Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 28, 2011

“Upside-Down” Muffins

After a couple weeks of silly desserts, and the greasy Meatza, I was in the mood to try something a little bit more nutritious. So, SURPRISE! It’s bran muffins!


1 cup Nabisco 100% Bran
1 cup milk
2 tbsps. shortening
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsps. baking powder
5 tbsps. honey
30 orange segments
Maraschino cherries

Combine bran and milk; let stand 5 min. Cream shortening, orange rind, sugar; add egg and beat well. Add bran mixture. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to mixture; stir only until mixed. In each well-greased muffin pan, put 1 tsp. honey, 2 orange segments (membrane removed), cherry in center. Fill 2/3 full of batter. Bake in hot oven (400°F.) 225 min. Turn out, “fruit-side up,” 15 of the dreamiest muffins you ever baked! Fine and fluffy-light because they’re made with Nabisco 100% Bran — the finer-milled bran that gives finer baking results. (Furnishes important nutrients and diet-bulk, too!)

I have made bran muffins before, but never anything quite this unusual — it looks like pineapple upside-down cupcakes with extra fiber.

Bran cereal is a textbook definition of crunchy — it has to be soaked for a few minutes to be edible, or be soft enough to be mixed into a muffin batter.

Meanwhile, the butter and various other things get creamed together.

There, now it’s nice and sludgy!

Sludge is poured into mush,

and everything gets stirred together into a nice, sturdy batter. Meanwhile…

A teaspoon of honey is poured into each of the muffin cups, which takes a lot longer than you might expect thanks to viscosity. (Avoid doing this on a cold day…)

Then oranges and cherries are placed in the honey puddle. It really looks pretty — like a butterfly, or flower, or, um… um… huh.

The muffin batter loves to stick to itself, so it takes a little prodding to fill the muffin cups and squish them into shape. I do have a tiny gripe with the recipe; it really only makes 12 muffins (one pan), not 15. I filled them up to the top (not just 2/3 full) and they rose up fine. Were muffin pans a different size in decades past?

After baking, they look almost identical — just a little bit drier. But the amazing part comes when you flip them out…


This part is a little bit tricky; if the muffin pan wasn’t very well greased, or you had a little too much honey, or the orange segments were too juicy, you could run into problems. I ended up with sticky orange juice spilling out of some, and muffins getting stuck in others; on a few, the oranges stuck when the muffin came out and had to be reattached later.

But overall, it’s a pretty muffin, and looks enticing.

In terms of flavor? Again, SURPRISE! These are great bran muffins. (The maraschino cherries are almost unnecessary; they’re a nice accent, but I made a second batch with just the honey and oranges, and it was still terrific!) The oranges are a nice sweet accent on top.

This is when recipes are winners — when the manufacturer uses an ingredient the traditional way, with perhaps a slight twist to make it new and exciting. (Strong emphasis on slight!) It makes me want to buy more bran cereal and make more muffins, as opposed to most advertising recipes which make me want to find the person who came up with that use for their product and make THEM eat it.

Recipe found in the Flickr stream of bluwmongoose



  1. Okay, I’m actually impressed with these – there are so many ways one can really make an AWFUL bran muffin, but this sounds doable, and I have some bran-stick looking cereal just sitting around. Wonder if it would work with fresh oranges?

    • Fresh oranges should work great, as long as they still fit in the muffin cup.

      Let me know how it works, this is going to be one of my “core” muffin recipes and I’m definitely interested in variations!

  2. My mom taught me that the trick to getting honey out of a measuring spoon is to give the spoon a quick spritz of cooking spray. It sounds weird, but it works and makes life much easier!

    I’m so happy that this is a tasty recipe!

  3. Looks great!!! I will have to try these…

  4. I swear the orange slices didn’t look that suggestive when we were actually laying them out! The camera adds twenty innuendos, I guess.

  5. Wow–for the first time ever, I may have to actually make something I saw on your blog! A student brought something similar to class earlier this semester–upside down *cupcakes*, but with peach slices on the bottom. These seem a lot healthier…and tastier.

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