Category Archives: Breakfast

The Cake Slice: Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

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It’s the start of a new baking year for the Cake Slice…which means it’s time to reveal the new book we’ll all be baking from for the next 12 months. By “all” I mean my fellow Cake Slicers – a lovely group of ladies from all over the world who share a common love for baking and agree to bake one cake from the same cookbook each month for a year. We learn from our successes and failures and – most importantly – have lots of fun. We use a private Facebook group to compare notes, share pictures, and recount our latest baking adventures. As we were preparing for the launch of our new baking year, we ran a quick roll call to share where we all lived, and I was blown away by our diverse list of locations:

Cambridge, UK
Shedd, Oregon
Saginaw, Michigan
Weybridge, Surrey UK
Somerset, New Jersey
Modesto, California
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Singapore
Santa Rosa, California
Sydney, Australia
Montgomery Village, Maryland
Limerick, Ireland
San Fernando Valley, California

Wow…all of us connected through our affinity for flour, sugar, and butter!

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Each month, there are four cake recipes in which each baker may choose from, and then on the 20th of each month, we reveal the cake we chose on our blog and link all the blog posts together so all the world may see the pictures of our wonderful cakes.

The chosen book for our new baking year is called the Southern Cake Book by the editors of Southern Living Magazine. It’s loaded with beautiful, full-page pictures of each cake within the book and the recipes are easy to follow. I initially checked the book out from my local library so that I could give it a quick peruse before committing to another year’s worth of cake baking. I was pleasantly surprised.

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From the four options for November, I selected Caramel Apple Coffee Cake, and it was FAB-U-LOUS…and dangerous. Who knew homemade caramel was so easy to make and would taste so good?!? And better yet, the batch of caramel sauce was more than enough for the recipe, leaving an extra ½ cup for other purposes….like drizzled over homemade vanilla ice cream or slathered over fresh apple slices. I confess…I cut up an extra apple just to scrape the remaining caramel from the pan…into my mouth…at 8:00am…for breakfast. Don’t judge. No regrets.

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So here are the details on this cake. A fairly typical dense batter makes up the base. Then a layer of lightly sautéed apples is arranged on top on the batter, followed by a generous drizzle of caramel sauce. Finally, streusel crumbs are placed on top, and the whole thing is baked uncovered for 45 minutes, and then covered and baked for another 30 minutes. After it’s thoroughly cooled, more caramel is poured over the top.

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Now that you are most likely drooling all over your screen, you really should make this. Here’s the recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-apple-coffee-cake

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A few notes: Be sure to make the caramel sauce and streusel BEFORE you make the batter, so they have time to cool and are ready when you need them. Also, there is more butter in the batter/caramel/streusel combined recipes than a butterhead at the Minnesota State Fair…so don’t be afraid to cut it down a bit…I used half the butter called for in the batter and the streusel and it was just as decadent. Finally, I substituted ½ cup oats in place of the nuts in the streusel so my little coffee-cake loving kiddo with a nut allergy could enjoy this with the family.

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So, there you have it. And the kiddo gave it his seal of approval saying it’s the best coffee cake I’ve ever made. You know…because I bake coffee cakes all the time, right? Don’t we all?

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Check out what my fellow Cake Slicers baked this month:

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Pumpkin Spice Waffles

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I did it again. I made something else pumpkin.

I got the inspiration for these waffles from this recipe. Continue reading

Banana Ice Cream for Breakfast

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Confession: I serve my kids ice cream for breakfast. Don’t tell them it’s healthy. That’ll be our little secret.

You may have already heard of this recipe, but in case you haven’t, stop reading and go put some ripe bananas in the freezer right now… Continue reading

Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch

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If you have the time and patience, these homemade cinnamon rolls are perfect for a lazy, weekend morning. I adapted these from a recipe I found that’s ready in 90 minutes. The bulk of the time is just for the dough to rise.

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Our family loves…LOVES…cinnamon rolls, and for years, the extent of our cinnamon roll experience has been as follows: preheat oven, open tube of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, bake. Oh, yeah, and then eat the whole batch.

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But, when I actually looked at the ingredients on the Pillsbury package, I realized that these rolls are highly processed, packed full of preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Yes, they are convenient, but there had to be a better way.

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So, I gave found this recipe online, tweaked it a bit, and gave it a shot. This makes a nice big pan of rolls and although it’s not low-fat, it at least uses less ingredients that are clearly recognizable…no xanthan gum here.

We made these on Christmas morning, and to dress them up a bit, I added some leftover Christmas cookie frosting, but the rolls are sweet and delicious enough that no frosting is really needed.

These reheat great for quick weekday breakfasts. Next time, I’m planning to chop up some apples to sprinkle over the cinnamon-sugar layer before rolling up. Yummy!

Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch
Adapted from Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg

For the Filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Heat the milk on the stove over medium heat until it just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and mix in the 1/4 cup of butter until melted. Set aside.

Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water and egg and mix well. Once the mix mixture has cooled to lukewarm, slowly add to the mixing bowl and mix well. Add the remaining flour and mix well. Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. Cover and allow to rise while you make the filling.

For the filling, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl.

Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a large rectangle. Use a greased spatula the spread filling to cover entire dough. Roll up dough the long way. Cut into 15 rolls and place cut side up in a greased 13 x 9 cake pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Serve warm.

Orange Oat Spice Muffins

Deck the halls with orange juice muffins…fa la la la la…

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The halls are decked at our house, the tree is up, and we’re ready for Christmas.

After a busy Saturday spent cutting down our tree and decorating the house, we decided on a low key Sunday.

While reaching into the fridge to pull out a carton of OJ, the thought of orange juice muffins crossed my mind.

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I found a few recipes on Allrecipes.com, but I wanted something heartier and more flavorful than what I found, so I took a few hints from each and crafted my own version.

The result was a moist, flavor-packed muffin with a sweet and crispy crust on top. If you make these, you’ll notice they don’t rise or puff up much like most muffins. I baked mine in paper muffin cups, and the cups seemed a little “greasy” when I pulled them out of the muffin pan, so I’ll probably cut down on the butter next time, or go half-and-half with butter and applesauce. They were definitely delicious, though!

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Orange Oat Spice Muffins

1 cup orange juice
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg or apple pie spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the oats and orange juice. Let the oats soak up the juice for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, cream butter with white and brown sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in oats and orange juice.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir well, then dump into large bowl and mix all ingredients. Stir in raisins.

Pour batter into 12 muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick tests done.

Tips: Try adding a tablespoon of fresh orange or lemon zest for added flavor. You could also add a half cup of nuts, too.

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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles with Apple Spirals

I got a new toy, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Have you ever wondered how well those apple peeler/slicer/corer machines really worked? I’ve always been a little curious, although they look pretty complex. Well, now I have one, and all I can say is…where have you been all my life???

Last week, I went back to my hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin to visit my folks. Whenever I visit, there are always a few essential stops that I absolutely must make (in no particular order):

Lambeau Field: because I bleed green and gold, like all Green Bay natives, of course.
Kroll’s Restaurant: best classic burger joint located right across the street from Lambeau – try the deep fried cauliflower buds with ranch…I’m drooling just thinking of them.
Seroogy’s: best chocolate shop anywhere, yes I’m biased, but once you try the meltaways, you’ll definitely agree.
Cook’s Corner: the largest kitchen store in the nation.

Every time I step into Cook’s Corner, I have to take a moment to gaze in awe at all they have to offer. I could live in this store. Just give me a pillow and blanket and I’d happily set up camp somewhere between the fudge counter and the bakeware aisle. I mean, where else can you by beer-mug shaped pasta, imported from Germany?

And, do I need to mention, they have a discount wine shop? If that’s not enough, they also have an 8,000 square foot kitchenware outlet room, as well.

Whenever I visit, I HAVE to buy something. The minute I got there this time, my eyes were instantly drawn to a huge display table of apple slicers. Even better, they were on sale for half off! SOLD!!!

I managed to get out of there with only the apple slicer and a candy thermometer. Although, I almost fell prey to the towering display of panini presses and high-powered blenders, which were also discounted…sigh. Gotta leave something for next time.

And so, I couldn’t wait to give my new toy a test run as soon as I got home. We had a whopping three apples in our house, leftover from our last orchard trip, and I used them all to make this tasty breakfast for the boys, who thought that apples shaped like slinkies were the coolest thing ever.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles with Apple Spirals

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 small apples – peeled, cored, and sliced

Preheat a greased waffle iron.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, melt butter and allow to cool. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and stir until just combined.

Cook waffles using 1/3 cup of batter per waffle. Garnish waffles with apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar.

Blender Banana Oat Pancakes


Sundays in our house are always pancake mornings. We could pretty much put ANYTHING into the batter, and our boys would happily scarf them down. Well, except for uncooked brown rice, which grandpa accidently added to the batter one Sunday morning at the family cabin, when he didn’t have his glasses on, and he thought he was adding brown sugar…but that’s a different story.

We make a double or triple batch each week and save the leftovers to heat up for quick breakfasts or weeknight meals for the boys. They are definitely a go-to, healthy meal when we race home from after school activities, because we can have piping hot, reheated pancakes on the table topped with sliced fresh fruit and a side of Greek yogurt in under five minutes.

