Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for a great breakfast casserole, this has you covered. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage and the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning.

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Breakfast casseroles are a thing for good reason. You can prep them the day before. They’re great for serving a crowd, and they’re endlessly adaptable. This is my take on the popular Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage along with the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning. The bagels that break through the top get beautifully crunchy and kissed with oven-toasted cheese.  Like many things in life, the details matter here and I’ve gone into some depth on the things to think about as you make your own brunch-time fave.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole Close-up

Make Ahead?

Absolutely! The great thing about a breakfast casserole like this one is you can completely prep it the night before. Wake and bake it in the morning. Or, you can bake it right away, after combining all the ingredients in the baking dish. You end up with slightly different textures, depending on your timing, but both are great. An overnight casserole results in a more custard-like texture. Just baked breakfast casserole surrounded by three plates

Stale Bagels vs. Fresh Bagels

My attitude here is to use what you have. Bagels that are a bit stale work brilliantly. Freshly baked bagels work great too. There’s a bit of a calculus if you’re hyper-specific about the texture you like. Bagels that are on the fresh side combined with the egg mixture the day prior to baking will yield a breakfast casserole with a more custard-like texture. Think French toast. On the other hand, if you use stale bagels and toss everything together just before baking you’ll end up with a casserole that has more definition and a slightly drier overall texture to the bread chunks. I love them both, but am a bit partial to the version pictured here – tossed just before baking, made with 3 day-old bagels.
Ingredients to make an Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole arranged on a marble counter

What Kind of Bagels Should I Use?

I’ve baked this casserole with a number of different bagels over the years. As far as supermarket-brand bagels go, the version I liked best was made with Dave’s Bread Epic Everything Bagels. I like to work whole grains in wherever I can, so that’s what I use here, but any good bagels will work.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole in the oven baking

Can I Substitute ____ Cheese in This Breakfast Casserole?

The short answer here is yes. A wide range of cheeses can work in this sort of thing. Basically you’re dealing with one grated cheese that you work into the egg mixture, and another cheese that functions more as a topping or punctuation. So, on the grated front if you prefer a strong cheddar or Swiss cheese, by all means make the swap. A lot of people use cream cheese for the “punctuation” cheese in this style breakfast casserole, because the theme here is…bagel. But the best version I’ve made was when I took some Boursin garlic and herb cheese from my dad’s refrigerator and used that instead. It ended up being creamy, oozy, herby magic where it hit the golden bagels on top. Feta works great too. Same goes for goat cheese. This is a long way of saying cream cheese is the standard here, but feel free to up your game by using something with a stronger flavor and personality.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole close-up with one portion gone

Breakfast Casserole Variations & Ideas

  • Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole: Sometimes I skip the plant-based sausage crumbles (processed plant-based meats aren’t typically my thing but they work well here), and throw in a few well-cooked hashed browns instead, Or you could do both. If you keep frozen hash browns, or frozen sweet potato hash browns on hand this is an easy add. Brown them up in a skillet and allow to cool (enough so they won’t cook the eggs instantly). When assembling the casserole I tend to add them to the baking pan and then pour the egg and bagel mixture on top of them. So you get some potato thickness and not just shredded potato bits.
  • Green It Up Version: Add a few handfuls of well-chopped kale or spices to the egg mixture. Or, if you have something like saag paneer left over, add that! Finish with lots of chopped green onions and chives. The onions can go on either before or after baking.
  • Pretzel Version: Whenever I make this I always think to myself that an old-fashioned soft pretzel version would be fun. You’d use a few of those big Bavarian-style soft pretzels in place of the bagels.
  • Buttermilk & Bagel Breakfast Casserole: I mention this down below, but I’ll emphasize here as well. I actually love to make this casserole with some buttermilk if I have it on hand. It works beautifully, especially along with the mustard accent. Just swap out about 1/2 cup of the milk called for and replace with buttermilk.
  • Leftover Breakfast Casserole:  You can smash leftover pieces of this casserole into a medium-hot skillet with a bit of oil to reheat. Parts get nice and toasty cheesy, and it’s super good. Smash casserole.

Top down view of Breakfast Casserole with spoon in baking dish
One last thing I want to call out here is that this recipe was written for a standard 9×13-inch baking pan, but don’t let that limit you. If you have a big enough skillet, that’ll work. What you see here is an enameled cast-iron pan I love. Use whatever big pan you like for this, just don’t fill let the eggs get higher than about 3/4 full. If you’re still a little nervous about over-flow just place a rimmed baking sheet below the casserole.. 
Top down view of Breakfast Casserole on marble table with spoon in baking dish

More Breakfast Ideas

I love a good breakfast, and if you’re in the same boat, take a browse through these breakfast ideas. If I had to call out some all-time favorites: This has been my go-to waffle recipe for years. Or these for classic pancake lovers out there. Fregola sarda is a top choice for brunch. I love a good frittata,  same goes for a good omelette. Lastly, I like to make my own breakfast cereal blend

If you’re just a casserole fan in general, please try this mushroom casserole I’ve loved since I was a kid. 

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Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.

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A good oatmeal bread is one of my favorite bakery items. When living in San Francisco, I would make my way to the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market most Saturday mornings. One of the things I would pick up is a loaf of oatmeal bread from Marla Bakery. I started baking my own oatmeal breads after moving to Southern California a few years back and I thought I’d share my favorite today. It’s a hearty, oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection. There’s an argument to be made that a thick slab of this bread makes the best toast in the world.
Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

The Ingredients

Let’s talk through the ingredients in this oatmeal bread. 

