Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Edward Villella's Mother's Wheat Germ Muffins

It's hard to get excited over baked goods with "wheat germ" in the title, but these miniature muffins have a lot going for them: Adorable appearance, big flavor, ballet-world provenance, and they are, I guess, somewhat healthy.  I was more than pleasantly surprised by these, and hope you will be too.

My readers who've been clamoring for "more Antonio" will be pleasantly surprised, too. Antonio Carmena, New York City Ballet soloist, prepared these muffins for our latest Ballet Cook Book Dinner, this one featuring the recipes of Edward Villella, former New York City Ballet principal and founder of the Miami City Ballet.  You can read all about Villella, the rest of the dinner (including an Italian Rice Cake) and see an exciting video (produced by Antonio) on BodiesNeverLie, Ryan Wenzel's wonderful blog.

Antonio, above, mixing the batter with a whisk -- I'm envious of his technique, and also his muscle tone, but that's another story -- and below, filling the greased tins.  He used an ice-cream scoop, but I used two spoons which worked just as well.

Be sure to spray the tins with Pam or grease with Crisco to ensure a smooth release.

These wheat germ muffins are very easy and have a lovely citrus note from the orange rind and natural sweetness from the raisins.  We made them in miniature muffin pans, so the yield was more than 18, but unfortunately I lost count of how many after my third glass of wine. You can substitute butter for the soft shortening, and we used toasted (not raw) wheat germ -- the kind that is sold in glass jars. I'm not sure what Mrs. Villella used, but I'm sure she would approve of our result.

The recipe, and a little note, from The Ballet Cook Book, is below.

Eddie's mother was a great health food enthusiast. In Long Island City, where they lived, he remembers her going
miles out of her way to shop at a special store that sold only organically grown vegetables, and these she cooked always in a pressure cooker. From his mother, then, Eddie learned to make these Wheat Germ Muffins, which though healthful are yet very, very tasty.

1  cup sifted flour
1/2  tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup soft shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1 cup milk
1cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raisins, plumped in hot water

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cream shortening,gradually adding sugar. When light and fluffy beat in egg and orange rind. Stir in sifted ingredients alternately with the milk; add wheat germ and raisins, stirring to combine.Fill muffin tins half full and bake at 375° F. 25 minutes.  Yields 18 muffins.


  1. Came across your blog recently (through Smitten Kitchen) and love your writing style, recipes and the little tips along the way (trying to improve my baking having only recently got into it!). Chuffed to be reading!

    1. Thanks, gannet! There's always something to learn, and I usually do it the hard way. Just checked out your blog -- wonderful!! Look forward to reading more.

  2. The muffins were excellent! Much better than the beer soup...

    Maybe we should consider publishing and selling an "Antonio Carmena in the Kitchen" monthly calendar using all your photos?

    1. Yes, and the proceeds could finance all of our dinners! And support Henry Street Settlement, of course.