Weekend Baking Commences: Coffee Cake Muffins

greased and floured. To think my roommate here had to teach me how to do this. At age 23. Is it too late to go to culinary school?

Okay. I love baking. But I have no idea how to do it. I mean, really no idea how to do it. I think my extent of baking pre-Africa was “helping” my mom in the kitchen sometimes over holidays and during high school and by “helping” I mean “licking the bowl and eating the Hershey’s kisses before she can pop them into the peanut butter cookies.” So my skills in the area are low, but where there’s a will there’s a way, right? And there is definitely a will… I have ALWAYS loved baked goods–give me a cinnamon roll over a chocolate bar any day–and now that I can’t buy them it is time to learn how to bake. Random craving that I decided to start the experiment with: coffee cake! But in muffin form… that counts right?

I spent a fair amount of time on AllRecipes.com perusing the variety of recipes available, but nearly every one had an ingredient inaccessible to would-be bakers in the bush of Africa–sour cream, usually, which apparently you can make here but I wasn’t ready for THAT experiment yet. Eventually I settled on this recipe from Recipe4Living which seemed doable:

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. soft shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

And so the experiment begins. Visions of myself whipping up melt-in-your-mouth, moist, fluffy, exploding-with-flavor-and-sweetness pastries begin to dance through my head. A girl can dream, right? Preparations begin.

greased and floured. To think my roommate here had to teach me how to do this. At age 23. Is it too late to go to culinary school?

For my “filling” or topping I decided to use the following ingredients:

  • “Brown” sugar (about 1/3 cup) (“brown” is in quotes because it is the Mozambican version of brown–aka, not quite.)
  • Flour (about 2T)
  • A whole bunch of cinnamon
  • Bit of butter (like my exact measurements? I do. This Is Africa)
  • a little honey for good measure

Mixed together, adding a bit of flour until it came out course and crumbly but still moist… looked alright:

half of this made it onto the muffins...

Then I decided to get really fancy and put in half the batter and then some filling in the middle (cuz that is the best part of coffee cake, anyways), then fill the cups up and sprinkle the rest of the filling on top. No pictures, sorry… I am pretty sure this is the weekend I decided to start a blog and thus was less committed to taking bad pictures than I obviously am now.

Thrown into the oven (cooked at “whatever temperature my oven felt like heating up to that day” for “as many minutes as it took for the fork to not come out gooey”… yeah, I should really write a cookbook or something) and came out looking… not so good.

Okay, visions of perfect pastries shattered. That didn't last long.

I think all the sugar and honey on top caramelized and kind of burned. Fear struck deep in my chest. But after removed from the scarred muffin tray they looked alright:

slightly better.

And they were. They also made a pretty delicious breakfast with some fruit.

But then again, if every time you crave something you have to make it from scratch, it BETTER taste amazing! But I guess it’s been so long since I’ve been to Starbucks, my taste buds don’t even know the dishes. First baking experiment: success. Maybe some day I’ll learn how to make something that LOOKS good, too!!

moist coffey-cakey goodness. Now where's that Starbucks?...