True Breakfast Confession

It’s embarrassing, but true: on the weekends I like dessert for breakfast. Sure, an omelette or bacon and eggs can be satisfying. But really I want blueberry pancakes with real, rich maple syrup or baked brioche French toast with raisins and pecans (really a bread pudding!). Even better would be a piece of fruit pie from dessert the night before. When I lived in France in college my French “mother” and I would eat leftover tarte tatin for breakfast. The caramel drenched apples and buttery puff pastry, now a little damp from a night on the countertop, were a luxurious and pleasurable way to start the day. Now that was a reason to get out of bed (and a reason I don’t let anyone see photos of me from that time).

In my house these days cereal, peanut butter toast, bagels, and oatmeal are for weekdays. On the weekends I try to make something a bit special for breakfast, maybe a batch of muffins, perhaps a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Last weekend I made some basic muffin batter and used half of it for six blueberry muffins on Saturday. I was going to make more muffins on Sunday, but I decided to mix it up a bit and bake a strawberry coffeecake. I added sliced strawberries to the batter and poured it into a greased baking pan. To up the sweetness and crunch I topped the batter with some leftover streusel I had in the freezer from another recipe.

The result was a super-tender (thank you buttermilk), sweet, and crunchy breakfast treat. If you can’t find good strawberries anymore, blueberries would be delicious as well. And if you don’t feel like making a streusel (here’s a good recipe – cut the ingredients in half) you could replace the vanilla extract in the batter with almond extract and top the cake with toasted almond slivers.


Serves 4-6

(Adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

½ cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups sliced strawberries

canola oil for greasing the pan

streusel or toasted nuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease an 8 X 8 baking pan with canola oil.

2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened. The batter doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth; a few lumps will ensure that the cake is tender and springy.

5. Pour the batter into the pan, top with streusel or toasted nuts if using. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the middle springs back when you gently press it, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

This recipe makes enough batter for the coffeecake or six muffins. Double the quantities to make both on successive days like I did.

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