I have strong opinions about muffins. Maybe a little controversial too. When baked correctly, muffins should be soft, fluffy and tender. I get a little sad and disappointed when I buy a big, domed bakery muffin and the inside is rubbery. Many of the pretty muffins I see on social media are painfully rubbery too, as the creators break open a muffin in a dramatic moment of triumph. The muffin recipe I’m sharing here is tender and delicious if baked correctly.
One of the most important ways to achieve tender muffins is by not over mixing your batter once the flour is added. Muffins are technically cake, not bread, so we don’t want gluten formation. Another way to get tender muffins is to use an acidic ingredient such as sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Lastly, and very importantly, don’t over bake or under bake your muffins. Baking times in recipes are a guide and not necessarily exact because everyone’s ovens and baking pans are different. Keep an eye on your muffins and test them for doneness with a cake tester or a toothpick. My grandma used to say that when you start to smell them, they’re probably done or close to being done.
Soggy muffins also make me run the other way. Muffins loaded with too much fruit or fruit that hasn’t been macerated can make your muffins soggy or dense. In this recipe, I macerated the peaches to draw out some of the moisture, so it helps to avoid creating soggy spots in your muffins. The waiting time goes by fast as you prep the rest of your ingredients.
White Chocolate Peach Muffins
Tender muffins with white chocolate chips and chunks of fresh peaches.
In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with lemon juice. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.
Drain the peaches well and toss with flour. Reserve 1/4 cup of peaches for the muffin tops.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
With a pastry blender, or with your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like wet sand. Press together to form chunks. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Line a 12-serving muffin pan with tulip muffin liners.* (Tulip muffin liners are preferable because they hold more batter, but you can also use standard muffin liners.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and extracts in 3 separate additions, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.
Mix in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula, in two additions, followed by half of the sour cream after each addition. Mix just until combined. The batter will be thick.
Toss the white chocolate chips with flour, then fold them into the batter. Gently fold in the drained peaches.
Transfer batter to the prepared muffin pan, equally dividing the batter among the muffin cups. (If you're using standard muffin liners, fill them 2/3 full.) Top with the reserved peaches and the crumb topping. Optional: Top each muffin with a piece of white chocolate.
Bake muffins for 5 minutes. Turn down the oven heat to 350ºF (180ºC). Continue baking until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centers of the muffins comes out clean, about 15-20 more minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and continue cooling on a cooling rack.
Do you ever feel like a three year old child who doesn’t want to share? That’s how I feel about this crumb cake. I didn’t want to share so I made six 4-inch personal crumb cakes. You’ll understand once you taste the soft, fluffy lemon scented cake with juicy blueberries, a ton of sweet crumb topping and a lemony cream cheese icing. You’ll want every bite for yourself! I was also hesitant to share the recipe. But I was taught to share recipes by my two grandmothers who were amazing cooks and bakers. They shared their knowledge and recipes with anyone who asked. Recipes are a legacy that should be passed on to family and friends. If you’re reading this, I consider you a friend. So enjoy this recipe that’s especially dear to me because it’s based on my Grandma’s Apple Crumb Cake recipe.
I used a six serving shallow jumbo muffin pan to bake the cakes. The muffin cups are 4 inches across by 1 inch deep. To find the pan, click here. A hamburger bun pan for 4-inch buns will work too. If you happen to have six 4-inch cake pans, those work nicely. I used jumbo muffin liners to line the muffin cups, which fit perfectly by pressing them in around the inside bottom edges.
Blueberry Lemon Crumb Cakes
Fluffy, soft lemon cakes with blueberries, crumb topping and lemon cream cheese icing
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, brown sugar and salt together.
Work in butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like the consistency of wet sand. Press together to make chunks. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a 6-serving shallow jumbo muffin pan* with jumbo muffin liners.** Jumbo muffin liners will fit by pressing them around the inside bottom edges.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
Beat the egg, egg yolk and extracts into the butter mixture in 3 separate additions, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk and sour cream together.
On low speed, mix the flour mixture into the batter in two additions alternating with half of the milk mixture after each addition. Beat just until combined.
Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan, evenly distributing the batter and filling the cups about half full.
In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of flour and place them into the cups on top of the batter, about 1 ounce (28g) in each. Top each one with crumb topping.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Icing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add additional lemon juice, a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cooled cakes.
However your day is going today, it’s about to get better. I can confidently say these lemon muffins are some of the best you will ever taste. Follow the recipe exactly, weigh your ingredients and you’ll be enjoying these soft, tender muffins in no time.
These delightful muffins are perfect for breakfast, brunch or an anytime snack. I love enjoying one with a cup of strawberry or chamomile tea.
