Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cinnamon Cake and Premature Labor

Among our throng of visitors for Memorial Day, was my little sister Catherine and her family of four. This was going to be Catherine's last visit for a little while, since she is almost 35 weeks pregnant and shouldn't make the 4 hour drive until after the baby arrives. I always love to have pregnant dinner guests; they are so appreciative of your every effort, so grateful to have a duty free evening, and best of all, so enamored of the food. (I am perpetually enamored of food, with or without pregnancy.) So I invited Catherine and her family plus my parents over for a simple dinner of grilled chicken, cheesy potatoes, and a lovely green salad. For dessert, we had cinnamon cake (for my Tuesdays with Dorie assignment) with my own browned butter glaze on top. To say that it was a hit, would be a gross understatement. I planned to plate a few squares for guests, and later photograph a lovely posed slice of cake, perhaps with a glass of milk by the side of the saucer. I was lucky to get this picture. Lucky because everyone, pregnant and 100% not pregnant, loved this cake. My little niece Annabelle, who has up until now been apathetic towards cakes, decided that she must have this cinnamon cake for her June birthday. Sigh. I love a good cooking compliment, especially from a child. What a lovely evening, full of sweet success.
Except.... in the middle of the night, Catherine's baby tried to make a premature entrance into the world. After a few long days and nights in the hospital, Catherine made her way to my parent's house across the street where she must stay on bed rest until the baby really arrives. And thank heavens the baby is developed enough to be quite safe, even if it arrives tomorrow. But in the meantime, all of her beautiful baby items are four hours north in her little house. And Catherine's two little children are wondering why it is that their mother has set up camp on the couch. (A mother doesn't have a lot of authority from the couch.) As a little pick me up, I invited Catherine's children over to make their mother a suprise batch of cinnamon cake. This time we made it into cupcakes, which were equally delicious. And when I thought about writing this post, I thought it would be about a lovely cinnamon cake for my poor sister on bed rest.
But then I had an uncomfortable thought: what if...could it be... is it possible... that cinnamon has anything to do with premature labor? Could my beautiful cinnamon cakes be the cause of this extended camp on the couch? Here's what a google source had to say about that: "Cinnamon, in large doses, has been known to trigger premature labor..."
Gulp. Is it getting warm in here? You know you can't trust everything you read on the Internet. And Dorie's recipe called for 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and I had only used 1 and 1/2 teaspoons, because I'm very prudent that way. And I didn't know so it's not my fault. And I'm sure Catherine is enjoying her hours and hours of rest and relaxation. Gulp again. Um, you might want to be careful who you share your Tuesday treats with. You just might be left wondering if Dorie's delicious cinnamon cake and extended bed rest have a causal relationship. Excuse me while I go whip up something chocolatey for the invalid. And then give her a pedicure. And a back massage. And read aloud from Anna Karenina. While I babysit.
Money Saving Tips: This is a great money saving treat, since there are no pricey ingredients like chocolate, nuts, or fruits. It could easily pass for a coffee cake, but it just as lovely as a simple dessert. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, milk works just fine. I've trimmed the butter in Dorie's recipe by a few tablespoons. But don't worry-you get them back in the frosting.
Cinnamon Cake with Browned Butter Glaze
Estimated Cost: $2.00
slightly adapted from Greenpan's original recipe
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 and 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspooon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 or 1/3 cup milk or cream
1 cup powdered sugar, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with about 16 liners, or grease an 8 inch square baking dish. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, flour, powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and lightly blend. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes for square pan, and about 20 minutes for cupcakes. To make glaze, melt butter in small saucepan. Watching closely, cook butter without stirring until browned. Stir in brown sugar to form thick mixture. For a glaze add the lesser amount of milk, for frosting add the greater. Add milk and stir until lump free. It's ready as a glaze. If you want it to be like frosting, add powdered sugar and beat until lumps are gone. Spoon over warm cake.
Up Next:
Grilled Spice Rubbed Chicken and Veggie Tacos


Tanji said...

Great story!! I think she went on bedrest in the best possible place. All that time to rest and relax while cared for by the ones who love her the most. And make the best treats. :)

Unknown said...

Your posts always make me laugh! If I get pregnant and go into premature labor, may I please set up bedrest at your house? Your food always looks delicious and I could use a pedicure and back massage!!! LOL

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Now why couldn't you make me some cinnamon cakes when I was 8 days overdue with my daughter? I would have ate cinnamon by the spoon then. Good luck to your sister and hope she is getting plenty of rest.

Sara said...

What a fun story! Best wishes for your bed rest sister. I am 33 weeks along, and I think I will wait a while to try the cinnamon cake...just in case! Your little cupcakes look delicious!

Lady Baker said...

As I type this I am a few days shy of 34 weeks pregnant with baby #1 so should I ever be in your sister's situation, let it be with these cinnamon square/cupcakes! :)

Best of everything to her and her family!

Love the cupcakes!

John said...

It looks so delicious
Thank for sharing

Katrina said...

