Lemon Coffee Cake

I’m not sure why I am posting a lemon recipe at the end of fall. Normally this time of year calls for warmer flavors, like cinnamon and cloves. But lemon?

I guess I just had an urge. I wanted something decadently rich, but with a lightness of flavor. So lemon coffee cake it was.

And decadent is what I got.

This cake is dense, rich, and something you want to savor. Eaten alongside a steaming cup of tea, I can’t think of a better way to spend my morning.

Well, at least not today.

Lovely Lemon Coffee Cake

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1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp vegan butter**
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegan sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F and oil an 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan. Combine egg replacer and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a mixer (I tried it by hand… it is doable but difficult. I think my arm is actually sore!) for about two minutes. Add Ener-G mixture and vanilla and mix well.

Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Add the sour cream and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and make sure it is all incorporated very well.

Scoop into the oiled loaf pan and level the top with a spoon. The batter should be fairly thick. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

**I want to try making this with about 2 Tbsp less butter and replacing it with 3 Tbsp applesauce.. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

** They make the Earth Balance butter in stick form!!!! I found it at the local health foods store, and it was definitely my most exciting find of the week (Wow. I sound exciting don’t I?)


Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

It was soggy in San Luis yesterday. Very soggy. I don’t think it stopped raining from 11am to… well, I went to bed around 10. I also don’t think soggy is a very nice word. It’s wonderfully descriptive and fun to say, but just kind of sounds gross.

Anyway, I’m not a fan of being cold. I like the cold and how festive and fresh it feels, but I like experiencing this while all bundled up in loads of jackets and fuzzy socks. Especially those ugly fuzzy socks that you would be mortified to be seen wearing in public. I’m of the opinion that the uglier the sock, the warmer they will be.

I definitely wear mine in public.

So yesterday morning, to prepare for the rainy day ahead, I decided to make some bread. I wanted something warm, and cinnamon seemed to fit the bill. I wanted something sweet, so enter lovely raisins. I wanted something chewy, and oats seemed just right. So I threw them all in a bowl and ended up with a loaf that I am truly pleased with.

So here it is – my spur-of-the-moment Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread, that just might warm you up on a soggy, rainy day (and there’s that word again…).

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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5 oz whole wheat flour
9 oz all-purpose flour
2 oz rolled oats
6 oz soy milk (or regular milk, for the non-vegan version)
6 1/2 oz water
3/4 oz butter (I used Earth Balance, but regular butter works for non-vegans)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 oz raisins
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp melted butter, for brushing (optional)

Place oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the bowl or in a mixer until a shaggy dough forms.

Knead 6-8 minutes, until a smooth forms. You won’t get super awesome gluten development because of the raisins, but it should still be smooth and stretchy.

Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Let rise 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Shape into a log and place in a well-oiled 8.5×4.5 loaf pan. Let rise 60 minutes, or until crested 1 inch above the rim of the pan.

20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden. The crust should sound hollow when tapped.

Brush with melted butter, and let cool 1-2 hours. Enjoy!

Note: Brushing with butter is optional, but the lack of moisture in the oven will create a white-ish look to the top of the loaf. Brushing with butter returns the pretty golden hue, but isn’t necessary to the overall flavor.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite remedy for a cold, rainy day?

I make myself some coffee, find a warm blanket, and snuggle down with a book (usually of the textbook sort…). As long as I can stay warm, bring on the cold!

Cranberry Orange Bread

Before I get into this post, I wanted to apologize for the blurry photos… Every time I think I can shoot without the tripod, I am reminded that it is a bad idea!

I wasn’t happy about this bread. I didn’t like how it came together, I didn’t have the ingredients I wanted, and I forgot to add the walnuts. I put it in the oven and expected to be disappointed.

As you might guess (since I decided to post it), the bread actually turned out alright. I do thing adding walnuts would have improved the overall flavor and texture, but they definitely aren’t necessary, especially if you aren’t a nut person. I had to use canned cranberry sauce because there were no fresh cranberries to be found at my grocery store. So strange, considering that November is cranberry month! The canned cranberries turned out fine, but I would like to try it using fresh. I feel like the flavors would just pop!