Did you know you can put rolled oats in a blender to break them down?

Rolled oats are whole grain – the single ingredient listed on the package is: 100% all natural whole grain rolled oats. That’s it. No extra sugar or artificial flavors or colors that are inherent in most packaged, instant oatmeal.

By breaking down the oats, we can then incorporate them with the flours (I use a mix of whole wheat and all purpose) for an added kick of whole grain in this recipe.

We serve our pancakes with butter and organic real maple syrup.

Blender Banana Oat Pancakes

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Start by adding the rolled oats to the blender and pulse until pulverized. Dump contents of blender into a larger bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients (flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder). Mix well.

Peel bananas and add to empty blender. Next, add eggs, oil, vanilla, and 2 cups of milk. Blend until bananas are fully mashed and incorporated in the liquid. Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and pulse blender a few times to stir. Pour contents of blender into the dry ingredients bowl and stir to combine.

Preheat griddle to 350 degree. When the griddle is ready, cook pancakes using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.

Lemon Zucchini Bundt Cake

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I got this recipe from a friend in Nebraska and knew right away that I had to try it. Only problem: I don’t own a bundt pan. That’s right, no bundt pan. And, did I mention I live in Minnesota, the land of Nordic Ware, the company that made bundt pans famous? So, off to Target I went to look for a bundt pan…and sure enough, they had a whole Nordic Ware section…I could barely control myself. My wallet is now $24.99 lighter, and I’m the proud owner of an original Nordic Ware bundt pan…guaranteed for 10 years…that’s a lot of cake in our future.
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This recipe originates from All Recipes. It’s actually a bar recipe, but I followed my friend’s suggestion and baked it in a bundt pan rather than a bar pan. I didn’t modify the recipe, but you could easily cut down on the sugar and oil and substitute some apple sauce.
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My zucchini plants have been flowering for the past few weeks, but so far, no zucchinis this year. Fortunately, I still had some frozen, shredded zucchini in our freezer from last year’s garden. Since the recipe calls for lemon, I decided to use a mix of both green and yellow zucchini to play up the yellow theme.
20120725-085158.jpgI sprayed the bundt pan lightly and added a dusting of flour before pouring in the batter. After baking for 40 minutes, I pulled the pan out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes to cool, and then flipped it over onto a platter. The cake slipped out perfectly. Added a dusting of powdered sugar and some flowers from our garden, and then we sliced it up. Moist, delicious, and the hint of lemon gives it a fresh, summery twist. It was a hit with the whole family, but was particularly a hit with my 8 year old, who told me that it rocks and that I can make this anytime. I might have to again soon…it’s already half gone.
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Fabulicious French Toast


How does a mom get protein into a child that won’t eat eggs? Trick him with egg-stra special French toast! In my daily struggle to ensure that the Oldest gets a balanced diet with adequate protein for a growing seven year old, this is not an easy task. The Oldest is allergic to nuts and basically a vegetarian (he can’t stand the texture of meat).

However…he loves homemade French toast and has no clue about the eggs in it. We’ll keep that as our little secret, ok?
For the adults, you can easily dress up this no-fuss breakfast by plating it on your best china with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream on top. Your brunch guests will think you worked hard to put this together…but we know the truth.

For the kids, simply slice into French toast sticks, serve with a side of syrup, and watch them happily dip away!

Fabulicious French Toast

6 slices of bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Preheat griddle to medium-high. Mix everything together in a flat-bottom dish, such as a square baking pan. Dip bread in batter for a few seconds. Flip bread over and dip other side. Don’t let bread sit in batter or it will absorb too much liquid and will fall apart when you lift it out. Cook French toast on griddle for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Sprinkle extra cinnamon on top and serve warm with maple syrup, whipped cream, and fresh seasonal berries.

A Simple Sunday Breakfast


On a cold, snowy morning in Minnesota, there’s nothing like a simple, hearty breakfast.

A little bacon…a fresh batch of homemade pancakes…and some banana slices. That’s it.

No exact recipe for the pancakes…they are basically a little of this and a little of that. Start with some eggs, a few cups of flour, add a bit of sugar, oil, and milk…then go from there.

I like to add some applesauce, to cut down on oil, and a hint of vanilla and cinnamon, to punch up the flavor a tad.

We buy our bacon at Costco in the multipacks. Then, I’ll use a chef’s knife to cut the packages in half width-wise, and freeze in meal-sized portions in sandwich bags. When I need some for a meal, I take one out of the freezer, remove the bacon from the bag, and defrost in the microwave for a few seconds until I can peel the slices apart. The best part is that there’s no rush to use up an open package of bacon before it goes bad, and with it in the freezer, we always have it on hand for a quick meal.