  • Old-fashioned Oats: Skip the instant oats, you want a more substantial flake here. 
  • Active Dry Yeast: I use this type of yeast for my non-sourdough bread recipes because, quite honestly, it’s the easiest yeast to find in most stores here in California.
  • Buttermilk: Mentioned down below, buttermilk is my go-to liquid for this bread if I have it on hand. I love the flavor of buttermilk. That said, milk and water work wonderfully as well, just use whatever you’ve got. One thing to note, if you heat buttermilk too aggressively, or too hot, it might break and curdle. It’s not the end of the world, and you can simply proceed with the recipe once you’ve cooled to the desired temperature, but if you heat gently, this can be avoided.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your olive oil doesn’t have to be special, it should just be good tasting. Whatever you use for sautéing. That said, for fun you might experiment with using a lemon olive oil, or basil or herbed oil for an alternative flavor profile and added dimension. 
  • Honey: This oatmeal bread uses a kiss of sweetness to round out the cheesy spiciness of the cheddar and pepper. My main advice here is that a good tasting runny honey is easiest to work with.
  • Unbleached All-purpose Flour: You have a ratio of one cup of oats to 3 cups of flour here. The amount of oats really delivers a wonderful element of whole-grain heartiness and flavor. I’d recommend giving the recipe a go as written. At that point, if you want to add some whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour you absolutely should! I recommend swapping in 1/2 cup or 1 cup to start, make note of how you think it turns out, and adapt your next loaf from there. 
  • Jalapeño peppers: I like to actually taste the peppers here and find that using two chunky mediums is just about perfect. You can tweak to your comfort level of course. Go ahead and leave the seeds and veins in the peppers.
    Loaf of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Counter

How to Make Oatmeal Bread

Proof the yeast. This is to be sure your yeast is working. If it isn’t your bread isn’t going to rise. If you have end up with an inactive packet of yeast, no big deal, simply start the proofing process over.
Ingredients to make Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Marble Counter
Make your bread dough. This is the step where you combine your proofed yeast liquid with the remaining ingredients. I use one large mixing bowl from the start of the bread making process to the finish. One thing to keep in mind, this dough it is a little tricky to read because of all the chunks. Keep kneading  until the space between cheese cubes is smooth-ish and elastic. Also, pro-tip – you can simply wipe your mixing bowl out in between steps and use it for the initial rise as well.
Oatmeal Bread Ingredients Combined in Bowl
Let the bread dough rise. This is the initial rise and the key here is making sure your bread is cozy. If my oven has been on, I place the bowl on top of it. Or find a sunny spot. My dad has a proofing oven, and that is a dream. You can approximate one by heating your oven on low for a few minutes, turning it off, and then placing your dough in there to rise.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread Dough Rising in a Covered Bowl
Shaping the loaf and the second rise. My main advice here is to continue to be nice to your bread dough. Gently handle. Gently press to deflate along the surface of the dough. Gently shape the dough, no ripping or pulling. Keep in mind you don’t want it pancake flat before shaping. I do a bit of a burrito roll to shape this dough – roll along the length tucking in the ends a bit. Place into the pan seam-side down.
Oatmeal Bread Dough in Metal Loaf Pan
Top with oats and bake. I like to top my breads with a little bit of whatever is inside (when appropriate). In this case the cheese cubes melt and ooze, crisp and color. They break through the surface on the top of the loaf, so I don’t feel compelled to add more. Green streaks of jalapeño are also visible, so we’re all good on that front. To add oats on top, brush the top of your oatmeal bread with a bit of well-beaten egg white, and then generously sprinkle with rolled oats before placing in the oven to bake.

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

How to Store

Oatmeal bread isn’t going to keep as long as, say, sourdough, but this cheddar version keeps nicely for 4-5 days. If you bake a version without the cheese it tends to get a bit dry after day 2. Toasting remedies this and extends the load another day or so beyond.

To Store: Once your oatmeal bread has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. The cheddar jalapeño oatmeal bread stays incredibly moist, the less decadent versions a bit less so. 

Oatmeal Bread Variations

  • Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: Boost the percentage of whole grain flour. This is already a relatively hearty bread because of the amount of oats in the dough. You can make it even more hearty and wholesome by swapping out some of the all-purpose flour for a whole grain flour – start with 1 cup. Or take baby steps and start with 1/2 cup.
  • Saffron Honey Oatmeal Bread: You can take this loaf in an entirely different direction! Skip the cheese and jalapeño. Dilute a pinch of saffron in 2 teaspoons of almond extract and then stir this mixture into the 1 tablespoon of honey left after proofing. Combine some almond slices with the rolled oats added to the top of the loaf prior to baking.
  • Vegan / Dairy-free Oatmeal Bread: Skip the  cheese, use water instead of buttermilk or milk, and skip the egg wash topping prior to baking.

Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy this Bread

  • Keeping it simple: toasted with a smear of salted butter and sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  • Had a slice with this carrot soup and simple salad for a perfect lunch.
  • Go the panini route, this bread loves to be toasted, use it in a panini TLT.
  • The cheddar jalapeño combo make this the perfect match for a breakfast sandwich – put an egg on it!

