Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blueberry muffin bread with cream cheese filling and fig muffins


My birthday came and went last week. I would have added quietly, but have you noticed how birthdays are on steroids since the advent of the book of faces? But hey, don't misundertstand me. I am grateful for each and every birthday wish I received. Especially the kind words from that girl I think I knew in nursery school; and from that friend of a friend of a friend that I have never met but that I know goes running three times a week, 8km each time, and whose heart - according to her status - is broken; she would willingly turn back time if only she could, if only he would let her.

But back to more important things. Me.
So, I am a year older and if truth be told, I feel better about myself and my life now than I did in my early twenties. Sure, this feeling of self assuredness comes with some usually-although-not-always well concealed grey hair, a wrinkle or two (thank goodness I can still use single digits for those) and a few extra pounds, but I am not complaining.

A birthday celebration these days no longer involves two hundred of my very best friends and drunken dancing.
It means meeting up for a quick, unplanned lunch with F and enjoying the guilty pleasure of sushi sans kids, a small beer during my lunch break, almost an hour of uninterrupted talk and holding hands every now and then without squealing and gagging sounds as accompaniment.
It means picking up my daughter, who may or may not have forgotten it was my birthday until way after she sulked because I did not agree to invite half of the class over for a playdate. But it doesn't matter, because when she finally did remember, I got a beautiful drawing that  I had watched her and her friends working on hidden behind a secretive wall of backpacks in the school square the day before.
It means a simple week night dinner at home, the usual racous, messy affair but the grand finale of a birthday cake complete with candles and presents.

This year, it was exactly what I wanted and all that I needed: an impromptu daytime date with my husband and a simple dinner at home with my family. A quiet, unnoticed affair... well, if it wasn't for FB, that is.
Since I didn't bake a cake for my birthday like I have in past years, the only baking that went on over the week end was for this blueberry muffin bread and simple muffins with a fresh fig topping. 
I first was inspired to make the blueberry bread when I saw a pin on Pinterest. However, when I was getting ready to make it I realized the recipe actually did not include cream cheese, although I thought it did for some reason when I pinned it. So I started looking up recipes on the Internet and to my surprise found what I was looking for on Anecdotes and Apple Cores, a blog I have been following for quite a few years now. I made some very minor adjustments and also ended up making an extra batch of the batter minus the cream cheese filling for the fig muffins*.

Blueberry muffin bread with cream cheese filling


1/2 cup/1 stick/113gr butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups/200gr all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen would work too)
1 tbsp flour

8oz/225gr cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup/100gr sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Grease and flour a large loaf pan.
Prepare the filling: in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream softened cream cheese, sugar, flour and egg. Set aside.
Prepare batter: cream butter and sugar until airy and fluffy,  approximately 4 minutes, then add salt and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Fold half of dry ingredients into the butter mixture, add milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, toss the blueberries in a tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the batter. Make sure you dry them well after washing: the flour stuck to mine in clumps and the berries sunk to the bottom of the loaf as a result.
Spread half of the batter into the bottom of prepared loaf pan with a spatula, then spread the cream cheese mixture on top. Spread the remaining batter over the cream cheese (this was a little tricky as my cream cheese filling was more runny than the thick batter, so it tended to sink while I was spreading it).
Bake in a preheated oven for about 55 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for a while before removing.
Fresh fig muffins
Ingredients (6 muffins and 2 cocottes)
See ingredients and recipe for batter above.
3 small figs, cut into eighths
large pinch of brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Grease and flour the muffin tray or cocottes.
Spoon in batter till about 3/4 full. Arrange the fig slices on top of the batter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake until golden or a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

*The truth is, I misread the instructions and instead of folding in the dry ingredients I mixed them in with my stand mixer. Since I know the trick to a good muffin is to never overmix the batter, and because I was bringing the loaf to a friend's house, I thought it best to start over. Better use the other batter for some breakfast muffins in case they turned out tough, I thought to myself. Which, in case you were wondering, didn't.


  1. Happy belated birthday! I love baking myself a birthday cake each year but can totally get on board with this gorgeous simplicity too. Have been dreaming of fig muffins for a while now - may have to execute the idea soon and will definitely be taking tips from this post!

  2. Oh, send those over here please! They look divine! And a belated tanti auguri, my friend!

  3. Happy belated birthday! :D And that loaf looks divine-so soft with plenty of blueberries which is just how I love loaf cakes and breads :D

  4. Love reading your blog. My son is travelling in Italy now (from Australia) and has been spending his money on food more than anything.
    I hope he brings some good recipes home.

  5. Hi Chipatronic, nice to meet you! ;) Hope your sons travels are proceeding well.

  6. Well happy birthday! I love the look of this blueberry bread. I haven't ever had a blueberry bread and so this is something I need to try. I follow Apples and Anecdotes, too. Monet is such a sweetie xx


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