Who knew about the cinnamon and pregnancy! Wish I would have known that when I WANTED the kids out. I had one 4 1/2 weeks early and he was totally fine. 6 pounds even. But yes, chocolate, that would be a sweet thing!
Love your whole post and love your icing!

MK and Co. said...

You know you just gave me a great dessert to make myself as soon as I'm 37 weeks this pregnancy. Not only am I hoping that this delicious cupcake will send me happily off to the Labor Room but I know that for some months after this darling baby has arrived I will paying for eating so much these last nine months by ughhh...dieting. So with that in mind I better enjoy as many delectable treats while I still can!
Give the poor little invalid a pat on the head for me and tell her I'm sorry for all of her troubles. Let her have two kinds of ice cream and be sure you let her borrow your nightgown!
Thanks for another great recipe Prudy dear!

gigi said...

She just wanted to stay at her mama's a while longer. No place is like your mama's house and with you and your charges across the street it just couldn't be any better place to be for a month!

Love cinnamon in most everything. Need to try this SOON!

Jennifer said...

What a great post!!!! Browned butter glaze sounds fantastic!!!

Anne said...

I'm glad to hear a little butter trim worked out well. I'll try to remember that cinnamon and labor fact, too (especially since it comes in a much more delicious package than castor oil, which I could never try!)

Marjie said...

Best of luck to Catherine; at least she's where she can be pampered and her kids can have fun with their cousins. And, let's face it, given the size of your family, you won't mind having a couple of extra kids around. They'll keep yours entertained!

chocolatechic said...

That browned butter glaze looks wonderful.

Heidi said...

This cake looks so yummy. I can't wait to try it out.

Pamela said...

Looks wonderful, both as the cake and the cupcake. The glaze sounds VERY tasty. Good luck to your sister!!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Well, Im pregnant and those cakes look fab to me - mind you I could eat almost anything at the moment!!

Catherine said...

YOU! YOU! You did this to me? And all this time I've been blaming my poor husband.

Well that cake was just so darn delicious, it may just have been worth it. =D

But that doesn't mean I wouldn't love a pedicure, back rub, and being read to! =)

Thanks to all your readers for their well wishes.

Carolyne said...

Auntie Erin who would have thought that about a little innocent cinnamon?!

Your recipe looks scrumptious! I'll have to try it..I'm sure Justus will die over it!

I can't wait to see everybody in September!

Hindy said...

I'm glad your cake was a success!

Michal said...

poor catherine! although there are worse places to be stuck on bedrest, i am sure. here's hoping that everything turns out well. she must be due about the same time as me. at least, i'm pretty sure that i'm about 35 weeks, but since it's my fifth i'll confess that i've been too busy to count the weeks. i just know when i'm due. and i'll avoid that cinnamon cake for a few more weeks now that i know the dangers!

Anonymous said...

LOL! If I'd known that about cinnamon, I would have eaten massive quantities of it around weeks 37 & 38! I was so uncomfortable with baby #2.

Emily Rose said...

haha- I doubt your cake had anything to do ith Catherine's little scare- I say this because as a woman who is 33 weeks pregnant, I ate almost half of my cinnamon cake by myself!! and I used the full amount that Dorie called for too! I loved this one- I'll have to try that scrumptious glaze too- the chocolate was delicious but yours sounds equally enchanting!

Anonymous said...

I read this yesterday while at work, and rushed right home and made it! It is my new favorite cake!! Thanks so much for all of your great recipes!

Anonymous said...

That's a great post! Who knew cinnamon had so much power? =) I agree with the others, that your sister is in the best place for bedrest. I'm sure she'll be receiving a lot of TLC until the baby arrives.
I love your Cinnamon Square cake with the browned butter glaze - it looks soo carmel-y! And the cupcakes look delish too!

Cathy said...

Oh my goodness Prudy! Never a dull moment in your house, is there? So glad that Catherine and her sweet eager-beaver baby are doing well. And you just know that from now until eternity, your blog will be getting hits from desperate, 41 week pregnant women googling ways to induce labor, and thinking that eating cinnamon cake sounds way better than castor oil or hauling rocks in the backyard. Your cake looks incredible, and I'm so glad that it was a hit with your family, both the born members and the soon-to-be-born ones.

The Blonde Duck said...

I doubt you sent her into labor. :)

Oh Prudy, I've missed you! Did you and Sailor see the Puppy Ball?

karen said...

that is funny. your version sounds absolutely delicious.

Maria said...

Nice job on the cake and an exciting story to go with!

Coby said...

I love the pictures you paint of your family life. Even a simple and humble (and delicious) family meal can be dramatic! Hope mum and babe remain well, I hope we will hear about the happy arrival in about a month:)

Mélanie said...

My friend just went through the same thing! She was supposed to give birth July 1st, and planned spending the week with her parents in Normandy, while her husband was working in Paris. Of course, on monday morning, she went into labor... He left directly from the office to try to be there in time (he was) but all of the baby stuff (and her doctor!) were still in Paris...
PS : she did not eat cinnamon before ;-)

Anonymous said...

MMM! I love cinnamon! Since I've given up on TWD I was glad I checked in here with you! Better not serve this to my sis this summer--guess I'll have to keep it for myself.

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