If you’re looking for more baking inspiration, here’s where all the baking recipes live. I love this beautiful braided onion bread, and if you’re a bit intimidated by yeast breads, you can never go wrong with a good one-bowl baking recipe

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Gingerbread Cookies

Everything you want in a classic gingerbread cookie. These are fragrant, spice-flecked, and delicious.

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Gingerbread cookies are the best. I like to bite their heads off first, then each arm, and then each leg. These are always the second cookie I include in my holiday cookie boxes, these shortbread cookies are always the first. Shortbread forever.  That said, I have a few strong opinions on how I like my gingerbread and this recipe checks every box. These cookies are tasty, classic, spice-forward and a rich shade of brown. The smell like spice-kissed magic when baking.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing

Let’s Make Strong Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies have a job to do. This isn’t the time for chewy, moist, or flaky cookies. When you are making gingerbread men (or women) it’s important to make a cookie that is sturdy. This is especially important if you are making large + tall gingerbread men, or using the recipe to create walls for a gingerbread house or structure. You should be able to hold you gingerbread cookies by one leg and not have the leg crumble or bend off. I’m not talking about making a gingerbread cracker here, but hopefully you get my drift. As you can see from the picture my gingerbread cookie is standing tall and straight. That’s what you’re after.
Gingerbread Cookies with Simple Icing on Sheetpan
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Big Flavor

I love gingerbread cookies with some kick. No skimping on the spices please. This recipe is loaded with a generous dose of ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, and pepper. Every bite should have a spicy tingle to it. I’ve recently started adding freshly grated nutmeg as well. Even better. As they are baking, people should flock to the oven from the far recesses of the house to have a peek at the source of the wonderful smells. You can’t be shy with the spices.
Two Rows of Gingerbread Cookie Dough Arranged on a Sheetpan

Appearance

Gingerbread cookies look best when they’re deep ginger in color, and spotted from head to toe with freckles of spices. The molasses in this recipe along with the generous amount of spices make for a nice, classic gingerbread appearance. I’m also picky about the shape and physique of my gingerbread people, always on the lookout for cookie cutters that are just the right shape for them. I love digging around for vintage cookie cutters at yard sales and flea markets. Keep your eye peeled!
Classic Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Decorating Gingerbread Cookies

I tend to opt for simplicity here. Sometimes just two little button dots are enough, or a simple slather of icing. I may do a few gingerbread without the buttons and go for one tiny white heart sprinkled with a touch of sugar sparkles instead. A little variety is nice.  And, although I tend to like a cookie with higher frosting to cookie ratio (sugar cookies for example), I’m in the less is more when it comes to icing gingerbread.
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Gingerbread Cookie Baking Tips

Getting the baking time key. Whatever you do, don’t over bake these guys. They will dry right out. If anything, under bake them just a shade. They will continue to bake for another couple of minutes once you pull them from the oven. Big cookies take longer to cook than tiny ones, keep that in mind as well.
Iced Gingerbread Cookies on a Sheetpan

How Long to Bake Gingerbread Cookies?

Knowing how long to bake gingerbread can be tricky because the dough is so dark. I end up relying on my nose as much as my eyes to know when to pull them from the oven. You can smell the spices blooming and the dough starting to toast, and that’s how to know you’re close. Look carefully at the dough where it touches the pan, that will get darkest first, once you see it starting to shift, consider removing the cookies.

A Clever Serving Idea

I was at a holiday part once where gingerbread cookies were baked onto popsicle sticks. They were arranged, bouquet-like, in a container filled with sugar. Kids loved eating them like lollipops.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Stamped with Hearts on Marble Counter

Use all the Cookie Dough

My gingerbread men and women tend to bake alongside tiny gingerbread stars, hearts, and gingerbread candy canes. All made from dough scraps. You can gather your scraps and re-roll a couple of times to use as much of the dough as possible.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing
Overall, I love this gingerbread recipe, especially for cookies (and beyond!). It’s a classic dough that could easily be adapted for other gingerbread endeavors. Give it a try. I should also mention you can make this dough using 4 cups of white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Or even go half and half – all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. Have fun!
Gingerbread Cookies after Being Iced on A Marble Counter
If you’re a huge ginger fan, these Triple Ginger Cookies and these Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies. Or browse all past cookie recipes. For other favorite holiday cookies, I have strong opinions about shortbread cookies, and love these Toasted Almond Sable Cookies.

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Aran’s Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies

From Aran Goyoaga’s new baking book, these buckwheat & chocolate crinkle cookies are spiked with almond butter, gluten-free, and the perfect cross between a brownie and a cookie.

