Brandon ate quite a few of these toasty, spicy little cakes at the now-defunct Oberlin Music Café in Oberlin, Ohio (“some of the best espresso I’ve had,” he told me a bit mournfully), but since its closing, he hadn’t had a nutmeg muffin. Though I was unsure of the idea of a muffin flavored with sizeable quantities of what I considered an “only a pinch” spice, I did some detective work and found this recipe. It seemed promising, and with a bit of tweaking and the addition of fresh orange zest (optional, but nice), it more than lived up to its potential. Luckily—or rather, wisely—Brandon thought so too.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- Zest of ½ to 1 orange, to taste
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup milk (nonfat is fine)
- 4 Tbs canola oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and zest. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg well. Then stir in the cream, milk, and oil, whisking to blend well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to just combine (overmixing will develop the gluten in the flour and make for tough muffins).
Scoop the muffin batter evenly into the wells of the greased muffin tin. Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, or until domed and nicely golden. Serve warm. [These muffins also freeze beautifully. Allow them to thaw at room temperature; then reheat them gently in a 300-degree oven.]
Yield: 12 smallish muffins.