plum marzipan cinnamon muffins 5

So, my brother is looking for an apartment.

I’m sure you’re all like, “oh that’s nice”.

And it is, really, until you’re hit by the magnitude of the fact that by “looking” I actually mean “looking to buy” and not “looking to rent”.

In Manhattan.


plum marzipan cinnamon muffins 16

Did I mention that he is two years younger than me and the kind of down payments he is looking at would take me four years of MD/PhD stipend to accumulate, and that is only if I subsisted solely on peanut butter and jelly and didn’t ever leave my apartment and didn’t have to pay rent.

So really at my current rate of expenditure…we’re looking at a decade of savings.  That he has somehow accrued after only two years in the working world. And that is while still eating and living and paying to have a roof over his head.

plum marzipan cinnamon muffins 15

Sometimes, I really think I chose the wrong profession. At least from an instant gratitude kind of perspective.

plum marzipan cinnamon muffins 13

The unfortunate thing about trying to buy an apartment in Manhattan (aside from, you know…the absurdly inflated prices) is that it is always a seller’s market so real estate brokers don’t exactly try to woo you.

There is no freshly baked cookie smell coming out of the ovens and often, the place is barely even cleaned up before you are taken to go see it. The entire “how to sell a house” handbook is pretty much thrown out the window because there are just too many people on this tiny island and not enough places to put them.  Supply and demand at it’s most basic.

In fact, there is almost a complete role reversal where you, as the buyer, want to (practically) seduce your real estate agent.

plum marzipan cinnamon muffins

You wear a suit and tie. Shine your shoes. Bat your eyelashes. Bring breakfast.

Preferably of the outrageously delicious muffin variety.

Case in point.

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Unfortunately for my brother (and all of the real estate agents he is meeting with) we ate these so fast and with such reckless abandon that there were none left over for him to take with him. But maybe if I like him I’ll make another batch. Maybe.

The thing about these is that you are really going to think that they won’t work.  You’ll look at the amount of flour used for the amount of liquid and then you’ll scratch your head in utter confusion.  But I pinky swear promise that everything will turn out for the best. The batter will just be thick. We can deal with that, right?

And the end result more than makes up for any slight batter stress you might have  They are hearty, the way a muffin should be. But also moist and bursting with sweet almond flour that is offset perfectly by the tart plum compote that they are topped with.  The kind-of-stale muffins at your local coffee shop can’t even hold a candle to these babies. As it should be.

I am submitting these to this week’s IHCC!

Also the WINNER of last week’s Whole Foods gift card giveaway is PsychoTwin (Kelster)! Please email me at [email protected] to claim your prize!


One year ago…Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Collard Greens
Two years ago…Coconut Potato Curry with Basil and Cashews
Three years ago…Arugula Salad with Roasted Figs, Pancetta, Almonds and Chili

Plum, Marzipan and Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 16, adapted from Ottolenghi


  • 480 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 120 g almond paste

For the compote:

  • 700 g ripe red plums, stoned and cut into quarters, then 1/2-inch dice
  • 60 g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. First, make the plum compote. Heat the oven to 400. Put the plums in a shallow baking dish. Toss with the sugar and cinnamon stick. Place in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes until the plums are soft and the liquid they give off starts to bubble. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs and 200 g sugar until mixed. Add in the milk and butter, stirring to combine.
  3. Grate the almond paste using a coarse grater and add to the batter. Add 80 g of the plum compote to this. Stir to combine. Set aside the rest of the compote for later.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter, until just combined.
  5. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Spoon in the muffin batter, filling it all the way to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove from the tins to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Once they are cool, use a knife to cut a shallow circle in the tops of the muffins (go about halfway down the muffin). Pop out the cylinder you just made and fill muffins with the plum compote.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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77 Responses to Plum, Marzipan and Cinnamon Muffins

  1. What a unique muffin full of great flavors!!!! Wish I could have one for my breakfast this morning that I have yet to eat 😉
    I can’t imagine trying to buy in NYC…Boston has high enough prices for me!
    Good luck to your bro!

  2. bellini says:

    I can’t imagine paying the inflated prices for real estate in NYC, but then the wages make it possible. I also can’t imagine wooing my agent and plying them with treats. It almost makes me want to get out of the medical field and into selling homes.

  3. Katie says:

    Yum! These muffins look divine. I have to admit that I’ve never done anything with Marzipan maybe I should give these a try!