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Many of you know that I consider Aran Goyoaga a close friend and colleague. We first messaged each other over a decade ago, and made an effort in the years since to get to know each other. We’ll meet up if we’re in the same city, and travel together on occasion. I love hearing about what Aran is working on and enjoy catching glimpses of her work-in-progress. She works on a lot of cool (beautiful!) projects, but recently she has been writing and photographing a book that is exceptionally close to her heart. A baking book.  Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanille Bakes Simple is the culmination of Aran’s deep knowledge of baking. She mailed me an early copy of the book and I walked straight to the oven and dialed it to pre-heat. Cookies were going to get baked, pronto. I’ll tell you more about the book down below (and share some pics), but the first thing you need to know is that these puddles of fudge-y goodness were amazing. They’re her Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies, and Aran says about them, “…these cookies are crispy and gooey at the same time- a cross between a brownie and a cookie.”
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
The flavor! I love the chocolate-buckwheat combination which adds depth and dimension working alongside a good amount of brown sugar. They’re delicious. If you rarely explore the realm of flours beyond general all-purpose flour (and want to!), these cookies would be a great place to start. Also, if you’re looking for a great gluten-free cookie recipe to take for a spin, these fit the bill. They were the first thing I baked and were much loved at the potluck I took them to.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies

Variations // Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: 

  • Double Chocolate Fennel-Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: Aran makes her cookies with a teaspoon or so of crushed fennel seeds. I couldn’t find my fennel seeds (in any of my seven spice drawers LOL), so we went for straight chocolate & buckwheat for this round. Though I imagine the anise-scented fennel seeds with the chocolate would be wonderfully fragrant and special.
  • Espresso Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: A bit obvious, but if you love a coffee-chocolate combination add a tablespoon of finely ground espresso beans with the cocoa powder. 
  • Black Cocoa Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: I can imagine replacing 1 of the 3 tablespoons of cocoa called for in this recipe with a black cocoa, making note, and dialing it up from there if you love the richness of black cocoa as much as I do.

Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Below are a few snapshots of the interior of Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple. The photography is stunning, as is the beautiful book design. I’ll weave in some thoughts between some of the spreads below.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Who is this book for? This is the book I would buy for anyone wanting one fantastic, substantial deep dive into gluten-free baking. It’s all here. You’re covered on the sourdough front. GF Breads, baguettes, brioche, bagels, babkas? Check. Cakes, pie dough, scones, shortbread, thumbprints? All there. I also love the inclusion of a holiday baking section as the final chapter in the book. Linzertorte! Hot cross buns! Rugelach! Challah! Alternately, if you’re a baker wanting to explore the wonderful realm of baking with alternative flours you’ll find much inspiration here as well.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple will be available October 26, 2021 and my pro-tip here is this – if you think this is a book you might want to give as a holiday gift, pre-order it now. I suspect it will sell fast. I’m not just saying that as a friend of Aran’s, I’m saying it as someone who is buying multiple copies to give to friends and family with gluten-sensitivity because it covers so much in a beautiful package.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Beyond the book, if you’re interested in more Aran goodness you’re in luck. She has a fantastic Instagram account, and you can keep track of her events and new projects on her site. Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle CookiesAran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Before I sign off, just know that there is a lot of chocolate in the archives, and plenty of gluten-free recipes as well. Here’s where you can find more chocolate recipes, as well as lots of cookie recipes: Don’t miss these favorites: my all-time favorite brownies, this flourless chocolate cake, please please please make this chocolate pudding, and don’t miss out on this chocolate devil’s food cake. 

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Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake

An easy little butter cake baked in a single pan. This is a sugar-dusted, walnut-studded version, perfumed with nutmeg. That said, there are a thousand other directions you can take this cake. It’s so simple and incredibly good.

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This beauty falls squarely into the easy-little-cake category. It’s a butter cake that isn’t basic. Baked in a single pan, perfumed with grated nutmeg, and topped with well-chopped walnuts this is a versatile cake with a sugar-sweet heart and rustic rye soul. I love this cake and bake it (or variation on it) regularly. It’s a favorite for picnics and a nice alternative to the usual suspects around the holidays. The key is upping your nutmeg game. If you’ve never grated your own nutmeg, consider this an invitation.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s Talk about Nutmeg

Great quality, freshly grated nutmeg will absolutely blow your mind. It is incredibly fragrant and powerful. Using whole nutmeg is a game changer for many things including this cake (or anything else you’re baking), ice creams, and spice blends. I have two favorite nutmegs at the moment, this Belmont Estate organic family farm-grown nutmeg from Grenada changed how I think about nutmeg, and this beautiful single-origin Anamalia nutmeg from Diaspora Co. From here on skip pre-ground nutmeg and grate your own.
Grating Nutmeg with Microplane Grater for Butter Cake

How to Grate Nutmeg

On occasion (and if you’re fortunate) nutmeg comes in the shell. Simply crack it with a mortar and pestle (or nutcracker), and grate the inner pit using a Microplane-style grater. If your nutmeg is whole, but has been pre-shelled, simply have at it with a grater.
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Slice of Cake with Whipped Cream on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s talk about Cake Pan Size

If you don’t have a 9-inch round cake pan, can you bake this cake in another pan? Let’s talk. I’ve baked this cake in an 8-inch pan a number of times, but it can be a bit tricky. You need to make sure the center of the cake sets, and this takes quite a bit longer compared to the 9-inch cake pan. If you want to use a square pan, please report back – I always bake this cake round. You can certainly make a series of mini-cakes with the batter, just dial the baking time way back and keep a close eye on things. When the centers of the cakes set up you’re all good.
Ingredients for Butter Cake arranged on Marble Counter

What if you Can’t Find Rye Flour?

I encourage you to play around with the flours in the cake. I like this cake just a shade rustic, and the rye flour brings that in spades. If you think you might like a slightly lighter crumbed cake, dial back the rye and dial up the all-purpose flour. If what you have is all-purpose flour, you can use about 1 1/3 cups of that. If you have whole wheat flour instead of rye, give that a go. I haven’t tried this cake with any of the GF flours available, but if you use one of those, let us know how it turns out.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake Cooling on Rack near Window

Butter Cake Variations

Pictured above is the cake straight from the oven (above).  I’m posting the basic recipe down below, but once you decide it’s a cake you love, you can take it in many different directions.