Cranberry Orange Bread

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1 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp water
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegan vanilla yogurt (I used Whole Soy & Co. yogurt)
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 can whole cranberry sauce OR 1 1/4 cups cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Combine flax seed and water in a small bowl, set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, combine juice, yogurt, and orange rind. Add the flax mixture and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix only enough to moisten all the flour. Gently fold in cranberries and walnuts (if using).

Pour batter into an oiled 8×4 loaf pan (or I used the KAF bake-and-give pans). Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Question of the day: Are you ever surprised about the outcome of your baked goods?

I often am! Many times I am surprised in a good way, but it’s such a bummer when something I think is going to be good turns out bad. All I can say is I’ve definitely failed at zucchini bread a couple of times…

Have a good Wednesday!

Pumpkin Muffins

I’m a big blog reader.

I could waste hours of time. Reading recipes, searching recipes, studying pictures, enjoying other peoples’ lives…Seriously. Hours.

So when I come across an amazing blog, I get really excited. I jumped for joy when I found Daily Garnish (and I kind of want to steal her new baby). I fell in love when I stumbled upon Chocolate Covered Katie and her Cookie Dough Dip. I decided I want kids like Sara Matheny’s at Peas and Thank You. And finally, I’ve decided to go punk, so I can go not-punk and be just like the Post Punk Kitchen.

And make Isa’s “Best” Pumpkin Muffins.

Her recipe is picture-less. I’m of the opinion (just like everyone else, duh) that a picture speaks a thousand words. But here, there’s no “you-want-to-eat-me muffin” staring right at you. There’s no fancy lighting to make it look enticing. There is only a recipe, and it speaks for itself.

I won’t post the recipe here (it’ll force you to go over to her blog!), but I will show you some pictures I took.

Make these muffins now. Seriously. You’ll be glad you did.

Question of the day: Who are your favorite bloggers? And what is your favorite recipe of theirs?

I already told you some of mine, so no surprise there. But I’m always searching for more, so I’d love to know your favorites!

French Bread

Sorry about the lack of posting lately – this week has been a bit crazy! On that same note, sorry I don’t have a fresh image to give you, either. I’ll work on it.

If you’re new to bread (or if you need a reminder!), please see my tutorials on beginning breadmaking!

I figured it was about time I post the first bread recipe. I thought I would start with a very basic loaf – French bread. The beauty of French bread is the simplicity. The only ingredients are white flour, water, yeast, and salt, making it a chinch to put together. I can almost guarantee that you have these ingredients on hand! And because it is commercially yeasted, it only takes about 4 hours to complete. The dough that comes together is soft and supple, will develop its gluten easily, and is easy to work with. Out of the oven, French bread has a nice crisp crust and a fairly soft crumb. It’s great with a bowl of chili, as toast, by itself, in a sandwich… It’s pretty much great with anything!

For this loaf, you will need a pizza stone or cookie sheet to bake on. You will not use a loaf pan. I give instructions ( labeled with a star*) on how to create steam in your oven using a broiler pan and water. This helps achieve a good crust, but is optional.

French Bread

15 oz all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
9 oz water

Combine flour salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Do not place salt directly on top of the yeast, as it will kill it. Instead, place them on opposite sides of the bowl and mix into the flour.

Add the water and mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Knead by hand for 10 minutes, or in a mixer for 8, until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Form into a ball and place into an oiled bowl.

Let rise for 60-90 minutes, until doubled in size.

Liberally dust a cookie sheet or pizza peel (if using a stone) with flour. Or, you can cover the pan or peel with parchment. Turn the dough out onto an oiled counter. Gently deflate and form into a ball by pulling the top of the dough down toward the bottom. Do this carefully – only enough to create surface tension, but not enough to tear the dough.

Place on your prepared surface and spray with spray oil. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise for another 45-60 minutes, until doubled again.

20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400F. *Place an empty broiler pan (or, I use an old loaf pan) in the oven while it heats.

After the dough has risen, slide it into the oven.

Pour a cup of water into the hot broiler pan and quickly shut the oven door. After 10 minutes, remove the water pan. Continue to bake for another 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped. The internal temperature should read 195-200 degrees. Let cool on a cooling rack for at least one hour. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe or bread in general – I’m happy to help! Email me at ovenmittsblog (at) gmail (dot) com. Happy breadmaking!

