Breakfast for Dad…

Last week, technically last Friday, was my dad’s birthday. I was a bit belated in celebrating his birthday since I was working that day and all I said to him was, “Happy Birthday.” What I did to make up for the lack of presents or anything to commemorate the day of his birth was to bake for breakfast. Yep, he loves bread and sweets as much as I do except he doesn’t love chocolate like my mom does.

Anyways, I ending up baking a batch of vanilla sugar encrusted, grapefruit-cranberry muffins and about two dozens of my interpretation of the traditional mantou. To my readers who are bakers, the recipe for the muffins will be at the end of the post.

The muffin batter
Cranberry confetti on the batter; yellow hue from the zest sitting in the milk

Plate o' muffins for my dad... Plate o’ muffins for dad…

My muffin

Innards of muffin

Basically this muffin had a wonderful aroma of vanilla and floral citrus of the grapefruit. The cranberries gave the muffins a nice tartness to the muffin.

What I did for the mantous was using my 7-month old sourdough starter (thankfully it’s still living), sweeten it up with sugar and add an extra teaspoon of yeast to make sure the dough would rise and then let it have its first proof. Shape it like it was a cinnamon roll but fill it with granulated sugar, sweetened flaked coconut, and dessicated coconut. Proof it again overnight. Steam for 20 minutes and it’s ready to eat.

A sheet full of mantous

Close up of the mantou

I don’t have a photo for the final product due to the fact that it wasn’t as photogenic as my muffins and my family consumed it once it came out of the steamer. I guess this is arguably a tribute for Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who are reading this!)…but obviously I’m not repeating myself.

Here’s the recipe for the muffins.

Vanilla-Sugar Crusted Grapefruit-Cranberry Muffins
Makes 1 dozen

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus tablespoon or so for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cranberries (I froze mine before since it was leftovers from a previous recipe)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Zest of a large grapefruit (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of grapefruit zest)
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (you can either purchase this or make your own)


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and add in a tablespoon of vanilla sugar in each muffin cup, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cranberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining vanilla sugar on top of muffin batter.

4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. wendy says:

    Hi Tina,

    I think it is really sweet of you to bake for your Dad for his birthday day/Father’s Day. Reading your entry gave me a much needed dosage of guilt that will hopefully jumpstart my own Father’s Day efforts.
    On a more general note, I love reading your site and all the photos. Although I have only recently discovered it, i have read through all of your archived entries. I think you have an inspiring outlook on food and life. Your site is my go-to when I am having a stressful day at work.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback:Top Posts « WordPress.com

  3. thewanderingeater says:

    Wendy: Thanks for the compliment!
    I didn’t really mean to make you (or anyone) feel a bit guilty for getting or doing something for Father’s Day. But I hope both your father and yourself had a good one yesterday.

  4. Hillary says:

    You took GREAT pictures! This makes me want to go home and make these right away! Delicious and creative!

    It reminded me to use grapefruit more in cooking. My friend actually came up with this great recipe for baked granola-encrusted grapefruit.

  5. thewanderingeater says:

    Dillip: Thanks!

    Hillary: Thanks for the compliment! :) Honestly, I used grapefruit because I didn’t have any oranges on hand, hence the flavor combination.

    Oooh…baked granola-encrusted grapefruit sounds interesting. Do you mind sending over that recipe?

  6. Hillary says:

    I will try! I asked my friend for it. I know she said it was improvised but it was delicious! I’ll let you know when she gets back to me :)

  7. Ben says:

    I made the muffins this morning, sans vanilla sugar. They were so great that I think I’ll make em again this weekend. I just need to go grab some vanilla beans.

    Previously, i had only made muffins with dried cranberries. They simply can’t hold a candle to these.

    And the muffins go great with a half of grapefruit for breakfast :)

  8. thewanderingeater says:

    Doug: Aww…I think your daughters or even sons (there’s nothing wrong with a boy cooking, ya know) would take of you when you get to that age. Just let them get inspired to cook when they’re little.

    Ben: Yay! Someone tried the recipe…and it’s successful! You’ve made my day. :)

    Muffins with dried cranberries are not that great. The texture’s entirely different for the muffins.

  9. Pingback:More Homemade Goods… « The Wandering Eater

  10. babe says:

    wonderful recipe, just found it recently by browsing. want to see more of your jummy recipe. keep up the good work.


Comments are closed.