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Buttermilk Spice Muffins (a la Mimi's Cafe)

Prep: 30 min Bake: 20 min Makes: 12 muffins
Back in the good ole days BC (before celiac), we would take our kids to Mimi's Cafe on the weekends for a special treat. We each had our opinion about which of their muffins was the tastiest, but these were our son's favorite. Fast forward ten years, and our now teenager and I were reminiscing about these muffins and decided to give them a try gluten free. We started researching recipes, then adapted them for gluten free baking, and voila, pure cinnamon and nutmeg perfection!

One of the secrets to gluten free baking is using buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream to add moisture and richness to those thirsty GF flours. I've found most recipes benefit from slightly decreasing the flour or increasing wet ingredients for a better texture. Another secret is to add more flavor. Believe it or not, wheat flour has some flavor that is missing in its GF counterparts. Try adding extra vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg to your favorite recipes, or sub a small amount of more flavorful flours, like sorghum (considered by some to have the closest flavor profile to wheat) or GF oat flour, if tolerated.


Muffin Batter
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ - 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, plus 1-2 Tbs as needed

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or rolled oats
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix chopped nuts, sugar and spices.
  4. Grease muffin pan or use liners.
  5. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
  6. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, scraping sides periodically.
  7. Alternate adding flour mix and buttermilk on low speed just until everthing is incorporated. Do not overmix.
  8. Add 1-2 Tbs buttermilk, as needed. Batter should be wet.
  9. Spoon into muffin pan, filling each cup 3/4 full and doming batter slightly.
  10. Sprinkle ½ Tbs topping over each muffin. Bake immediately to prevent topping from sinking.
  11. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes, checking for doneness at 18 min. If batter is still wet, bake an additional 2 minutes.