Banana Bread

I know, I know. Who needs another banana bread recipe, right? That’s exactly what I was thinking when I was posting this. It seems that everyone has a recipe that is the perfect one and can’t be beat.

BUT! There was a point in time when I went searching the internet for a banana bread recipe. I made it, liked it, but searched again. I made another loaf, and searched again. After all the trial and error, I came up with something that I really liked and wanted to make time and again. So here it is. It has a lighter texture than some other recipes out there, making it something that I feel I could eat every day. I give it just a bit of spice to liven it up, and throw in some walnuts just for fun. For all those out there searching for the banana bread that makes you tick, give this one a go.

Banana Bread

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1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 medium or 2 large bananas (about 1 pound, before peeling)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 egg replacers (I used Ener-G)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if using)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8×4″ loaf pan, or two mini loaf pans. Prepare egg replacers and set aside.

Place the bananas in a zip-top plastic bag. Leaving a small hole at the top, gently smash the bananas with your hands until creamy. A few chunks are okay, but try to get it fairly uniform.

Cream the butter, sugar, and smashed bananas in a large bowl. Add the baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the egg replacers and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour slowly, mixing only enough to moisten all the flour. Fold in chopped walnuts, if using.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly (usually around 45-50 minutes), tent with foil and continue baking. If you are using mini loaf pans, shorten the baking time about 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness using a toothpick, and let cool 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Question of the day: Where did you get your favorite banana bread recipe, and what is so special about it?

Pumpkin Scones

It’s officially Fall!

At least my calendar thinks so. San Luis, on the other hand, can’t quite decide. Some days are cold (and by cold I mean in the 60’s), and some days are positively hot! Just last week I was going to class in shorts and a tank top, feeling like I still had too much clothing on. The thermometer hit somewhere around 100 degrees F, and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen in the sky. This week, however, is a different story. Our morning bike ride yesterday required all the clothing I had, and my feet still went numb under my wool socks. Yet, the day warmed up a bit and the weatherman is predicting a high of 75 today. Hmm. Not so fall-y.

That is a word.

The only real sign of fall that I see is some changing of leaves from red to gold to brown. So pretty! And my garden doesn’t seem to want to produce anything more for me to eat… Looks like I need to find some winter plants.

Anyway! Elissa and I decided to try usher in the fall spirit by baking something with pumpkin. No other flavor describes the atmosphere, flavors, and feeling of fall so well as pumpkin and it’s complimentary spices. We threw them all together in some scones and topped them with a sugary cinnamony glaze. They not only made amazing dessert, but amazing breakfast, too.

Pumpkin Scones

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1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp All Purpose flour
1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
7 tbsp cold earth balance butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp nondairy milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp ground chia seeds or flax seeds, + 3 tbsp water

For the spiced frosting:
1 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp nondairy milk (I used soy)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the chia or flax with the water and let sit for a few minutes.

Combine flour (minus the 3 tbsp), baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or a fork until chunks of butter are fairly flat and about the size of your fingernail.

Place the pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, and flax mixture in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing only enough to moisten all the flour. It is best to do this with your hands so you can really get a good feel for the dough. It should feel light and fluffy and hold its shape. If it feels too wet, add the extra flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until you feel you have the right consistency.

Dust a surface with some flour and knead the dough just a few times. Shape into a rough circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Transfer the wedges to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 14-15 minutes, just until you see the edges start to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit while you make the frosting.

Combine all the ingredients for the frosting and whisk until smooth. Once the scones are cool, you can either brush the frosting on with a pastry brush, or pipe it on using a plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner. Let the frosting dry for 30 minutes. Or just eat them right then and there. It depends how strong-willed you are! (We aren’t very strong-willed…)

We had some frosting left over so we tossed it with some almonds and baked them for 15 minutes at the same temperature. It added just a touch of sweetness and made a wonderful snack 🙂

Any ideas for good plants to plant during winter?

Frost isn’t a big issue – we’re 15 minutes from the west coast. Just about anything grows here!