Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

As everyone has switched over into Christmas mode, I’m still holding on to all things fall. My coffee remains pumpkin spice flavored and my taste buds crave anything with apple. This led me to buy a really big bag of apples at the market, simply because they are in season and dirt cheap. The day after this purchase, while enjoying my morning coffee, I pondered what I could make with said big bag of apples. It was then that I remembered coffee cake, which is an entire category of cake devoted solely to enhancing the coffee drinking experience. My two favorite flavors of fall happen to be pumpkin and apple, so what better way to celebrate the last days of the season than by pairing them together in coffee and its accompanying cake.

Now you may be wondering how someone who promotes living a fit, healthy lifestyle can still drink coffee and eat cake. Well…I’ll let you in on a little secret….YOU STILL CAN! Sure I use almond milk instead of cream and sugar and my sweets recipes are so altered I would make my old pastry chef professors cry, BUT I still get to enjoy what I love while being fit, which is what this journey is all about. For me, there is no point of being fit if you can’t enjoy life and for the longest time I honestly thought I could enjoy neither. I used to think coffee and desserts were only allowed for special occasions or circumstances. Thankfully, I eventually learned that these foods CAN still be in my life, so long as they are made with all natural ingredients and use special prep techniques to better fit my nutrition plan. So with that same knowledge in tow, I set out to make a moist, sweet cake that was far healthier than traditional coffee cake recipes.

When I began my journey to reboot coffee cake, the first thing I realized is how deceptive this treat really is. Most people view coffee cake as the better cake option, probably because, you know, it’s not slathered in rich, buttercream icing and decorated with sugary sprinkles. Yet, as shocking as it may seem, coffee cakes are actually PACKED with sugar. Most traditional recipes average around 80 grams of sugar per serving, which is more than 3 times the amount of added sugar the average person should be consuming in a day. Yikes. Thankfully, I’m well aware that you can heavily cut back on added sugar & still end up with a satisfyingly sweet treat, therefore that is where I started. To begin the sugar deload, I first replaced traditionally used granulated sugar with Sucanat. My go to sugar is almost always Sucanat, not only because it’s minimally processed, but because it has a rich, molasses-like flavor. This flavor allows me to use less sugar while adding more complexity than granulated sugar ever would. So with the sugar problem addressed, the next problem I needed to solve was the topping.

The most common type of coffee cake topping is a simple two ingredient glaze made of powdered sugar and milk, which gets drizzled on top once cooled. As easy as this icing is to make, finding a healthier alternative wouldn’t be. Since there is no natural equivalent for processed powdered sugar, I needed an alternative. With no other natural sugars able to provide the same smooth glaze, I was honestly very tempted to just skip it. But as much as I wanted to, I knew I couldn’t just skip out on the topping altogether because an unadorned cake is plain and makes for a rather boring presentation. After a bit of trial and error, I remembered something that we used A LOT in culinary school…simple syrup. Just as its name suggests, simple syrup is created by dissolving sugar in water. Instead of the typical white, granulated sugar, I heated evaporated cane juice in the water for a cleaner syrup. I then beat the syrup into cream cheese for a smooth glaze that looks just like the original, but is a whole lot healthier and tastier. The rich and tangy cream cheese in the glaze is a perfect compliment to the sweet and tart apples and spicy cinnamon. Enjoy it for breakfast or to celebrate a beautiful fall afternoon. Coffee can be optional!

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake


Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2/3 cup Sucanat
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; room temperature
  • 2 large Eggs; room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk; room temperature
  • 1¼ cups peeled & chopped Apple (about 2 Apples)
  • 3 tbsp. Organic Cane Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • ¼ cup Cream Cheese (full fat); room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-x-8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (select a brand that uses no propellents). Line base of pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set bowl aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the Sucanat with the butter on medium speed until mixture is fluffy and begins to stick to the sides of the bowl (about 1 minute). Add one egg and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated. Repeat with second egg.
  4. With machine on low speed, add one third of flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add one third of milk and again beat until just combined. Repeat process twice more, alternating between flour and milk additions. Remove bowl from machine and stir in apples by hand.
  5. Tranfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top over with a spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a plate and gently peel off parchment. Invert cake back onto wire rack and cool completely.
  6. While cake cools, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine cane sugar and 3 tbsp. water. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof container to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, until smooth and fluffy, using an electric mixer on high speed. Add one quarter of the sugar mixture and beat until smooth. Add remaining sugar mixture in three more additions, beating until smooth between each addition.
  7. Pour glaze over cooled cake in long, diagonal stripes to make a crosshatch pattern. Serve immediately. Cake can be stored at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Nutrition