  • Powdered Sugar: I like to give this cake a heavy dusting with powdered sugar before serving. To be honest, I tend to use more powdered sugar than you see in the pictures here. I recommend really going for it, but I wanted you to be able to see some of the walnuts peeking through in the photos. Think about adding something to the sugar. Drop citrus rinds (or zest) that you’ve allowed to dry for a couple days into a baggie with powdered sugar and let it infuse in the coming days. Makrut lime is a favorite, and you can’t go wrong with meyer lemon, or classic orange. Or grind up a few threads of saffron, and combine this saffron dust with the powdered sugar. If your powdered sugar gets clumpy at any point, use your finger to rub it against the strainer for even dusting across your cake.
  • Nuts: I go all in with walnuts here, but can 100% get on board with pistachios, pecans, almonds, or walnuts for this cake. I’ve done versions with a blend when I’m low on any single nut variety. Well received! The main thing is to give the nuts a fine chop. This keeps things light & even on top of the cake, and makes for easier and more precise slicing.
  • Flours: We talked about ways to explore different flours up above. Even if you don’t have rye flour, give this cake a go!
  • Spices & Extracts: Another way you can make this cake your own is through spices and extracts. Let’s brainstorm! I bet a triple-vanilla version would be really good. You could add a splash of vanilla extract, a bit of vanilla paste to the batter, and a bit of vanilla powder to the powdered sugar on top. For my flower lovers out there, a rose cake would be gorgeous. In this case, I might actually scale back the rye flour, and use more all-purpose flour for a lighter cake overall. I’d add a splash of rose water and some freeze-dried raspberries to the batter, and then crumble some dried rose petals over the powdered sugar before serving. And if you’re serving with a bit of whipped cream, go ahead and boost that with a kiss of rose water as well. I could go on all day – but I hope this gives you some creative inspiration.

Slicing Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on PLatter
Have fun with this one. It’s a fun, buttery cake canvas to experiment with. If chocolate is more what you’re craving, be sure to try my all-time favorite brownie recipe, this Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, or the perfect chocolate pudding (no joke!).

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30+ Best Cookie Recipes

Great cookie recipes are like gold. Here’s a list of 30+ fantastic ones to try!

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Included here are classic cookie recipes like chocolate chip cookiesshortbreadskillet cookies, and snickerdoodles. Also, check out the crowd-pleasing wildcards here, like Nikki’s Healthy Cookies (really!), No Bake Energy Bites, and Limoncello Macaroons.

  1. Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

    This is the recipe I use anytime I want perfect sugar cookies. Great flavor, and the dough is a dream to work with. Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

  2. Rosewater Shortbread Cookies

    Classic, buttery, whole wheat shortbread cookies fragrant with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. Peanut Butter Cookies

  3. Triple Ginger Cookies

    A special triple ginger cookie made with three kinds of ginger and a hint of lemon zest. Cracked and sugar-crusted on the outside, dense and moist within. Triple Ginger Cookies

  4. Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles

    Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles with a slight buckle in the middle, kiss of saffron, and thin golden crust with a fudge-textured center, from Blue Bottle Coffee. Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles

  5. Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

    Toasty, nutty sable cookies made with whole wheat flour, sliced almonds, currents and salted butter. Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

  6. Swedish Rye Cookies

    Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for holiday cookie enthusiasts who are after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie. Swedish Rye Cookies

  7. Itsy Bitsy Chocolate Chip Cookies

    The perfect bite-sized chocolate chip cookie. Tiny, thin, golden, crisp, a bit nutty with plenty of shaved chocolate. Itsy Bitsy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  8. Chocolate Puddle Cookies

    A crackle-edged puddle of chocolate with a texture that made me think of the collision between a soft meringue and a fudgy brownie. Chocolate Puddle Cookies

  9. Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread

    This is the shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet, and it’s incredible. Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread

  10. Chocolate Dipped Biscotti

    Sesame studded and heavily scented with crushed fennel seeds and chamomile. Chocolate Dipped Biscotti

  11. Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

    A nut-free (school-friendly), double chocolate version of one of the most popular cookies on my site. Made with a banana-batter, shredded coconut, dark chocolate chunks, and oats.
    Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

  12. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    Made using 100% whole wheat flour and hand-chopped chocolate chips, this is a skillet-baked twist on chocolate chip cookies. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

  13. 4 o’clock No-bake Energy Bites

    My favorite alternative to energy bars – these are a favorite late afternoon snack. 4 o’clock No-bake Energy Bites

  14. Anzac Cookies

    Anzacs are made from oats, coconut, and flour coming together in a butter-kissed dough. Anzac Cookies

  15. Limoncello Macaroons

    A limoncello macaroon recipe that are golden-crusted, powder-coated, almond-citrus gems spiked with limoncello liqueur. Limoncello Macaroons

  16. Thinnest Oatmeal Cookies

    One of the easiest cookies I know how to make – made from rolled oats, they’re razor thin and lacy, golden, freckled with poppy seeds, with and anise accent from crushed fennel seeds.
    Thinnest Oatmeal Cookies

