cinnamon swirl bread.

I'm 25 now. Oof. This same time last year, as birthdays go, I was in my living room with a bunch of people I don't really see anymore eating three chocolate cakes. One of those people was a new boyfriend, a boyfriend that will now be my husband in three months. He made the chocolate cake with raspberry jam in the center. That pretty much did it for me.

This was the first year I didn't care so much about my birthday. There's so many other things going on that a birthday didn't seem to warrant a place on the daily agenda. I think I squeezed it in after I mailed back the contract for our! new! house! and picking Kona up from the vet after he decided to dart out in front of a moving car and needed stitches.

I thought I may skip over sharing this part, but in the spirit of keeping it real, I'll say it - we had a Childhood Throwback Dinner for my birthday. My sister made pigs in a blanket, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, and a funfetti cake with rainbow sprinkles. I considered pulling out all the stops and making a sexy triple layer cake of some kind, but since my brain is drained thanks to the 120 page paper and 7,541 word portfolio I wrapped up this week, I cut my baby sister loose in the kitchen instead.

Now, if it wasn't for funfetti cake and the happiness it brings to birthdays everywhere, I might've stuck those waxy candles into this cinnamon swirl bread. I'm not a huge fan of frosting so the lack thereof is of no consequence to me, but it makes up for it with a trail of pecan-studded cinnamon goo swirled through the plush vanilla cake. I haven't yet tried it, but I hear that Vietnamese cinnamon is the stuff of dreams, so if you've got a jar on hand, give it a go.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar, the pecans and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vegetable oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture, stir until just combined, taking care not to overmix.

Pour half the batter into the pan, sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the batter, then top with the rest of the batter. With a butter knife or white spatula (the kind you use for frosting a cake), swirl the layers together.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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