Per Serving (1 Slice): 257 Calories; 4 g Protein; 12 g Total Fat; 7 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 273 mg Sodium; 20 g Sugar; 34 g Carbs; 72 mg Cholesterol

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Plum-Almond Buckle

20180730_112740In Florida, it pretty much feels like summer year round. With the exception of a few weeks in the winter, the temperature doesn’t give much indication to the season we’re currently in. One way we stay in touch with the seasons, like the rest of the country, is via the produce that’s being harvested.

20180730_112610I don’t know about you but there’s something about a juicy stone fruit that screams summer. Peaches are my favorite variety, but with plums only 0.99¢ a pound, I could’t pass up the opportunity to snatch a bunch to bake with. Available from May to October, plums hit their peak harvest in July. There are over 2,000 varieties worldwide, with more than 100 types in the U.S. alone, making for plenty of options at your local farmstand throughout the summer and into early fall.

20180730_112124Although lusciously juicy and sweet to eat out of hand, plums provide a complex flavor and texture to any dish they’re added to. The sweet flesh and tart skin of plums are particularly fantastic in desserts, with this plum buckle being a perfect representation of that fact. In case you aren’t familiar, a buckle is a dessert where fruit is placed on top of a layer of cake batter, which rises to the top while baking and then buckles when cool. Buckles are quick and easy to prepare, which means you can whip this dessert up fast for that unexpected BBQ or have it on the table for dinner in no time!

 

Plum-Almond Buckle

 

Ingredients:

  • 7.6 oz. (about 1 & 1/3 cup) White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ Salt
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ cup lowfat Buttermilk
  • 3 Plums; halved, pitted, & sliced ½ in. thick
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat mixture at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and beat until combined. Alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, blending just until combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Arrange sliced plums on top of batter. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cake in the pan on a wire cooling rack before serving.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

20180707_105854Summer means school’s out, barbeques light up, and ample time is spent outdoors enjoying the fantastic weather. With longer days and warmer temps, entertaining becomes easier and sometimes unexpected if people decide to drop over. If you’re ever looking for a dessert that’s quick to prepare for last minute summer get togethers or easy enough to make and take for a picnic, look no further than this delicious cake.

20180707_110006Featuring in season cherries, you’ll get a taste of summer bursting through every bite. I make this with my favorite organic cake mix, Miss Jones, for convenience, however you can also make it with your own homemade cake recipe if you have more time. Dark, sweet cherries taste best, however you can use any variety of cherry available to you or even mix and match. The juices released from the cherries make for a moist, flavorful, and easy cake!

20180707_105802NOTE: Fresh or frozen cherries can be used in this recipe. If using frozen cherries, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain the cherries before proceeding with the recipe as directed.

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1/3 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 cups pitted fresh Bing Cherries
  • 1 box Vanilla Cake Mix

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Place pan in oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven and swirl melted butter around pan to evenly coat.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange cherries in a single layer over brown sugar. Set pan aside.
  3. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour prepared batter into pan. Spread batter evenly over cherries.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Loosen cake from edges of pan with a knife and then invert cake onto a serving platter or sheet pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

Apple Kuchen

20171007_134852Pumpkin, Pecan, Apple, & Cinnamon…all iconic flavors of Fall. Two of the sweetest (and my personal favorite) flavors can be found right here in this easy German apple cake (Apfelkuchen). The classic combination of sweet apples and spicy cinnamon makes for a simple yet pleasing post dinner treat or Oktoberfest dessert!