  17. Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies

    Snappy, small, fragrant, vanilla wafer cookies made with a whole vanilla pod. Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies

  18. Gingerbread Cookies

    Everything you want in a gingerbread cookie. These are classic, spice-flecked, and delicious. Gingerbread Cookies

  19. Quinoa Hemp Snack Balls

    A quick way to get quinoa, hemp seeds, chia, and coconut into one naturally sweetened, no-bake snack. Quinoa Hemp Snack Balls

  20. Biscotti al Pistacchio

    Charming little bite-sized, powder-coated pistachio biscotti cookies. Biscotti al Pistacchio

  21. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

    These are the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies ever of all time.
    Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  22. Quinoa Cloud Cookies

    Cookies made from toasted quinoa and wheat flours, flecked with chocolate shavings, rolled and stamped into cloud shapes. Quinoa Cloud Cookies

  23. Marathon Cookies

    The batter is made with pureed white beans, lots of oats, and whole wheat flour. The resulting cookies are sesame coated and flavored with aniseed, lemon zest, olive oil and chopped dates.
    Marathon Cookies

  24. Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies

    Tiny, bite-sized holiday cookies made with two kinds of ginger and lots of shaved chocolate. Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies

  25. Nikki’s Healthy Cookies

    A remarkable healthy cookie recipe. And SO popular! Banana-batter, shredded coconut, dark chocolate chunks, and oats. Nikki’s Healthy Cookies

  26. Nut and Seed Biscotti

    Thin, biscotti-style crackers densely pebbled with all manner of nuts and seeds – green pistachios, rust-toned hazelnuts, and off-black poppy seeds. Nut and Seed Biscotti

  27. Madeleines

    Perfect, golden, scalloped madeleines. From a favorite recipe shared with me by a friend and long-time Madeleine baker. Madeleines

  28. Great Chocolate Chip Cookies from David Lebovitz

    If you like a serious chocolate chip cookie, this is the recipe. A high chip to dough ratio guarantees lots of chocolate in every bite, and the walnuts add crunch, density, and a delicious flavor to the overall mix.
    Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

  29. Super Swiss Meringues

    Beautiful, billowy Swiss meringue, punctuate with a range of nuts, seeds, and spices.Super Swiss Meringues

  30. Blueberry Rye Cookies

    I’m going to include the recipe for these below. It is hands-down my absolute favorite cookie recipe right now. I included a raspberry version of it in my last book, Super Natural Simple. Made with 100% rye flour and lots of freeze-dried blueberries.
    Favorite Rye Blueberry Cookies

    Cookies are often a favorite punctuation to everyday moments, or the best kind of homemade gift for a friend. Everyone can (and should) bake delicious cookies on occasion! Have fun!

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Coconut Rum Cake

A special rum cake baked with equal parts coconut, sugar, and flour, and lots of rum. Imagine a toasted coconut macaroon in cake form and you’ve got the idea.

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My love for rum cakes runs deep. If yours does too, this is the cake for you. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this beauty is basically a toasted coconut macaroon in cake form – doused in rum. It has a strip of freeze-dried raspberries baked in, but if you prefer pineapple, that swap is also really great. Sometimes I skip the fruit all together & let the rum really take center stage. A dusting of powdered sugar before serving makes it pretty.
Super Moist Coconut Rum Cake

Fruit or No fruit? What Kind?

You can see the strip of fruit (raspberries) in the rum cake in the photos above and below here. I’ve been using freeze-dried fruit a lot in my baking lately because it has incredibly intensity, color, and none of the moisture that goes along with fresh or frozen fruit. It works particularly well in cookies, cakes, quick breads, crusts, etc. Not as great for fruity fillings, although you could use it as a boost or accent as a percentage of the overall filling.
Slice of Coconut Rum Cake on Plate

Rum Cake Add-Ins

Aside from the raspberries, the recipe below is quite straightforward, a great coconut rum cake canvas. From there you can take in in oh-so-many directions. Sometimes I add spices – a bit of Vietnamese cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg is alway welcome. Grated makrut lime is amazing if you use freeze-dried pineapple in place of the raspberries. To be honest, you can’t really go wrong adding citrus zest in general – lime, lemon, Meyer lemon, orange – or a blend. All good. Last idea – how about a Dark ‘N’ Stormy rum cake? You could add dried ginger, candied ginger, and/or grated ginger. Along with the coconut? Yes please.
Cake Sliced on Marble Counter

What Type of Rum Makes the Best Rum Cake?

Like most other recipes that call for alcohol in them, use wine (or in this case rum), choose something you drink anyway. It should taste delicious. On the rum front for this recipe there is a range of rums to choose from. I like a good-quality dark or spiced rum for this cake – the more flavor the better. 

Ingredients for Coconut Rum Cake Recipe

Transferring the Cake Batter into the Pan

I just want to call out the way I build this cake. I fill the baking pan two-thirds full with cake batter, and then sprinkle with the raspberries. After that I use a fork to poke and work the berries down into the batter just a bit. Lastly, top with the remaining batter (see below), and give the whole pan a couple good thwaps on your counter. This gives you a nice, condensed stripe of berries along the base of the finished rum cake. You could, of course, fold the raspberries into the batter along with the rest of the flour mixture, so they’re more evenly dispersed, but I like this version best.
Layering Cake Batter with Raspberries

How to Apply the Rum Syrup

This cake itself isn’t huge, but it can take on a good amount of rum. You can see my set up in the photo below. That is the cake hot out of the oven, just turned out of the pan. It is on a cooking rack arranged over a rimmed baking sheet. The rim on on the baking sheet keeps any run-away rum in the pan and off the counter. Be sure to brush the rum syrup all over the tops, sides, and inside the center of the cake.

