twice as nice

It’s not often a recipe is this versatile. It’s half of a recipe that can go two ways. Confusing, right? While looking for a good church breakfast treat I could make in a bundt pan, I came across a blueberry sour cream coffee cake. It had everything in it–blueberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans…so much so that since I needed to make two bundts, I made the base twice and then went only blueberry with one and cinnamon pecan with the other. AMAZING, both ways. Let me tell you. It makes for an amazingly moist cake. When you bite into it, the cake practically melts and I have no idea why but it is good and I do not question things that are good. All I know is I may or may not have been making repetitive trips every 5 minutes or so to the leftovers, so that I eventually just left a fork under the saran wrap for convenience.  But this post is specifically about the magic that was the cinnamon pecan result. The bundt I drizzled with a maple glaze. And a day later in response to a request at work for a sweet treat, I scooped this same batter into cupcake sleeves and topped with a maple cream cheese icing. The batter was that same fluffy, melty white goodness with swirls of sweet crunch. I have never seen cupcakes disappear this quickly (they never saw high noon) and one coworker came to me with a mouthful and exclaimed “these are stupid good!”. People went out of their way to come to me and tell me how good these were, they were their favorite yet. It was like a weird dream. I even ate 2 and normally I am so over sugar by the time I pop goodies out of the oven that I rarely make it through more than a few bites. I can say all these things because I am not complimenting myself, but merely reveling in a thing of magic. I don’t know why or how but this recipe is here now, stored forever, and I can’t wait to pull it out when I need it for a breakfast bundt or special dessert.

cinnamon pecan swirl cupcakes
based off a blueberry sourcream coffee cake from allrecipes.com

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (** i prefer to use 2 containters of voscos honey vanilla bean greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 5/8 cups all-purpose flour (odd, i know)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 tspn ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch Bundt pan OR for cupcakes, fill tray with cupcake sleeves.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream (or greek yogurt) and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended.
  • Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle half of this mixture over the batter in the pan. Spoon remaining batter over the top, and then sprinkle the remaining pecan mixture over. Use a knife or thin spatula to swirl the sugar layer into the cake (for cupcakes: fill sleeves about half full and then sprinkle a spoonful of the brown sugar mixture over each and use something thin like a skewer to swirl it in).
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the crown of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate, and tap firmly to remove from the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (for cupcakes: for regular sized cupcakes, bake for 19-21 minutes and allow to cool. These cupcakes like to pull away from their liners, but don’t worry, they still taste great!)
maple glaze (for a bundt cake)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
a splash of milk
  • Not being a glaze coneisseur, I guessed at this a bit and it worked out just fine. The recipe I went off of didn’t include milk but it helps to make it a little less thick so it will drizzle better. You may want to double this recipe to get a nice covering on the cake. For best results, drizzle shortly before serving. Sprinkle with pecan bits to finish.
maple cream cheese icing (for cupcakes)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 tbs unsalted butter, softened
cups powdered sugar
¼ maple syrup
  • So I started with my basic cream cheese icing recipe, swapping the vanilla out for maple syrup. I played with it a bit to get a good consistency and flavor. Feel free to add more powdered sugar to stiffen it up or syrup to get the flavor more bold. A tip from smittenkitchen is to add a dash of cornstarch to absorb some of the excess moisture that the syrup has to also help it to stiffen up some. Top with whatever you like—I went with a little brown sugar and a caramel.

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