Bonus Post: Irish Soda Bread

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St.Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and there’s still time to make this Irish Soda Bread! Though traditionalists will tell you that what we call Irish soda bread bears little resemblance to the traditional Irish bread developed in the 1800s, one thing hasn’t changed — butter is always slathered on the finished product liberally. :)

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  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
  • 5-6 ounces raisins
  • For basting: 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter and 1/4 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a large baking sheet; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut in 1/2 cup butter.
  • Stir in 1 cup buttermilk, egg, vanilla. Add raisins and orange zest.


  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round loaf and place on prepared baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup buttermilk. Brush loaf with mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of the loaf.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Continue to brush the loaf with butter mixture every 15 minutes.

Image-188 This recipe was adapted from

Cuban Architecture & Crumb Cake Muffins


Nowhere is the beauty and complexity of Cuba’s history more evident than in its architecture.

With Colonial stone fortresses,


a Baroque style basilica,


and a Moorish style cathedral,


Havana is one of the most architecturally diverse cities in the world.

Walking through the city visitors see the Spanish,




and Italian influences of the post-Colonial period,


along side classic examples of art nouveau and art deco, like the famous Baccardi Building standing tall in the center of Havana.


While some neighborhoods are comprised of Soviet-syle block houses,


American high-rise style apartment buildings dot the skyline view across the Malecon.


In fact, Americans walking through central Havana may be surprised to see this building,


El Capitolo, which was the seat of government in Cuba until the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Cubans are quick to tell you their national capital building is taller than the one in Washington, DC and, unlike ours, this neoclassical building only served as the seat of the House of Representatives and Senate for about 30 years.

But Havana is a city that was built by addition, not by substitution, and it’s not uncommon to find buildings that are crumbling next to more modern ones. Current economic and political realities that make paint expensive and restrict  home and apartment owners from also owning part of the building or land make diversity in exterior upkeep a natural part of the landscape.


Today, money earned from hotels and state-owned restaurants is being funneled into restoration and, while there’s beauty in the restored buildings and gorgeous stained glass fan lights,


I also saw beauty and rich history in the peeling paint and broken glass.

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For like so many baked treats, sometimes the crumbs are the best part, right? I know that’s true for these Crumb Cake Muffins!


Click Here to Print This Recipe.


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter with spoon until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/3 cup mixture for topping.
  • Stir in eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and milk into remaining mixture. When well mixed, spoon batter into muffin cups, filling approximately 1/2 way. Sprinkle reserved crumbly mixture over batter.
  • Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.



This recipe yields 15 muffins.

Bonus Post: Pumpkin Donut Muffins with Blood Orange Jam

No sooner did I hit “publish” on last week’s post about warm weather and summer dessert, than the temperature dropped, the leaves turned color, and it officially felt like fall.

Time to open the windows, let the cool air in, and turn up the heat on the oven for some baking with the quintessential fall ingredient — pumpkin! In previous autumns, I’ve made Pumpkin Granola Bars, Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes, and Pumpkin Spice Mini Cupcakes. This time? It was Pumpkin Donut Muffins with Blood Orange Jam. Welcome, Fall!


Click Here To Print This Recipe.

Yield: 10 muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 ounces plain vanilla yogurt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Blood orange jam


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tin.
  • In a large bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, and yogurt.
  • Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, add melted butter, and combine.


  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into bottom of muffin tin, top with 1 teaspoon jam, and cover with batter.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in muffin tin.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
  • Roll muffins in sugar mixture.


  • Serve warm.

This recipe was converted and adapted from Simply Delicious.

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