Brown Soda Bread

No great bread making skill is required to produce a loaf of this Brown Soda Bread, and whole wheat bread just doesn't get any better than this. With only a touch of brown sugar for sweetness, this bread also has a nutty taste from the addition of wheat germ. Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oatmeal, make their contribution to the healthy ingredient list in this delicious classic bread.

Original recipe source: Cooking Light March 2010

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Brown Soda Bread

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with parchment paper and coat the paper with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine both flours, oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine buttermilk and egg, then add to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a wire rack, remove parchment paper. Cool before slicing.

Wheat germ and steel cut oats are the two ingredients that make this whole wheat bread extra special.

This Brown Soda Bread is great toasted with a touch of butter or honey, and it also makes a super sandwich.


Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake

This is a delicious and simple to make recipe that turns a plain yellow cake mix into a fresh strawberry dessert. This cake has to be the offspring of a marriage between a dump cake and a traditional upside down cake. The ingredients are not fancy, but the taste is top-notch. This is a recipe you'll want to keep handy for fresh strawberry season. My recipe source for this tasty cake is Allrecipes.

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Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jello
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix, batter prepared as directed on package

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread crushed strawberries on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Evenly sprinkle strawberries with the dry gelatin powder, then top with the marshmallows. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package, then pour cake batter over the top of the marshmallows. Bake in preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the pan to loosen the sides. Turn the cake out onto a serving tray. Store cake in refrigerator.

Yellow cake mix, strawberry Jello, marshmallows, and fresh strawberries are all you need to make this yummy dessert.

Spread the crushed strawberries in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle the dry Jello powder evenly over the strawberries.

Next, add a layer of mini marshmallows.

Cover the marshmallows with the prepared cake batter.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving tray. The strawberries, jello, and marshmallows all combine while baking to make a wonderful topping for this cake.


Pecan Lemon Loaf

This Pecan Lemon Loaf is a quick bread recipe made with toasted pecans, then soaked in a lemony glaze while cooling. The bread is also flavored with lemon zest and lemon extract because I believe you can never have too much lemony zing.

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Pecan Lemon Loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and lemon extract. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Fold in pecans and lemon zest. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Make the glaze by combining the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; pour over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack before removing from pan. Makes one loaf.

Although this bread has lemon zest and lemon juice for the zesty taste, a little lemon extract boosts the wow factor.

Make a glaze to pour over the warm bread by cooking the lemon juice and sugar together.

The only thing I can think of to change about this recipe is that it would be better if it were doubled so there would be an extra loaf of this wonderful Pecan Lemon Bread to give to a friend!


Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

After I had baked this cake, I discovered that today is National Coffee Cake Day. I had no idea that coffee cake was commemorated on the calendar, but in my opinion, every day is a good day to enjoy a coffee cake. This recipe for Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake comes from my Hershey's 4 in 1 Cookbook (2011).  Be sure to stock up on the cinnamon chips that are featured in this recipe when you can find them, as they are often sold seasonally in many areas.

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Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup applesauce
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (10 ounce package) cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup fluted tube pan by greasing and flouring or use cooking spray. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then add applesauce. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in cinnamon chips and pecans. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tests done with a wooden pick. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Stir together powdered sugar and water to make a smooth glaze; drizzle over cake. Serve at room temperature or while slightly warm.

I really can't say which is better - the taste of the cinnamon chips or the wonderful smell of the cake as it bakes!

Spread the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.

Happy National Coffee Cake Day!