Coconut Rum Cake Cooling After Baking on a Rack

Turning Cake into Rum Cake

There are other ways to get the rum syrup into the cake as well. You can pour half of it over the cake while it is still warm and in the pan. Turn the cake out after that and finish by topping it with the remaining rum. I like this approach in theory, and you’ll see it used in alot of other recipes, but the syrup tends to break down the crumb of the cake a bit, and you’re more likely to have trouble getting the cake out of the pan. I play it safe, and glaze after the turnout.
Rum Cake Dusted with Powdered Sugar
The finished rum cake dusted with lots of powdered sugar just before serving.

Cross-section Photo of Cake
Here’s a close-up of a cross-section of the cake…
Fork and Slice of Cake

What type of Coconut?

One last thing, you really want to get the coconut right here. The key is unsweetened, dried coconut. And it’s important that it is finely grated. I see a lot of big-flake coconut in the stores now, and I love it, but it’s not right for this cake. If you want to get that nice, moist crumb you see in the pics, get the finely grated – I usually grab the Bob’s Red Mill brand for this cake if I see it in the store.
Coconut Rum Cake in Kitchen
I hope you really enjoy this rum cake! It’s incredibly moist, tasty, and versatile. Aside from this cake I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately, both sweet and savory. I call out a few recent favorites that you might also enjoy as well. There’s this beautiful braided onion bread, this zucchini bread, cinnamon rolls forever, and this easy little bread made with rolled oats and whole wheat flours. These brownies are my absolute favorite, and everyone loves this Violet Bakery Chocolate Devils’ Food Cake. Happy baking! -h

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Braided Onion Bread

This braided onion bread is made with a rich, buttery, yeast-based dough. Each of the four strands in the braid is stuffed with a caramelized onion and grated cheese mixture.

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One of my first memories related to baking was a demonstration conducted at my kindergarten where bread dough was shaped into turtles, and birds, and elaborate braids. Scissors were used to create the tiny bread spikes on the backs of alligator and hedgehog-shaped loaves. Lobster claws got a snip up the center for visual effect and each figure was placed in an oven until puffy, golden, and fragrant. We were each allowed to take one home. The whole experience blew my five year-old mind. Braided Onion Bread filled With Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese
I still like to bake elaborate braided loaves. Especially when things in my life are tumultuous. I made this one a couple of times prior to the holidays, and decided to make it again last week to photograph and share with you. It’s made with a rich, buttery, yeast-based dough. Each of the four strands in the braid is stuffed with a caramelized onion and grated cheese mixture. If you’ve never baked a braided loaf before, I’ll admit that stuffing the strands adds a layer of complexity, but the whole process is incredibly forgiving if you commit and keep going. If you look at the shape below and think “no way” just remember it’s a simple braid coiled into a snail shape. 
Braided Onion Bread Prior to Baking

The (Stuffed) Braided Bread Process

To make this bread you start by making beautiful yeast dough. You roll your dough into a rectangle, cut that rectangle into four strips, and then stuff each strand with awesomeness. I usually prepare the stuffing a day ahead of time, or the morning of the day I plan on baking. This gives the filling some time to cool. I’ve locked onto this onion-cheese combo lately, but you can imagine endless variations.

To fill the dough, you run the filling in a line up the middle of each of the four strips of dough. Fold them each in half, and then pinch the seam to seal the filling in. Now you have four filled strands that you’ll arrange side-by-side (below). Pinch them together at the top and start braiding (see diagram below). Coil the braid into a tight round, snail shape, let the dough rise, brush with an egg wash, and bake! 

Diagram of a Four Strand Braid

A Four-strand Braid

First, let me say – if you’re worried about trying the four-strand braid, I understand! If you want to fall back to a chubby three-strand bread braid the first time through, go for it. The main thing is to commit to the braid either way. Even if you’re convinced things aren’t going well. This feeling can be triggered by a few things. A common problem is strands splitting open to reveal the filling – just re-pinch and keep going. Or, you might feel like your strands keep stretching and getting longer and longer? It’s ok, you will coil them into a round shape. Keep braiding even if your strands are longer than your sheet pan. Boss the dough around a bit. If it’s too sticky, dust with a bit of flour. The main thing? Don’t get discouraged, keep going.

Braided Onion Bread filled With Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese just After Baking
Please let me know if you bake a braided loaf, or send me a message on Insta. Or if you experiment with other fillings, please leave a comment. I can’t wait to see what you do with this one. I loved seeing all of you posting soup pics last week. xo – h

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Easy Little Bread

The simple, easy little bread you should make right this minute – yeast-based, farm-style, made from rolled oats and a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours.