20171007_134809

Apple Kuchen

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Apples; peeled, cored, & sliced
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Sugar; divided
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Salt; divided
  • 6.75 oz (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter; softened & divided
  • 3 oz. Cream Cheese; softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup nonfat Buttermilk
  • ½ cup Chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Apple Jelly

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13×9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine apples and lemon juice and toss together. Add ¼ cup sugar, cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. salt, tossing again to combine.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, the remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and baking powder. Place remaining ¾ cup sugar, 6 tbsp. butter, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat mixture at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in the vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Gently stir in the walnuts.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared baking pan. Arrange apples over batter. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter and brush over apples. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until set.
  5. Microwave apple jelly for 30 seconds or until melted, stirring once. Brush jelly over apples and cool. Cut into squares and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Plum Kuchen

20170710_152921Summer is typically a slow time of year for me. School is out. The back-to-back flow of major holidays is absent. I no longer have to be someplace all the time and there are a less incentives given to require constant recipe creation. I rely on this time to relax, plan out the craziness of the fall and winter months ahead, and sneak a few trips to the park for my oldest to exert some of her excess energy.

This year, however, has not been typical. It seems like I have been going nonstop since last August when I am usually settled down around early June. The reason for the change? Well, in June I was approached by a local magazine, Edible Orlando, to have a recipe of mine featured in their Summer issue. Almost immediately after that exposure, I was approached by two different authors who are assembling cookbooks and would like to feature some of my recipes in their books. I gladly obliged but it also means a bit more involvement than I’m used to regarding this website. Meanwhile, I celebrated my fiance’s 33rd birthday, the Baptism of our second daughter, followed by Independence Day festivities, and in a little over two weeks it will be our second daughter’s 1st birthday. If I am lucky I will get a week or two off before the crazy school year starts all over again with registration for my daughter in school and a bunch of extracurricular activities along with the constant recipe development needed for the fall/winter holidays.

20170710_153132Since I have been busy I haven’t planned much in advance regarding future posts and I haven’t involved myself in other incentive-based projects. This post came about after I was out doing regular shopping and got a deal on some organic plums for $1.99/pound. I figured I could find something to make with them. Sure enough, after having a brief conversation with my mom about how my great-grandmother used to make plum jelly I decided to do a bit of research on traditional German recipes using plums. I quickly discovered that plum cake (Pflaumenkuchen) is a staple in many German homes, especially when having guests for coffee or tea. It’s so popular that every year between the months of July & September, in the southwestern city of Buhl, Germany there is a festival (Zwetschgenfest) to celebrate the annual plum harvest. During my brief studies on the subject I have found that there are two ways to prepare a plum kuchen, one being with a yeast base and the other with a cake batter. Due to my time constraints I chose the quicker cake batter option.

20170710_152959After preparing this simple coffee cake I know why it is so beloved in Germany. What is not to love about a dense yet tender spice cake adorned with tart plums and finished with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping! I prefer using a mixture of black, red, and yellow plums for contrasting flavor and color but any plum variety will work in this scrumptious cake. Serve it as a quick breakfast with coffee, as an afternoon snack with tea, or a satisfying dessert following dinner!

 

Plum Kuchen

 

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 7 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; divided
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 pound Plums; quartered & pitted
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9 inch round springform or metal cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, allspice, and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 tbsp. butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Combine milk, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Arrange plums in a circular pattern over the batter.
  4. Combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring well. Place remaining 3 tbsp. butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir melted butter into sugar mixture. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: PAUL GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Banana Snack Cake

20170329_192032Recently I had a few blackened bananas on the verge of needing disposal before they rotted completely. I usually turn to making banana bread when this happens but I felt like trying something new. I hadn’t made a cake in awhile so I thought this would be a good fit for some bananas that would otherwise go to waste. Although technically cake, it is more specifically a loaf cake. Loaf cakes hold up well when sliced compared to regular cake, which makes this banana snack cake perfect for packing in lunches or eating a slice on the go for breakfast.