  4. Ohhh…almond paste! Plums! Heaven!

  5. Mira says:

    Oooh, the plum and marzipan combination reminds me of my german grandmother’s baking! Love these!

    And I have a feeling that in a few years my little brother will similarly be spending grown-up money while I continue to be broke on a bicycle…. haha

  6. That compote on top looks amazing. Good luck to your brother! We recently went through house buying and it was not so fun after a while.

  7. Good luck with that, Joanne. We had a hard enough time trying to rent in Houston, and I didn’t even think we were picky. NO FUN!!

  8. Wow, how exciting for your brother! He must work in finance or something, haha. Nate and I considered a manhattan apt, before deciding on a house in the ‘burbs, but the prices are RIDICULOUS- I mean especially for what you’re getting. A realtor bribe isn’t a bad idea…these muffins might not only get him a realtor, but a discount! 😉

  9. Amy says:

    He saved that much in only 2 years! What does he do for a living…movie porn? Buying a home in CA isn’t quite as bad, although there’s no doubt the agents get paid A LOT of money for virtually doing nothing.

  10. Kathy says:

    Oh Joanne, These are just luscious looking! Love that they include almond paste and plums…yum! Good luck with your house hunting. My son lives in Manhattan, and has been looking, for months, for a building to buy.

  11. oh man, that plum cinnamon compote looks like i want it over everything; yogurt, toast, white chocolate whipped cream… yum! and, umm, yeah, definitely the wrong field for instant gratification. more like constant rollercoaster, at least on the science side 😉

  12. Johanna GGG says:

    marzipan and plums sounds like a brilliant combination

    buying an apartment in manhattan sounds downright scary – but having a brother who owns an apartment in manhattan may just come in handy – be nice to him and bake him these muffins just in case 🙂

  13. Abby says:

    I need that plum compote on everything haha 🙂 looks to die for! Good luck to your brother at least he has you as his secret weapon!

  14. There’s no way I can afford to but my own place in the city (in the burbs, maybe, but I’m a city gal). Good luck to your brother! I’ve never baked with marzipan but I love it in those pretty little chocolate covered treats.

  15. Good luck to your brother! lol Manhattan is like Bombay, you would need to be a millionaire to get a decent flat with a bathroom (note that at least a manhatten flat will have a bathroom).

    ok now that’s a serious delicious muffin. plum marzipan and cinnamon, this could be a hit in a Vienna Coffeehouse!

  16. Buy an apartment? Wow good luck to him! Although I bet he’ll get a lot of his money back if and when it sells it back. Renting is kind of a money drain. Beautiful muffins btw. They remind me of shortcake.

  17. Gloria Baker says:

    ah I understand you Im the older of three, a sister and a brother and sometimes is not easy:)
    I love your plums are beautiful! and I love marzipan, I love to cook with it, have a nice weekend dear Joanne:)

  18. will you overnight me one of these please!!!!

  19. Foodycat says:

    These look lovely! I made a rhubarb and marzipan cake last week but unfortunately I didn’t get to try it. I am now all about the slightly sour fruits with the almond paste!

  20. sandra says:

    that looks so scrumptious. I love plums! and almonds! Good luck to your brother… what does he do to make all that cash, any way?

  21. london bakes says:

    I might well sell your brother my flat if he turned up with a basket of these muffins.

  22. Pam says:

    Good luck to your brother in finding a new apartment. These muffins are totally drool worthy. They look beautiful & delicious Joanne.

  23. I really can’t imagine looking to buy an apartment in the city right now, your brother is a brave guy! A few batches of these muffins would definitely ease his pain anyway:-)

  24. @700words says:

    these look beautiful, and so summery. I’ve been a long time lurker on your blog, I’ve recently started my own, and from previous posts of yours thought you might appreciate my post on recipe books(althought i realise my collection is minscule compared to yours!. Keep up the amazing work!

  25. Lynn says:

    Those look so good! I hope your brother gets a good apartment!

  26. Wow, that is admirable–most young people just spend their money as they get it. Kudos to him! Also, these muffins are making me sad because I don’t have one for breakfast. They look sooo good!

  27. Eileen says:

    Man, I thought it was bad enough to look for a rental apartment in Brooklyn! Ugh. Good luck to your brother! These litte guys look so tasty–and definitely perfect for all the plums that are currently Almost ripe on our backyard tree. 🙂

  28. grace says:

    those plums are gorgeous, both before and after becoming compote!