Glazed Lemon Muffins
Soft, tender lemon muffins glazed with lemon icing
A cute little, stress-free, perfectly pink heart cake is my gift to you for Valentine’s Day. The vanilla cake is soft and fluffy. The frosting is super easy and delicious, with only two ingredients. It all comes together with fresh strawberries and it’s so good, you won’t want to share.
Little Strawberry Heart Cake
A six inch heart shaped vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and two-ingredient frosting
In a small bowl, combine strawberries and 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 6-inch heart shaped cake pan*** with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and oil with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla in two separate additions until well combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream.
Beat flour mixture into batter in two additions, alternating with milk mixture.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.
In a large bowl, stir cream cheese with a spatula to smooth out lumps.
Add marshmallow fluff and beat until well combined. Add food gel color with a toothpick and beat until evenly distributed.
Split cake into two layers. Top the bottom layer with frosting. Drain strawberries and spoon onto cake. Top with second layer, then more frosting.
To make sugared strawberries, mix 1 part meringue powder with 3 parts water. Dip strawberries in meringue mixture, cover with sugar, then let dry. Alternately you can dip the strawberries in pasteurized egg whites, cover with sugar, then let dry.
Chocolate gingerbread is gingerbread’s elegant sister. It has the warm spices we love in gingerbread combined with the earthy depth of chocolate. Topping this rich, tender loaf with silky cream cheese frosting is the best possible choice to take it over the top. It’s a lovely loaf to enjoy during the holiday season and beyond. Enjoy it with a hot drink for a cozy, comforting winter treat.
I remember my grandma making coffee cakes and sweet muffins for breakfast, along with eggs, sausages, hot coffee and a big pitcher of milk on the table. The older generation really loved their coffee cakes. I’ve noticed that many Millennials and Gen Z’s think coffee cake contains coffee. Maybe some coffee cake does contain coffee, but in general, coffee cake is called that because it’s typically eaten with coffee. A classic coffee cake is usually a subtly sweet cake with cinnamon, crumb topping and maybe some icing. The Apple Crumb Cake recipe I’m sharing with you has the elements of a classic coffee cake, but so much better! The cake is fluffy and soft, the crumb topping is chunky and plentiful, and the apples are perfectly tender. And don’t get me started about the icing!
Why do most of our grandmothers cook and bake so well? Because they’ve had decades of trial and error to perfect their recipes, tweaking them here and there until they’re approved and loved by their families, neighbors and friends. This cake has had its share of trial and error. She has earned her place as a well-loved, delicious, beautiful queen of coffee cakes.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar and cinnamon.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the apples to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Work in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like wet sand. Press together to make 1/2-inch chunks.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom*, or a 9-inch springform pan, with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of the cake pan with aluminum foil and place pan on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture in three separate addition, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk and sour cream together.
On low speed, beat the flour mixture into batter in three separate additions, alternating with milk mixture. Mix just until combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Drain any excess liquid from the apples. Top the cake batter evenly with apples, then the topping mixture.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool the cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from pan and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of cream. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.
Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I also discovered that lilac syrup will turn a pretty shade of mauve by adding a small amount of lemon juice to the finished syrup. Since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers, I let it remain its natural color. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.
I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.
Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes
Soft, fluffy mini white vanilla cakes with lilac syrup and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with lilac blossoms
In a small saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar. Add the lilac blossoms and stir gently.
Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow lilac blossoms to steep for 2 hours. Pass lilac syrup through a mesh sieve.
White Vanilla Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
On medium speed, beat in egg whites in two additions, then beat in egg until well combined.
On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture, then beat in sour cream just until combined.
Beat in the remaining flour in two additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-33 minutes, or until top is light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.
Cut cakes into twelve 2 3/4-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter.
Using a pastry brush, brush mini cakes generously with lilac syrup or vanilla simple syrup.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Combine egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing butter to fully incorporate before adding more. If mixture looks curdled, keep mixing and it will correct itself.
Switch to a paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla bean paste and salt. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Remove about 3/4 cup of frosting and transfer to a small bowl. Using a toothpick, place two tiny drops of lilac gel food color and one tiny drop of violet gel food color into the bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
Smear a bit of frosting on each mini cake board. Top with a cake round, frosting, then a second cake round. Frost with a crumb coat if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost mini cakes with white Swiss meringue buttercream, then smear small amounts of lilac Swiss meringue buttercream around the sides and top. Smooth frosting with a bench scraper and smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Decorate with lilac blossoms.
Vanilla Simple Syrup (optional)
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
*If you can't find ultra fine granulated sugar, it's okay to substitute with regular granulated sugar.