The pickle man

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baking for my students... Cinnamon Breakfast Bread

Early in my teaching career, I figured out that kids are highly motivated by food.  Especially homemade food.  They'll do anything - even their homework.  If every student in a class does all of their homework 5 times in a row, I bake for them.  And last night, I made cinnamon breakfast bread.

I love this stuff.  My friend Allison really really loves this stuff.  I remember making it with her in a crappy dorm kitchen at William and Mary, and it was still pretty amazing.

So here's how it goes.

Cream 2 sticks of butter and 2 1/2 cups sugar with a mixer (and yes, I remember doing this with a hand held mixer.  I do not miss that thing).
sorry for the weird picture - don't know why my mixer looks like that... Ah, digital photography.  But it's still better than the handheld mixer. 

Add 4 eggs, one at a time.  For baking, I use extra large eggs because they make things fluffier.  And I like fluffiness.  In baked goods, at least.

Mix in 1-2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt.

Measure 1 cup buttermilk.  Add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the buttermilk (no need to stir).  Alternately add 3 cups of flour with the buttermilk.. as in, put in some flour, then pour in some buttermilk.  End on the buttermilk (no idea why - it's just what my mom always did!)

Grease and flour a bundt pan or tube pan, or 2 loaf pans.

 And I never really "grease and flour" any more, because my mother-in-law introduced me to this stuff.

It's amazing.  It lets me use pretty fleur de lis bundt pans without nasty stickiness.  Scroll down and look at the finished cake.

She knows all the best tricks.  Seriously. (And in a side note, she bought me colored sugar at a specialty bakery store when she went to the big city!  So my next King Cake will not look like a Halloween freak show!!  I'll probably try this weekend... Also forthcoming - white bean chili). 

But back to the cinnamon breakfast bread.  In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar.
Pour 1/2 the dough mixture in the bundt pan.

Sprinkle 1/2 the cinnamon mixture on top.

Add the rest of the dough.

And the rest of the cinnamon mixture.

Swirl with a butter knife (Allison was always much more artistic at swirling).

Bake the bread for 1 hour in a 350 oven, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool in the pan, then invert it over a plate.
Ahh!! Thank you , Baker's Joy.  Another triumph.

This is awesome when warm, and very yummy the next day.  You can spread butter over the top and toast it, too.  It makes your whole house smell wonderful.

The cinnamon swirl is supposed to be slightly prettier than this, but as noted before, I let my friend do the swirling, and she lives in Massachusetts now.  So it was more like a tunnel-of-cinnamon cake, but you get the idea.

I also love nuts in this recipe... but for the kiddos, I decided to do without.  If you do use nuts, I recommend pecans, and definitely toast them before adding them.  I use about 1 cup.

Nuts aside, teenagers will do their homework for this.  Even if the homework is poetry.  So you know it's good!

Condensed recipe:
2 sticks butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup toasted pecans (optional)
2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon mixed in a separate bowl.

Cream the butter and the sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and salt.  Add the soda to the buttermilk (no need to stir).  Alternately add the flour and the buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined.  Pour half into a greased loaf pan, top with half the cinnamon mixture, then the rest of the dough and the rest of the cinnamon.  Swirl.  Bake at 350 for an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


  1. I love this bread...makes the perfect Christmas gift (or whenever gift) for all the families I babysit for. And using small loaf pans lets you give them all a special gift on a tight budget!!

  2. Beautiful cake! Reminds me of Miss Ann Mickel's Texas Butter Cake we used to make without the cinnamon. I can see putting the swirl in it.

  3. That cake sounds so moist and delicious and cinnamony good. I've heard about how well that Baker's Joy works. I'll have to keep a lookout for that. I have a linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.