Joy the Baker

Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins

April 17, 2012


I saw people in bikinis today.  People.  In.  Bikinis.

Friends… apparently it’s time.  Granted, I live in Los Angeles.  It’s SunnySunTown.

Just a few days ago I was eager and ready for summer.  Summer is great, right!?  Well… I was mostly thinking about watermelon, picnics, and late night tacos.  I was NOT thinking about bikinis.  I’m not ready to think about bikinis.  I’m medium ready to think about tankinis… and that’s about as far as it goes.

I tend to have really strange reactions to seeing people in bikinis.  I make muffins.  It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction.  People are wearing very little clothes in public?  Right… right.  I’ll be right back.  I have to go make a dozen, and eat at least two muffins. (brb. no bigs)


I want to pack these muffins with as much flavor as possible.

In my kitchen, flavor generally starts with browned butter.

The process of browning butter takes the cold stick of yellow butter, and makes it a golden brown, nutty smelling, butter liquid.

It is divinity.


I made simple sugar fragrant and utterly lovely by adding fresh vanilla bean.

I split a vanilla bean, scraped out the seeds and rubbed it into granulated sugar.  I used my clean fingers.  This pretty much creates the best perfume ever.


Next flavor?  Espresso!

Instant espresso powder is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen.  …I’ll throw it in the eyes on any burglar that breaks in my house.

It also adds an amazing depth to chocolate desserts.  Brownies and chocolate cakes are brilliant with just a touch of instant espresso powder re-hydrated in a bit of hot water.

In these muffins, the espresso powder isn’t hidden behind dreamy chocolate.  The coffee flavor is combined with browned butter and vanilla sugar to create… well, a dang lovely breakfast muffin batter.


I filled the muffin cups halfway with the vanilla, brown butter batter… then I stirred the espresso mixture into the remaining batter and topped off the muffin cups.  Yea… vanilla and coffee in these humble little muffins.  No biggie.


Streusel and cinnamon too!  It wouldn’t be coffee cake without a streusel.

These are good thinking and planning muffins.  Grab your calender and coffee… settle in.  Avoid any and all thoughts about bikinis.


Or!  Put on a pair of cowboy boots and a little dress and take these muffins for brunch times.  Totally the right move.

These muffins are tender and flavorful.  The coffee flavor is alluring and not too sweet.  They’re like little cupcakes you can totally get away with enjoying in the morning.  It’s just good breakfast eating.

Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Print this Recipe!

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons istant espresso powder mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water

For the Topping

3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that.  Keep a close eye.  Remove from heat.

If using vanilla bean, split the vanilla bean down the center, scrape the seeds out, and in a small bowl, rub the vanilla beans into the granulated sugar.  I used my fingers and it worked like a charm.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Add the brown butter and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl  Add milk and butter mixture all at once, and stir gently to combine.

Divide half of the batter among muffin cups.  Stir the espresso and water mixture into the remaining batter.  Divide the espresso batter between the twelve muffin cups.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them… they dry out quickly.  Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

173 Comments Add A Comment

  • I am SO not ready for bikinis………. but I am completely ready for these muffins!

  • These look awesome! I always feel like coffee cake falls sort of short flavor-wise, but these look like they are so deeply FULL of flavor. Can’t wait to try them. Totally agree about bikinis. Can’t even think about it. Not that my thighs are hidden by a one piece or a tankini either – just can’t think about public near-nakedness at this point. . . . I need muffins too. LOTS of muffins.

  • These look awesome! I always feel like coffee cake falls sort of short flavor-wise, but these look like they are so deeply FULL of flavor. Can’t wait to try them. Totally agree about bikinis. Can’t even think about it. Not that my thighs are hidden by a one piece or a tankini either – just can’t think about public near-nakedness at this point. . . . I need muffins too. LOTS of muffins.

  • Hi Joy! As always I love this post and I am going to make these yummy looking breakfast friendly cupcake like coffee cakes this weekend. I just thought you should know something is wrong with your coding at the end of the recipe there is [/printbale] and when I clicked the print link there was nothing there but your copyright. I’m guessing this has to do with the misspelling of printable…

    Also it must be said that I pre-ordered your cookbook back in January and I have made your buttermilk cheddar jalapeno biscuits a bazillion times…per request from my family! Totally awesome. :)

  • Great muffins and I pick boots and a dress over a bikini any day. Thankfully I live in Ohio….we are a few months away from bikini season…thank goodness!!!

  • Jamie Lauren Gem April 18, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Bikinis?! – urgh, is it that time already?!

    & weddings too. Almost as scary in my opinion as you know you will be immortalised in the happy couple’s photos forever more. Bingo wings and all!

    The stress of summer body prep makes me want these muffins even more!


  • These look awesome, and this is a hilarious post!

  • Oh my goodness, these loook absolutely delicious!!!!! Thank you!

  • You are seriously on a roll at the moment. I look forward to your posts so much.

    I am definitely definitely making this tonight.

    Joy, you rock!

  • Oh lovely!
    May I just suggest a little respelling? ‘Streusel’ is one of those German words I really like that always get mispelled ;) we would have quite a bit of fun pronouncing your versions ;)
    Love what you do!

  • Can’t wait to try them!!! Fortunately it is Autumn here in South Africa and bikini season is over. Relief! My beach game plan generally involves big hat, big sunnies and a cute cover-up… Roll on Winter – Boots and coats are a lot less pressure.

  • Growing up in Florida I totally know the pressure of bikini season, despite having lets say, a healthy athletic body…it wasnt till much later that I realized how nice a body it was. Now it’s time I appreciate it and not wait till I’m 60 to again look back. Coffee cakes, yet another winner. After my short sugar break… Will be on it.

  • I’m definitely more of a cowboy boot & muffin person than a bikini person.

  • Hot dang, I need to make these.
    I also need a brunch to attend that necessitates a little dress and cowboy boots.

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