TWD: Kickin’ Sara Lee’s…


Two questions that have been swirling in my brain for the last few days:  1) Why was Gene Kelly in the movie version of Xanadu?; and, more importantly, 2) Why did I spend valuable time watching it last weekend?


The answer to 2 is easy but I don’t know about 1.  I don’t recall hearing about any addictions, bankruptcies or other tawdry scandals involving Gene Kelly that would explain his participation.  You know the story, he lost his house to that little gambling issue and now has to scramble to pay Tiny and the gang before they break his feet.  I guess it will remain a mystery.

The answer to 2 is nostalgia plain and simple.  And it sucked over an hour of my life last weekend (thank god for the DVR or it would have been even longer).  I can’t even tell you how bad this movie is and that is saying a lot.  I have a high tolerance for musicals and deep affection for Olivia Newton-John.  I saw Grease four times at the theater and wrote my first love letter to John Travolta (which I addressed simply to “John Travolta” and popped in the mailbox).  Olivia Newton-John was my first concert at age 11 and, if you think it didn’t involve a headband and leg warmers on my part, you would be wrong.  Have I mentioned how thankful I am that my embarrassing years pre-date camera phones and the digital world in general?  Let me just sum up the movie by saying that there are a lot of goofy special effects, ONJ gets lots of costume changes and Gene Kelly rollerskates.  Any more detail would cause me to spork my eye out.

BUT I saw this at the theater and worshipped the soundtrack.  One of the songs is even on my Ipod.  I memorized all of the lyrics with my childhood best friend Wendy.  She lived next door.  Neither of our mothers was particularly known for her cooking but, on special occasions, Wendy’s mom would whip out a Sara Lee coffee cake.  And we LOVED it.  We knew we were special.  I had no idea for years that people could or would make homemade coffee cake.

Years later, as a full fledged adult, I bought one and baked it.  And it wasn’t the same.  Funny how that works.  The cake we made this week reminded me of those “special” coffee cake days only this one kicks it’s a**.


I decided to go for the muffins.  I made half blueberry/lemon and half cranberry/lime.  Spouse and I both slightly preferred the cranberry while Will opted for the blueberry.  I think my frozen blueberries were too bland.  I tried to cram as much batter into my twelve muffin tin so I didn’t have nearly enough surface to hold all of the crumb topping.  I used maybe half and we still liked it.  I wasn’t successful in getting all of the batter in so I ended up throwing the rest into a small springform.


Thanks to Sihan of Befuddlement for choosing this one.  I thought it was a great coffee cake alternative.  And, for the record, it easily could have been breakfast.

Next week:  coconut and macadamia nuts.  I am still working on this one…

14 responses to “TWD: Kickin’ Sara Lee’s…

  1. Ooo – I think I’d love the cranberry-lime variation. And I breathe a sigh of relief that I grew up post-leg warmer days and pre-cell phone camera days. Dodged two bullets there 🙂

  2. NICE looking muffins! I should have gone that route – they look wonderful. Love you additions/substitutions too – I’ll have to try those next. *I* remember the movie…. 🙂

  3. You mean I wasn’t the only one who memorized the Xanadu lyrics? Thank you SO much for this unexpected trip down memory lane. It was a terrible movie, and yet…and yet…Olivia and Gene… They were why I saw it. And bought the album. The songs are starting to play in my head, too.

    Cranberry/lime sounds like a terrific combination. I’m planning to make muffins next time I make this recipe – guess I should double the topping to have enough?

    Great job – and great post!

  4. I saw Xanadu when it came out! My brother drove my friend and I to the theater and he stayed for the movie and STILL talks about how awful it was!

    Cranberry lime sounds like a great combo!

  5. The blueberries on your cake look amazingly good!! Your cake
    looks very yummy.

  6. Never saw Xanadu, but loved Grease. My kids just watched it for the first time over the summer. I had to explain that this was the inspiration for High School Musical.

    Anyways, the cake was great – cran/lime sounds awesome.

    As far as next week? Coconut and macs are out, lime zest is in.

  7. Xanadu was an awful movie, but I do like Gene Kelly – Singing in the Rain was great. And your little cakes look great too. Cranberries were a good choice.

  8. Your muffins look great! I made my cake with cranberries too and enjoyed it though I’m definitely looking forward to trying the blueberry version.

  9. Oh, am so glad that I came of age pre-digital era. Maybe participation in Xanadu was Gene Kelly’s (misguided) attempt to remain relevant? So glad that you thought this coffee cake kicks Sara Lee’s; love how you made it as muffins and I love both of your versions. I made next week’s cookies last night and was pleasantly surprised. Even my kids liked them (I just called them “butter cookies,” didn’t mention the coconut and macadamias, and they didn’t notice them).

  10. Yum! This looks so good as muffins! I will have to try cranberries. I don’t think I have ever seen Xandadu….shame I know. 🙂

  11. I was a HUGE ONJ fan and wanted desperately to see Xanadu. I just HAD to see anything with ONJ in it. But…alas, it was not to be. Sadly, I still have never seen all of Xanadu. I did know about Gene Kelly doing the skating thing, though. Thanks for sharing! The muffins look great. I’ve been seeing many with the cranberries, so I guess I will have to give them a try soon.

  12. After watching that movie, I thought all actors would have that light halo around them 24/7. That is pretty much what I remember about that movie. Great looking muffins!

  13. Too funny about the movie. And I’d forgotten all about Sara Lee – how could I? That really was the coffee cake standard, wasn’t it? Yours all look great; and that cranberry lime just calls out. To me blueberries in baked goods are often bland.

  14. Cranberry lime sounds delish! I think I would have liked these better as muffins, since the overcooked cake edges were my least favorite part.

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