake for breakfast – cake with streusel for that matter. Go ahead, you deserve it. You had a long week.

Chocolate Swirl Coffeecake

1/2 c. butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 c. AP
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

chocolate swirl:
2 tbls. cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbls. sugar

streusel topping:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. hazelnuts
1/2 c. AP
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbls. butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a bundt pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. To  mix cake, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in eggs.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add these to the batter, alternating with the yogurt. Add vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, mix cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar.
  5. Add half of the cake batter to the bundt pan. Sprinkle on swirl mixture. Add remaining cake batter. Using a knife, swirl the batter up and down and around the tube. This will create your swirl.
  6. Make the topping in a food processor. Grind the nuts and sugar together. Add the sugar, and then add the butter.
  7. Grab up some streusel with your fingers, and clump it together loosely. Sprinkle on top of your cake. Sprinkle as much as you like, then pat it down gently. (You may have some extra topping. Go ahead and freeze this.)
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.

Two other coffeecakes that I like:


Crumb Coffeecake

When it is Sunday morning and the sun is out, one must sit on the porch and eat coffeecake.

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. homemade creme fraiche
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs

2 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  1. With a mixer, cream together butter, creme fraiche, and sugar.
  2. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.  Add half of the flour mixture to creamed mixture. Beat in nicely.
  4. Mix in milk and vanilla.
  5. Add in last half of dry mixture.
  6. Pour this silky batter into a buttered 9X13 pan.
  7. With a fork, mix the topping. Sprinkle this on the top of the batter. Press down gently.
  8. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

This recipe was modified from a recipe that I received from my aunt. Thanks!

Get the most from your gruel

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I apologize.  Mostly we have just been eating out of the freezer or making some of our winter standbys, which we posted last winter.  I’ve been very thankful for the canned peaches and pears that I put away in the summer (and vow to can twice as many peaches next year.)  I’ve been making a lot of yogurt smoothies from my frozen berries and frozen veggies have mostly gone into quiches, which serve as a good dinner and leftover lunch.

My lack of formal cooking might also have something to do with the dark winter nights but is probably more owed to the fact that I now have a slight addiction to waffles.  Really, I’ll eat them for any meal. I’ve been freezing them in stacks in a freezer bag and reheating them in the toaster oven – it works quite well.

When I’m not eating waffles, I find that oatmeal is a great winter breakfast. I like steel cut (or Irish) oats the best, because they really give you something to chew. However, they take so long to cook that I never seem to have time in the morning.  Nourishing Traditions, a book that I got from the library, solved my problem.

Soaking oats over night is not only convenient but can give you a nutritional advantage. When oats, or any grain soak over night with a little bit of dairy, you can feel confident that you’re getting the most out of your grain.

All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc.. ..and block their absorption.. .. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.


During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

People throughout history and cultures have traditionally soaked and fermented their grains, and scientists are now finding that the action of fermenting allows for increased absorption of vitamins (especially B).

So, if it’s healthier and easier, why not soak your oats over night? Here’s how:

1 cup cracked oats
1 cup warm water
2 tbls. dairy with helpful cultures (yogurt, buttermilk, or whey)

1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water, additional

  1. The night before-
    Mix oats with 1 cup warm water and dairy. Mix, cover, and leave on the counter for at least 7 hours (and up to 24).
  2. In the morning-
    Bring 1 cup of water to boil. (A teapot works well.) Stir this and your salt into the soaked oats mixture.
  3. Bring to a simmer on medium. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until your oats are the consistency you like.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in any of those good things that you like: nuts, dried fruit, honey, maple syrup.

Notes: The book goes on to comment about granola and other breakfast grains. Apparently exposure to dry heat, as in the making of granola, strips valuable nutrients from the grain. That’s unfortunate. She says, “For a new generation of hardy children, we must return to the breakfast cereals of our ancestors – soaked gruels and porridges.” Granola is out. Eat your gruel, kids.

Apple Pancake

Here’s a quick and lovely dish to serve up to guests for breakfast. It falls somewhere on the taste spectrum between a pancake and french toast.