20170329_191744Whether you enjoy this cake for dessert, a snack, or a stand in for breakfast it is a light and healthier option that even kids can enjoy. Packed with potassium-rich bananas, olive oil, low-fat Greek yogurt, and only 1/3 cup of added sugar, you can rest assured this cake will taste indulgent without breaking your healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus this cake is really easy to prepare…even if you have some little kitchen helpers like myself! Enjoy!

Easy Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 whole)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve (approximately 8 servings).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JUDITH MCINTIRE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Clementine Cake

20170113_210838I love to bake with what is currently in season. While the majority of the country’s home-grown produce is out of season, Floridians know that citrus is currently at its peak. I recently realized I have never produced a citrus-based confection this time of year and decided this needed to change. Perhaps the reason I always avoided citrus despite the abundant availability around me is my hidden fear of a bitter final product. In order to get that strong citrus flavor you need the oils from the zest, which requires that the entire fruit be processed, peel and all.

Growing up I always hated the bitter taste of even the slightest bit of pith on my orange or mandarin segments and would spend way too much time working to remove every last bit of “white stuff” so that I could actually enjoy the segment. Very early on I grew annoyed with any citrus that had a peel and came to enjoy the canned mandarin oranges as my substitute. Now, as an adult, I realize the fresh stuff is way better than anything from a can but I still struggle shaking away those childhood bad habits regarding piths.

20170112_134033Since I have yet to successfully overcome my childhood habit I needed to find a recipe that would suit my avoidance of using the entire fruit to provide citrus flavor. If you do a recipe search for mandarin flavored cakes you will quickly realize there are typically only 2 formulas used. The most common formula uses canned mandarin oranges and a cake mix. Although this may do in a hurry it is not what I was looking for since I am seeking to avoid processed foods. The second formula uses the entire mandarin and purees it in a food processor. Neither of these fit my needs so I had to come up with my own solution.

The first step to solving any problem is knowing what the desired outcome is and what is preventing you from getting there. My desired outcome was a cake with a citrus punch without using the entire fruit, however the problem is without the entire fruit the cake lacks bulk and intense citrus flavor. To solve this I created a compromise. I would use zest from the clementines, and use segments of the clementines but discard the remaining peels. In order to sub for the missing bulk the peels would have provided the batter I added a raisin paste along with the segments and walnuts. The raisin paste not only added bulk to the batter but it also acted as a natural sweetener, allowing me to cut down on some of the sugar therefore making the recipe a bit healthier. To give a bit more sweetness and citrus flavor I topped the cooled cake with a Tangerine juice glaze. If you are wondering how to make raisin paste, you simply place some raisins into your food processor and add water just enough to cover the top of the raisins. Simply puree the mixture and voila you have raisin paste. If you make too much you can always store it in the refrigerator for future uses. It is a great sub for whole dates in many recipes.

20170111_163929All in all I was very pleased with the outcome of this cake. It was moist, not overly sweet, and had a nice touch of citrus flavor without any lingering bitterness. In our sugar filled world this cake may not please the masses like its frosted cousins but it is sure to please those who enjoy tasting actual cake and not a touch of cake covered in ten pounds of sugary frosting. Give it a try and enjoy the produce of the season…citrus!

Clementine Cake

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • ½ cup Walnut Halves; toasted
  • 4 tbsp. Raisin Paste (see description above for details)
  • 1 tbsp. Clementine Zest
  • 2 Clementines; peeled & segmented
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 9 oz. All-Purpose Flour (2 cups); plus more for dusting pan
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Fat-Free Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 5 tsp. Fresh Tangerine Juice
  • Toasted Walnut Halves; for topping

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Place walnuts, raisin paste, zest, and clementine segments in a food processor and process until ground.
  3. Combine brown sugar, butter, and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl). Beat mixture with a stand or hand mixer set to medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the sugar mixture, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the nut mixture and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. After 10 minutes remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. After the cake has cooled completely, in a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and Tangerine juice. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and spread to coat the top evenly. Top the outer edge of the cake with toasted walnuts. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: DEBORAH MADISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017