Eat Skinny Valentines Edition: Coffee Cake Muffin Recipe

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These, I’ve dubbed, are my love muffins. For one, they taste like love. And two? They are shaped like hearts! (Well, kinda.)

Truthfully though, I do love them. They are soft and moist with a sweet, sugary crunch. And the filling? Oh the filling. Simple mixture of just brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans, it tastes like Sunday morning. Plus, they have icing. CINNAMON ROLL ICING.

These muffins make the PERFECT addition to a Valentine’s Day brunch. Guys, I’m all about fancy dinners, roses and the like, but right now? Breakfast in bed with these glorious muffins, a pitcher of mimosas and some bacon sounds pretty freakin’ fabulous. Let’s see if I can get my husband to do that. First, he’ll have to recreate these decadently soft, naturally sweet, grainy and crunchy muffins since I know they aren’t lasting past today. I think he can do it.

Now, in case you were curious, I’ve been subtly applying what I like to call the “Andrew Zimmern approach” to my descriptions. I’ve gotten really boring with how I describe food. “Good, delicious, tasty.” Food is more than that! [Especially food like this!]

He has the most….unusual way of describing what he eats. Like, for example, saying a bowl of noodles tastes like wet, rubbery erasers. Or says a room of cheese smells like unwashed feet of 17 dirty teenagers. I’m trying out his tactic of unpretentious description so you may notice more adjectives.  Like grainy or earthy. However, rest assured, I won’t ever post about food that tastes like wet rubbery erasers. That’s just..weird.

Or..I can just be like Bourdain and say “These  f*&^in’ muffins are damn good. Eat them for f’s sake.” That works too.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Yields 12 muffins
Prep time: >10 minutes
Cook time: 12 – 15 minutes

Recipe adapted from


For the muffins:

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash salt

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the drizzled icing

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. To make the muffins: preheat oven to 375F. Grease a mini heart cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix filling ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, applesauce, sugar and eggs together. Add in vanilla. Gently stir in (with a spoon) flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Pour about 1/2 tablespoon batter into the bottom of the cavity. Add 1 teaspoon filling on top of batter. Cover filling with another 1/2 tablespoon batter. Sprinkle each with filling.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Let muffins cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  5. While muffins are cooling, prepare icing by mixing powdered sugar and milk together. Once muffins have cooled completely, drizzle icing over each one. Enjoy!

Just a note, holding a camera, trying to manually focus and drizzle at the same time is SUPER HARD. (Please see below failed attempts]. I think it’s safe to say I need a tripod.

Nutritional information per muffin: 

Calories: 175
Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 4 grams
Weight Watchers Points Plus points:  5

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  1. Posted by Lauren on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    drool! How perfect for valenines :)
  2. Posted by amy donovan on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    bahaha! i love your zimmern vs bourdain take on describing foods. =) these look absolutely divine! pinning them momentarily to make ASAP. thanks for sharing a fab recipe!
  3. Posted by Choc Chip Uru on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    These are too cute - I cannot believe they are skinny! Perfect way to stay trim but enjoy V-Day :D
    Awesome blog you have!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: 3 Layer Brownie Cheesecake
  4. Posted by Ambika Viswanathan on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    Wow! The muffins look super nice, and don't look like they are guilt free at all!
  5. Posted by Mianto59 on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    Making these right now...smell delish! Gonna give some to my love just because :)
    • Posted by Aniyo83 on
      Sunday, March 25th, 2012
      Did you notice that there was no 'pouring' of the batter in step 3? Feels like 2 cups of flour made the batter very thick- even when I mixed The flour mixture in with a spoon one spoonful at a time.
      • Posted by admin on
        Monday, March 26th, 2012
        Hi! I'm a little confused. I see that is says to pour the batter into the muffin cavities before you bake it. Can you clarify? Would love to help!
  6. Posted by Lizzy Do on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    That beautiful drizzle makes you forget that these muffins are full of healthy ingredients! What a perfect recipe! And I had to laugh at your talk of amping up your foodie vocabulary :)
  7. Posted by Anonymous on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    I looooove coffee cake. This sound so good, especially with that glaze. YUM!
  8. Posted by Alida on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    Love muffins, especially with a healthy twist. The drizzle on these is beautifully done.
  9. Posted by Eve on
    Saturday, February 11th, 2012
    Lol! I've noticed that too about Andrew. My favorite part though is when he says something tastes like your aforementioned rubbery eraser noodles and then says, "But you know what... I really like it!" And all biases aside, (big fat lie alert) I have to say that I like Anthony's way more. Just because he's... better. And more bad--- cool. :) And he seems to get a lot of people to try things just by saying the mentioned three to six words. Amazing.

    And these muffins look lovely. I love anything with cinnamon in it so I have these down on my to bake list!- Eve
    • Posted by Claire Gallam10 on
      Sunday, February 12th, 2012
      I know!!! Anthony is my favorite. Plus, I just love his attitude!
  10. Posted by Baking Serendipity on
    Saturday, February 11th, 2012
    How can I subtly send my husband your breakfast in bed suggestion with this muffin recipe? :) It sounds amazing!
  11. Posted by Nancy/SpicieFoodie on
    Sunday, February 12th, 2012
    They look really good and I love the shape. Thanks for sharing they would be perfect any day of the week. 
  12. Posted by Stephsbitebybite on
    Monday, February 13th, 2012
    I could gobble me up tons of coffee cake...especially when they are cute little muffins like this!! Totally in love
  13. Posted by Maggie on
    Monday, February 13th, 2012
    I want to f'n eat them right now!  :-)  Wow, LOVE that they are stuffed with pecans.  My favorite nut ever.  Wonderful muffins for sure.
  14. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Monday, February 13th, 2012
    Dear Claire, please send a basket of these my way for breakfast tomorrow!
  15. Posted by Happy When Not Hungry on
    Monday, February 13th, 2012
    These muffins look delicious!  Love that you used applesauce and whole wheat flour too!
  16. Posted by Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen on
    Monday, February 13th, 2012
    Yum!  I also love the idea of trying to use more interesting descriptions of food.  I definitely get stuck using delicious, good, etc. but yes rubbery erasers isn't that appealing either!
  17. Posted by Kristina on
    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
    haha I like Anthony's version! These little muffins look great, the heart shape is adorable! Plus cinnamon roll icing is the best :) yummy recipe!
  18. Posted by Danijela on
    Sunday, February 19th, 2012
    Wow, these really look great, and this icing is quite refreshing. Five stars for this recipe!
  19. Monday, February 27th, 2012
    Oh wow these look so delicious! 
  20. Posted by Heidi on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    I have a question, just in an attempt to eat less gluten I have been trying to use almond flour and coconut flour... these look divine!  Do you think you could just sub out amounts and try with coconut and/or almond flour?  or are they very different?
    • Posted by Claire Gallam10 on
      Monday, March 26th, 2012
      Hey Heidi! I'm not 100% sure but here's an article all about cooking with almond flour, this might help clarify when and where you can use it!
  21. Posted by Leslie A on
    Thursday, April 12th, 2012
    This is my first time to your site.  Can't wait to try some of your recipes! :)
  22. Posted by Brooke B. on
    Monday, July 23rd, 2012
    These look delicious!  Can't wait to try!  Thank you for sharing.
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