  29. Beth says:

    Batter stress – so funny! And I’m very impressed with his ability to save. Unbelievable.

  30. Corina says:

    These look and sound amazing – I’ve got to make muffins again soon!

  31. I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for your brother’s apartment-finding stress! Two years of work? Well, I do know that in finance, the job pays well but you work so much you have no time to spend it

  32. My fingers are crossed for your brother! Apartment hunting in NY is bad enough. I can’t imagine looking to buy! You may not have a down payment for an apartment, but I’d take good food and a rental over buying any day…

  33. Wow Joanne – what does he do? Buying an apt in Manhattan is serious business. I hope he finds the right one!

  34. Lora says:

    These look divine!

  35. Guru Uru says:

    Your brother has so much determination, fingers crossed he finds a brilliant apartment 😀
    And lovely muffins, I bet they would keep him going!


  36. I, like, can’t focus on real estate prices right now. There are these to focus on instead!

  37. OohLookBel says:

    Interesting insight into the NYC real estate game; I never realised it was so tough. Hope your brother finds something soon, and I’m sure he will, with you providing luscious goodies like these muffins.

  38. Oh my, this looks good! I love using almond paste in cakes, as they give a moist and delicious taste. I would be happy to have a few of these muffins for my breakfast! Thanks for sharing, this goes to my list!

  39. That Girl says:

    Oh my goodness, we’re in the same boat! Because both of us went to grad school and have massive student loans, my little brother, who didn’t, will be buying a home long before us.

  40. Monet says:

    Yikes. I can’t imagine apartment hunting/buying in NYC. It was hard enough trying to buy a house here in the springs! But my dear, don’t despair. All your hard work will pay off eventually (and who wants the hassle of buying a house before you’re truly ready?) These muffins look so good. I can see why you didn’t have a hard time polishing them off!

  41. Hotly Spiced says:

    It’s hard enough to buy a house in my part of Sydney yet I know it’s much, much more difficult in Manhattan. Here at least, the agents are still shining their shoes for you and the home is generally clean and has had a stylist breeze through it. What does your brother do? Rob banks??? xx

  42. Good luck to your brother! I need to find some almond paste 🙂

  43. G’day! Lovely photos, TRUE!
    Never baked with almond paste, but now have put it on the list to do!
    Cheers! Joanne

  44. Joanne, these look gorgeous. I love plum and almond together, and I’ve had this one bookmarked for ages. I was planning to make this with the last of the season’s plums, but sadly time got away from me and plum season finished. It’s feijoa season here right now though, so I’m thinking that might make a great alternative.

  45. Look at these stud muffins! I’m obsessed with the flavors in these beauties!

  46. Debbie says:

    Buying an apartment in Manhattan??? Wow…I can only imagine how expensive they must be. I had watched the HGTV channel when it aired “Selling New York” and it was unreal. Granted those were luxury apartments, but still…those muffins have to be so good since they have marzipan. And I am a sucker for that.

  47. Steph says:

    plums, I always forget about those little fruits! I need to get me some!

  48. Dining Alone says:

    I can’t even imagine trying to buy a place in NYC, good luck to your brother!

  49. marzipan!
    you found a good use for marzipan!

  50. Ashley says:

    Good luck to your bro – Westchester is freakin’ crazy, too. Ugh. And these muffins… wow. Beautiful!

  51. Hannah says:

    Ugh, you speak the truth, both about New York real estate and picking the wrong career (in terms of the literal payoff.) That pretty much sums up why I don’t want to move to NYC, despite living so nearby and always enjoying my time there. It’s just impossible!

    Real estate aside though, it’s more than possible that I’ll make these muffins, and in fact probable. My mom loves marzipan so she would be all over them. Perhaps I’ll try using peaches instead though, since those are her favorite stone fruits.

  52. These really take muffins up a notch. I love that plum compote–so perfect with the almond flavor of the muffin. Yum! 😉

  53. Not having to pay for rent – wouldn’t that be nice? I feel like I’d be a millionaire without rent payments!

    Anyway, I’m really loving these muffins. I haven’t had plums in so long – definitely need to look for some on my next grocery run!

  54. Barbara says:

    Yikes! My daughter has lived in Manhattan since 1980 and she STILL rents!
    Love these muffins and there’s nothing I love better than marzipan!