Serves 4-6

1. Peel, core, and slice 4 medium apples. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1 1/2 tbls. butter. Add apples. Cook apples over medium-low heat for a total of ten minutes.

2. In a large measuring cup or bowl, add in this order:

2/3 c. milk
2/3 c.cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs

3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbls. sugar
3/4 c. flour

3. At this point, you can hold the apples and batter until the rest of your meal is done. When ready, pour the batter over the batter, starting at the edges and pouring towards the inside. Bake at 425F for 17 minutes.


  • I served this with scones and bacon for a full meal. You can dress it up with an apple or maple syrup, but it is fine by itself.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

This bread makes great toast. Spread fromage blanc on it and it’s almost an entire breakfast. Double the recipe. It freezes well. Adapted from the ever wonderful Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

For two loaves:cinnamon bread
2 1/2 c. bread flour
1 c. white wheat flour (or sub. more bread flour)
4 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbls. shortening, melted
1/2 c. buttermilk or whole milk
3/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnuts

For filling:
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbls. cinnamon

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet into dry and knead by hand or machine for about ten minutes. Knead in the raisins and walnuts.
  4. Let rise in a clean, dry bowl for two hours.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Grease two 2-lb loaf pans.
  6. sprinkle with fillingRoll out into a large rectangle, with the short side of your dough being slightly longer than your pan.
  7. Sprinkle with the filling mixture, leaving an inch on one side. Roll up tightly, pulling the dough slightly toward you as you roll. Seal the seam by pinching it. Place in loaf pan to rise for 90 minutes.
  8. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

Multi-Grain Pancake Mix

whole grain pancake mixNow that it’s summer, hopefully you can find a little time here and there for a more relaxed breakfast. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to be escaping to a vacation and you’re packing kitchen supplies and planning meals. This mix is a great traveler or can easily hang out in your pantry while you wait for a slow summer morning that calls for a good breakfast.

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white wheat flour (or substitute more whole wheat flour)
1 cup AP flour
3 tbls. sugar
3 tbls. baking powder
1 tbls. salt
1 tbls. baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil

I think it’s easier to make this mix right in the bag. (Reuse one of those large bulk aisle bags.) You can also make it in a large bowl, of course.

Blend oats in a food processor. Add with all of the dry ingredients in the bag. Shake up to mix. Add oil and mix with your hands until it is crumbly.

For pancakes: Take one cup of mix and add it to one cup of buttermilk and one egg. Let sit for 10 minutes. Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add butter to bottom of pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side.

Decadent Cherry Coffeecake

Here’s a morning breakfast treat to make for a special occasion (or to make an occasion special.) It has a great cherry bite but doesn’t use too much of your precious stash. This is a truly delectable recipe. Breakfast of champions - cake.Cake:
2 cups AP
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
8 tbls. butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 cups cherries, washed and pitted and halved

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-inch tube or bundt pan by buttering (see notes).
  2. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cream butter with sugar with an electric beater. Add vanilla. Add eggs.
  4. Continue to mix on low. Alternate the flour mixture with the yogurt.
  5. Gently stir in cherries.

Melt 4 tbls. butter and, with a fork, mix in 1/4 c. sugar and 3/4 c. AP flour. Squeeze and crumble over top with fingers.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Cool in pan and remove. Drizzle glaze on the top, if desired.

Glaze (optional decadence):
Add powdered sugar to 2 tbls. buttermilk until you get the desired thickness (about 3/4 c. to 2 tbls.)


  • This tasted even better on the second day. Store at room temperature, wrapped tightly.
  • Loosely adapted from this recipe.
  • Tips for dealing with a tube pan: Cut a circle from parchment paper to line the bottom. (You can trace the inner circle with a long pencil.) Butter this and the rest of the pan. Don’t forget the tube! After the cake has cooled for about 45 minutes, slide a knife around the edges and under the parchment.Push from the bottom to remove outer ring. Then, to invert onto your plate or rack, place the bottom of the outer ring pan onto the top of the cake, invert, and remove tube. Cake acrobatics!