Autumn in a Slice Coffee Cake

fall coffee cake

Here’s what happened: I posted this image, a slice of the coffee cake I made on Instagram and was about to leave it at that, but you guys kept asking for the recipe so I’m gonna share it here as well. And happily, too!

There is no story to this really, I just wanted to bake up something simple for us to enjoy over the weekend. November is showing its uglier face lately, it’s dark and wet and windy… switching the oven on and filling the house with the smell of cake seemed to be just the right thing to do.

What I love about coffee cakes is how simple yet versatile they are. The base ingredients in the batter are things I’m sure you have in your pantry right now. If you want to mix things up a bit, just add whatever suits your fancy: fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, whatever. This time for me it was the very best of fall, namely carrots, apples and walnuts. Also featuring a seeded streusel topping, because why not.

The result is a crumbly and moist cake, crunchy on top. Not too sweet, subtly spiced. Reason to sit down and gab over a cup of coffee, even impressive enough on a pretty cake stand for entertaining (but easy enough that you’ll still have some pep in your step when the guests arrive).

Back to spices for a sec, is it just me, or do you also find it hard to practice self-control when it comes to cinnamon? I love it, I really do but wanted to let the other ingredients have their moment too – it took several batches to adjust the amount so it wouldn’t overpower everything else.

That said, you’ll find the instructions below to the cake I call Autumn in a Slice. Enjoy! Also feel free to tag me @fruzsi_farkas if you made it.

Autumn in a Slice Coffee Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
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Moist coffee cake with a crunchy streusel topping. Simple to make, featuring the best of fall ingredients.

Ingredients

For the streusel topping:

25 g old fashioned rolled oats

25 g pepitas (or hulled pumpkin seeds)

15 g sunflower seeds, hulled

20 g sugar

¼ tsp salt

75 g AP flour

50 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For the cake:

200 g AP or whole wheat flour

100 g walnut meal

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

½ cup (125 ml) neutral vegetable oil

250 g brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

180 g carrots, grated

180 g apples, grated

Directions

  1. Make the streusel topping: whizz the butter, salt, sugar and flour in a food processor until coarse and crumbly. Add oats and seeds, mix with a spoon to combine. If texture is too dry, add 1 tbsp of cold water. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F), line the bottom of a 24 cm (9”) spingform pan with parchment paper. If pan is not non-stick, grease sides as well.
  3. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, walnut, baking powder and salt to combine.
  4. In another bowl, whisk eggs with oil, sugar and cinnamon. Add carrots and apples, mix well to combine.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix to just combine (do not overmix, some visible lumps are fine).
  6. Pour batter in prepared pan, crumble steusel evenly on top.
  7. Bake 10 min, lower the temp to 150°C (300°F) and bake an additional 30-40 min, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack 15 min, remove from pan and cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

Love,

Fruzsi

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Healthy (Kinda) Jam Shortbread Bars

Healthier Shortbread Fig Jam Crumble Bars

Update: since I’ve first posted this recipe, I’ve further cut down on the fat, subbed AP flour one-to-one for whole-wheat, and used granulated birch sugar instead of brown sugar.

You know the ‘How to have a bikini body’ meme right? I’m positive we shouldn’t stress so much about our physical appearances (at least lot less than the media would suggest anyway), but I also don’t want to be a hypocrite.

I do watch what I eat and work out regularly, not so much as to fit any mould but to respect my body by treating it right. At the same time I also allow myself the occasional indulgence which I think is necessary for balance in life, and those treats are the things I like to post about.

Today’s recipe is an in-between in the sense that it’s most definitely a dessert, but it’s way less bad for you and that beach bod of yours than the average sweet. That’s what I call a win-win! Read on for my healthier take on the classic jam shortbread bars.

Shortbread is one part white sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. Here I have:

  • substituted 2/3 of the flour with oats, nuts and protein powder
  • swapped the butter for margarine and used less than 40% of the initial amount
  • cut white sugar completely
  • the jam was a naturally sweet, no-sugar-added (diabetic) fig spread

And believe it or not after all this messing around, it’s still amazing! Let’s see why altering the original recipe is good for you:

White flour is heavily processed, the most nutritional aspects of the grain like fiber, vitamins and minerals are stripped away. The downsides to it are an overall lack of nutrients, highly refined carbs and also the gluten if you have sensitivities.

Oats on the other hand are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. They are packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are high in fiber and protein compared to other grains. Nearly all of the carbs in oats come from complex starches, which you digest slowly. Also, they are naturally gluten-free.

Nuts were walnuts in my case, but the recipe would work with almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or pistachios as well, so knock yourself out! They are nutritional powerhouses: complete packages of protein, heart-healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

I’ve been drinking protein shakes post-workout and just lately started replacing some of the flour with protein powder in baked goods. My favorite whey protein is gluten, lactose and also sugar-free, plus the vanilla flavor complements most sweets well. Work with a 1:3 conversion (that is 1/3 cup of protein powder for every 1 cup of flour).

Figs are a great source of fibre and they are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well. They contain prebiotics, which help support the good bacteria in your gut. Moreover, their potassium content helps regulate the amount of sugar which is absorbed into your body. The natural sugar content of figs also allows you to cut further down on the amount of sweetener used in recipes. I made this with a sugar-free, thick plum preserve as well, if you want a more fall-ish taste.