  55. daphne says:

    I’m back! oh i love the look of those strawberries! and anything fruit makes it all healthy anyway right?? Pass me one more.. especially after I saw how expensive apartments are at NYC!

  56. marie says:

    These look divine. How unfortunate about no freshly baked cookies at the open houses. It’s kind of a sellers market here as well in Southern Ca. My parents are looking to buy a bigger home and it is very frustrating, but that may have something to do with the fact that my mom is so indecisive 🙂 Good luck to your brother.

  57. Yeesh…good luck to your brother! Can I tell you how in love I am with these? I think plums are such an underrated fruit, plus I love me some marzipan!

  58. Erica Berman says:

    OMG, 3 of my favorite flavours all rolled into one, fabulous!!

  59. you are so creative Joanne! these muffins are fabulous!

  60. Sippity Sup says:

    Ok. I’m going to lecture you (because I’m older and we older folks think we have have every right to). I just read in the LA Times yesterday that millennials are often forgoing the burden of a mortgage (even when they can afford one). They saw the tough times in the market in the past decade or so and have decided in large numbers just to avoid the whole mess. But they are wrong and your brother is right. Buy as soon as you are able. I know Manhattan is a tough market and it will take some time and some planning. But I have faith in you! XOGREG

  61. Omgeeee I LOVE marzipan! I need one of these muffins. OK let’s be real, I need like a dozen. And I’m not sharing 😉

    Best of luck to your brother in finding a new home!

  62. Kim says:

    You know what’s funny? The Ottolenghi bread I made only called for a little amount of flour and it didn’t feel like enough. Strange these muffins were the same. I will say that both my bread and your muffins look delicious (so he must be doing something right). I can imagine the almond flavor coming through quite nicely in these and I love the way the plums seem to explode out of the top of the muffins (really eye-catching)!

  63. I’m envisioning episodes of Selling New York on HGTV as you describe your brother’s experience. So stressful (and expensive)! These muffins would help make all right with the world!, though

  64. What absolutely text book beautiful combination of flavours. Hope your brother finds a place cant wait to see

  65. elly says:

    Ohhhh man. These look like the best muffins ever, seriously. Plums are probably my favorite fruit (which is weird, I know). And marzipan? Yes, please. Also, feel free to tell your brother he can send us some money for a down payment. Even with 2 of us working, the dp we need here for a house/place big enough for 4 us a joke. I can only imagine how much worse Manhattan is. Hah.

  66. Honey says:

    oh this looks so good. i’ve never seen plums on muffins… looks like muffins. so delicious.

  67. Cathleen says:

    Wow! What a delicious looking muffin!
    My boyfriend is also looking for an apartment, but not to buy, to rent, and he’s still having a hard time. Good luck to your brother!

  68. As a fellow poor graduate student, I sympathize and cannot imagine purchasing a piece of real estate. We will just have to drown our poor sorrows in these delicious looking muffins- yum, loving the plums!

  69. Amy says:

    When you mention choosing the “wrong” profession, I totally agree and get what you’re taking about when I see some of my friends and they’re already planning to retired in a few years…and that would be in their early 40s. Sigh….
    I think the real estate market is just as crazy in many southern CA area. Hope your brother will find a nice place soon.

  70. Amy says:

    By the way, these Plum, Marzipan and Cinnamon Muffins are looking scrumptious. I’m going to try this with the plums I get from my In-Law’s garden. Thanks for sharing.

  71. These look divine! I would love to try out this recipe for the teens this weekend. Good luck to your brother.

  72. Reeni says:

    With marzipan and cinnamon these are totally drool-worthy! I wouldn’t want to share! You must be so proud of your brother! That is pretty awesome for his age.

  73. I like just discovered that marzipan and almond paste are the same thing haha:) These look delicious! My sister is going through an almond-croissant-obsessed phase so we’ve been using our fair share of marzipan lately:)

  74. Wonderful, I adore rhubarb & trust the master to come up with such delicious muffins!

  75. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh these look wonderful! What a delicious creation, I love it 🙂

  76. […] numerous times.  I have another two dozen of her recipes on my various Pinterest boards, including plum, marzipan and cinnamon muffins, cornbread and black bean panzanella, deep-dish strawberry rhubarb pie, and this chocolate chip […]

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