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I’m eating a slice of butter-slathered homemade bread. And quite frankly, it might be the least interesting looking bread you’ve ever set eyes on. That said, at this particular moment, there isn’t anything on this earth that would taste better. I’m convinced of it. It reminds me of the bread my dad would sometimes bake for us as kids. A dead simple yeast bread recipe made from ingredients I can nearly guarantee you have on hand. My dad’s bread was made using all-purpose white flour, whereas this bread is made with a white, wheat, rolled oat blend. I’ve baked it three times this week, after I came across the recipe for it in a beautiful, heartfelt cookbook by Natalie Oldfield.Easy Little Bread Recipe
I snapped a few shots of the book to give you a sense of it. See below. Super cute, right? I love the grids of vintage family pictures, and the soft color palette of the recipe pages. It’s a collection recipes inspired by the notebooks of Dulcie May Booker, written by her granddaughter Natalie. It was published in New Zealand, then Australia and the UK. I stumbled on my copy of it the other day at Omnivore Books here in SF, although I don’t think it’s been published in the U.S. yet.
Easy Little Bread Recipe

The recipes are classic and no-fuss. The kind that can and (clearly) have been whipped up a hundred times over – scones, fruit pies, chocolate cake, lemon bars, shortbread, and a selection of savory dishes as well.

Easy Little Bread Recipe

So, to all of you who still shy away from yeast-based recipes – you’ve got to try this one. You can have the dough in the pan in 5-10 minutes. It sits around for 30 minutes while I’m in the shower, then straight into the oven. Thank you Gran & Natalie. It’s a beautiful book.

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Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

A 100% rye flour version of Benjamina Ebuehi’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake from The New Way To Cake. It’s everything you want in a cake. The chocolate notes are deep, the crumb perfectly moist, and the salted tahini icing? Something I didn’t know I needed in my life until now.

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I baked a 100% rye flour version of Benjamina Ebuehi’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake yesterday, and it’s everything you want in a cake. It is from her book The New Way to Cake, the chocolate notes are deep, the crumb perfectly moist, and the salted tahini icing? Something I didn’t know I needed in my life until now. The tahini rounds out the sweetness of the sugar in the icing. Fragrant sesame notes come to life as you whisk the flavors into balance with a generous pinch of salt. It’s so good.

Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
There are a lot of reasons to love The New Way To Cake — the range of beautiful signature cakes, the minimalist book design, the naturally-lit photos by Holly Wulff Petersen — but her celebration of flavors close to my heart is what initially attracted me to it – hibiscus, chamomile, citrus, and chocolate all represent in unique and delightful ways.

A Bit More About Benjamina

She’s a London-based author, baker, food stylist & recipe developer, and she has been involved in some great projects since her appearance on The Great British Bake Off a few years back. You can follow Benjamina on Instagram. She also works in an ambassadorial capacity with Luminary Bakery (read about them!), and co-founded The Sister Table. And, if her use of tahini is what caught your attention today, have a look at the Necatrine, Tahini & Hazelnut Pavlova, on her blog. Or this Tahini Granola

Benjamina Ebuehi's The New Way To Cake

The New Way To Cake

Before we jump into the Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake, a few more notes related to The New Way to Cake. The book is 160 pages in length, soft-back, with sixty cake recipes. It has a premium feel, and would make a nice gift for any baker in your life. The main sections are Nuts & Caramel, Spices, Chocolate, Citrus, Floral, and Fruit. The two recipes I’ve earmarked to bake next: Hibiscus Buttermilk Cakes, and then a Chocolate Guinness Bundt with Yogurt Glaze.Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

Benjamina’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

The two main components here are a coffee-bolstered, cocoa-based chocolate cake, and the salted tahini icing/frosting. You can make either component a day ahead of time if needed. Although, I should note that, generally speaking, I like to frost cakes the day of serving. Up to that point, keep the cake covered (after cooling completely) and, if needed, rewhip the icing before using.
Salted Tahini Icing

A Rye Flour Swap

I made a few alterations to Benjamina’s cake out of necessity (different pan / alternate flour) & the good news is it baked up wonderfully. All-purpose flour can still tough to come by right now, and I keep a lot of rye flour on hand. I had a hunch that a rye flour swap would be good here – so I went for it. 100% rye. Didn’t hold back. So good! I think people worry that going an aggressive whole-grain flour swap will result in tough, dry cakes and muffins. And quite honestly, that can often be the case. But this worked nicely – have a look at the slice down below! So tender. If you’re apprehensive, go with all-purpose flour, or you can do half rye, half all-purpose flour. But there’s something that happens in the intersection of the rye, coffee, and cocoa, that is really nice.Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
One slice of Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

Benjamina Ebuehi's Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake from The New Way to Cake

Let’s Talk Pans

Per my mention up above – I didn’t have the three 6-inch cake pans Benjamina used to create the stunner cake pictured in her book (above). But you all know I have an endless collection of bundt pans. So that’s what I used. I baked the batter in a single 9-inch bundt pan. Buttercream wasn’t going to work with the ridged cake, so I did a salted tahini icing that I could pour over the bundt shape cake, in place of the tahini buttercream version in the book. No bundt pan? My sense is you can get away with baking in a single 13×9 pan, or two 8-inch rounds as well (adjusting the timing, of course). A long way of saying, don’t be deterred if you don’t have the “correct” pan. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
And a last little side note – I’ve been trying to add weekly favorites links to my newsletter more regularly – articles, books, cookbooks I’m excited about, recipes to try, products I love, or new discoveries in general. So, instead of including them here in “Favorites Lists” on the site, you’ll be able to get them there, along with the heads up on new recipes I’m highlighting. I’ve been sending newsletters out once a week, on Saturday mornings. xx -h.

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