On to the old debate: butter or margarine, as fats and calories in them are about the same. The cold hard truth is, the healthiest option would be to skip both. The problem with butter lies in saturated fat and cholesterol, while the main concern with margarine is trans fats, the result of hydrogenation. Experts suggest consuming monounsaturated fats whenever possible (olive oil uncooked or vegetable oil for cooking). When baking, use a hard stick of trans-fat-free margarine in place of butter but whichever you select, limit your overall consumption.

What I also love about this healthier take is the texture; how crunchy-crumbly it is thanks to the oats and nuts. Frankly, there’s still fructose (fruit sugar) and a fair amount of fat in these bars, but they are incomparable to the average jam shortbread square in nutritional value. If you want a guilt-free dessert, it won’t get any better than this!

And as with everything else, portion size is key!

Healthy Fig Crumble Bars

  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthier, crunchy-crumbly squares filled with a yummy sugar-free fig spread.

Ingredients

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, fine

½ cup walnuts

1 cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup granulated birch sugar (or other sugar alternative)

150 g (10 tbsp) cold margarine, cut to cubes

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1 ½ cup diabetic fig preserves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F), line a 22 by 22 cm (9×9”) baking dish with aluminium foil, covering the sides as well.
  2. In a food processor, pulse nuts until chopped but not too fine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, mix oats, nuts, flour, protein powder, sugar, salt and baking powder for a few seconds until combined.
  4. Add margarine cubes one by one and mix until a coarse crumb of the size of peas forms and margarine is evenly distributed.
  5. With the back of a spoon, push 2/3 of the crumb mixture in bottom of tray. Bake until golden, about 20 min.
  6. Remove from the oven, spread preserves evenly on crust. Crumble remaining streusel on top.
  7. Transfer back to oven and bake until topping is golden, about 30 min.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool before slicing. Enjoy!

Healthier Shortbread Fig Jam Crumble Bars

Healthier Shortbread Fig Jam Crumble Bars

Healthier Shortbread Fig Jam Crumble Bars

Love,

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship, commissions or gifts.*

Baked Oatmeal 3 Ways

baked-oatmeal-3-ways-title

Update: For those of you with lactose intolerance, I’ve made the recipes with almond and soy milk too, they both work fine. Simply substitute 1:1 

You guys over there in the US of A seem to have a national day for just about everything, and I love you for that. Why yes, it’s always a good idea to celebrate and/or raise awareness! I honestly think we should copy-paste your National Day Calendar as-is.

Now I know it’s only Monday, but let the preparations start in time because this Saturday marks not just one, but 3 of your National Days. October 29th is National Cat Day, National Oatmeal Day and also National Hermit Day. Not sure about the latter, but please allow my humble Hungarian self to join in on for the other two.

We share a home with two cats and our feral rescue fur babies are literally the cutest, so that one is obvs. And then, there is oatmeal. Oats, the base for “America’s favorite breakfast” oatmeal, are grown mostly for forage here, but started gaining a footing in our kitchens as well. I personally am a big fan and always keep a few packages of Lidl’s Norwaldtaler or Aldi’s Kunsperone Old-Fashioned Oats in my pantry.

Oats are good for you because they contain a type of soluble fibre that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream: this slower digestion prevents spikes in blood sugar. Also, oats are a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks, aiding the heart muscle and regulating blood pressure.

While all oats start off as oat groats after harvest, there are a variety of table oats depending on how much the unbroken grains were processed. If you need clarification on roasting, steaming, and the difference between steel-cut, rolled and instant oats (like I did), this article will answer all your questions.

For my taste, oats are a little bland on their own, but luckily you can dress this ingredient up nicely to make a warm, delicious and deeply comforting meal to start your day off right. It’s just a texture preference of mine and you don’t need to follow suit, but I buy both coarse and fine oats, and mix the two.

We love oat biscuits (the family fav is a walnut-oat biscuit, a particularly guilty pleasure the recipe of which I plan on sharing as we go deeper into the cold season), and I’ve been making a lot of baked oatmeal as well lately for lazy weekend mornings.

The 3 most popular flavors turned out to be banana, apple pie and pumpkin pie (considering fall is in full swing, no surprise there). They are a total no-brainer and reheat beautifully: just store in the fridge and pop the leftover in the microwave. Enjoy with a huge cup of latte!

You can cut down on the sugar if you like, all the added fruits contain plenty of sweetness. Optionally, toast almonds or chopped walnuts in a dry pan to sprinkle on top of your steaming bowl of a hearty breakfast.

BTW, the HF Coors Shirred Egg French Round chefsware in the pictures? Thrifted at the Negreni Fair for $1.25 each. I can’t help but wonder at the food and the kitchens they’ve seen since manufactured in Inglewood, CA up until they got – undamaged! – to a tiny village on the other side of the globe to be found, bargained at, and taken home by me. All that history!

Without further ado, I give you my baked oatmeal recipes:

banana bread baked oatmeal

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

2 ripe bananas, smashed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and banana.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

apple pie baked oatmeal

Baked Apple Pie Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

1 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp apple pie spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and applesauce.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 medium egg

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F)
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about half an hour, until middle is set.

Love,

Fruzsi

“Healthy cereals for breakfast” photo featured in title image © evening_tao via freepik

 *Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship or gifts.*