Three Kings Muffins

“Three Kings Muffins”? What’s that all about?

This is a multilayered story. First, I want to promote shorter, expressive names for recipes, evocative names. The gourmet trend to include more and more of the ingredients in the names of recipes, leaves names looking too much like the recipes themselves. I’ve done the same, but in the end, it’s less memorable.  Names like “Cordon Bleu”, or “Tiramisu”, or “Hello Dolly Bars”are like the title of a book. They require you to look inside, taste and discover, do a little reading, to learn about the ingredients that make a whole from the parts. If it’s a good book, you’ll remember the title. Second, I like giving names that connect to my Christian tradition whenever possible. It’s a sweet way of weaving my faith into the cultural fabric of life.

“Fine, Tim, fine. Still, what’s with the three kings thing?” Well, It’s all about the recipe, so here goes:

  1. The recipe begins with Magnolia’s “Sour Cream Breakfast Buns.”
  2. Modifications begin here, using three flours instead of one (thus three kings):
    1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
    2. 1 cup oat flour
    3. 1 cup Spelt
  1. Three treasures were placed inside as gifts (not in the original plan):
    1. 1 cup apples (surplus from a previous recipe)
    2. 1/2 cup cinnamon chips (surplus from a previous recipe)
    3. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (surplus … you get the picture)
  2. A star was placed in the center –
    1. 1/2 teaspoon cream cheese filling (surplus… etc.)

As you can see, I couldn’t include all of these items in a name. So I had to come up with something. Kind of like Cisco (a.k.a. Vibe on The Flash), I get to name things. With three flours, three “gifts” inside, plus a star…

The Vibe says, “It’s Three Kings Muffins.”

What did the process look like? Hmmmm.


  1. Lightly oil and flour muffin tins – I do like the convenience of Baker’s Joy.
  2. Fill muffin tins 1/2 way – NOT 2/3.
  3. Dab 1/2 teaspoon cream cheese filling and push down with thumb


  1. Cover with topping (as per Magnolia recipe)
  2. Add a THIN dab of butter (as per YUMDOM requirements!)
  3. Bake
Magnolia recipe estimates 18 muffins. This actual recipe yielded 24 muffins.

Then enjoy.


Then enjoy giving some to friends.

gifted muffins

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a sweet day!

#31, Carrot Cake, p. 102

“We didn’t make carrot cake at the bakery, but this is a cake that Allysa makes often at home.”(p. 102)

I made this cake for a colleague. It was her birthday and carrot cake is one of her favorites.


Bipitty, biopitty, boo.                                                     (I hyperventilate if I watch this for too long.)

This day, October 30, was a 2-recipe day, that explains all this stuff on the table. I baked the Magnolia carrot cake and a batch of fruitcake muffins. Let’s just take a look at the carrot cake on this blog.


What about that carrot cake? Well, there were detours, and I’ll explain why.

DETOUR(S): Why? I baked a carrot cake for some friends about a year ago and they kinduh went crazy over it. I felt the need to respect and try to repeat that success. I followed the Magnolia recipe, in principle, but made a few changes.

  • The FORM of the cake – which carried icing implications. I used a Maryann Cake Pan. No icing on the side of this. About the only thing it tolerates is a confectioners sugar dusting.
Maryann Cake Pan
Maryann Cake Pan

The pan creates a well at the top that MUST be filled with some gooey-goodie.

Waiting for the gooey-goodie stuff.

  •  The FLOUR. Magnolia only calls for all-purpose flour. At least that’s all I’ve seen so far. My earlier success with this cake had a combination of flours, so 1) I kept Magnolia’s portions, but 2) divided it between four different flours:
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat
    • 1/2 cup barley
    • 1/2 cup spelt  (These older, whole grain flours contain more protein and add a nutty, already sweet flavor to a cake or muffin.)
  • PINEAPPLE. The recipe calls for one 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple with its juice. I had only sliced pineapple available. I chopped it up leaving bigger chunks inside the cake. I would have liked the chunks to be smaller but all those who ate the cake seemed to like it.
  • The ICING. The Magnolia icing for this cake is the Cream Cheese Icing. I made a 1/2 recipe and added
    • 1 cup of yoghurt
    • FRESH, SWEET, pineapple chunks

I got it all mixed up – in the best sense of that expression.


Looks like more fun than the Kitchen Aid mixer.

And it popped out looking beautiful.


Beautiful, until I turned the cake upside-down to take it out of the pan. It MOSTLY came out well, but I had a couple of torn spots. LEARNED: 1) You have to be very careful with the Maryann Cake Pan to grease and flour it well. It is easy to miss a spot or two and have some stick. 2) Let the cake cool completely. As a cake or cookie cools, the form becomes better fixed and less likely to tear. The cooling also lets a cake contract and separate itself from the pan.

I didn’t get a picture of the cake I baked for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to fill the well with the filling (yoghurt-infused icing). So I waited until just before “Happy Birthday to You” to fill the well and COVER IT WITH CRUSHED PECANS !!!. Secondly, we set about to devour the cake rather quickly. It was the right thing to do.

Imagine this smoothed out, then covered with crushed pecans.


I hope you had a sweet day!