Home » Before I was FrannyCakes, I was Mary Muffin

Before I was FrannyCakes, I was Mary Muffin

I’ve had a hard time finding my footing lately. When this year started, I was doing so well. I had an amazing job, I thought I was in love. I had awesome, awesome shoes. My life was starting to get close to perfect.

Except it wasn’t. (Even though I told you and all my friends it was).

I was hiding just how debilitating my condition was. It ate away at me. I was a shell.

My relationship ended. Maybe I fell out of love. Maybe I was never in love. Maybe when Blondie stopped being able to hug me I should have known.

I lost 2 friends to cancer. Within 5 weeks of each other. Fuck cancer. (Side note, my friend Matt is doing a charity swim to raise money for Swim Across America, an organization that gives to a variety of cancer causes).

My life is just not meant to be normal. Or maybe these things are normal and they just suck. Bleh. But I was falling apart. I couldn’t pretend everything was perfect anymore.

When I started to pick up the pieces from the fallout of all of these things happening at once, I found strength amongst the pieces of the life I thought I had. Funny thing about that life, it got so much better when it fell apart. I was able to share and be free.

Sweet freedom. I feel good. Well, mentally I am feeling good. And right now that is all I can ask for. Because I am finding light.

My friends tell me they can see it. I just know I can feel it. I can feel the hope.

There is hope and happiness. Real, eye-twinkling happiness. When I wasn’t sure that feeling was ever going to come back, it started to. Had I known that sharing would have this profound of an effect on my life, I would have done it sooner.

I owe a lot of friends and family for their unconditional support. I owe some close friends an apology after I got a few “WTF?!” text messages about my secret being out.

Thing is, I owe none of them more than I owe Mammacakes. She finally saw how much of my spirit had been eaten away. Some by an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. Most from hiding the pain from everyone. Including her.

When I was growing up, she taught me how sharing food with others was a way to share love. She taught me how cooking could bring you home. She taught me how baking soothes the soul. She gave me this gift. This amazing gift.

It might have saved my life. The repetition and the meditation. The caring for others. The finding center.

Baking brought me home. It brought me you. It is helping me heal.

gluten free maple walnut muffins

When I was little, Mammacakes called me her little Mary Muffin (and that was almost the name of this site). I am coming full circle, back to the little girl who was so happy. The little girl who loved to bake. I made you a mary muffin.

These muffins are refined-sugar free and are just sweet enough to remind you how sweet you are. And that you are loved. Very much. (One more side note, I am updating the tagline for this here blog, and I would appreciate it if you took a second to vote for your favorite).

Gluten-free Maple Walnut Crunch Muffins
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 12
I adapted these muffins from the cookbook Sarahbeth’s Bakery, and they are currently my second favorite muffin.
  • 350 grams (2 1/4 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum**
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 230 grams (1 1/2 cups) pure maple syrup (grade B if you can get it)***
  • 170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room tempertature
  • 1 cup coarsley chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple flakes
  • 2 tablespoons muscovado, demarra or other raw sugar****
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (make sure you have the rack at the center of the oven). Line a standard muffin tin with papers or grease well.
  2. Whisk together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the syrup and melted butter.
  4. Add the egg to the liquid ingredients and whisk together.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Overmixing here won’t cause gluten formation, but you can still over beat the eggs and cause tough muffins, so stop once you have a smooth batter.
  6. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes or so.
  7. While the batter stands, combine the nuts, maple flakes and raw sugar i a small bowl.
  8. Portion the batter out evenly amongst the muffin cups (I use a 2 1/4 inch ice cream scoop).
  9. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Bake for 15 more minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the muffin should come out cleanly.

*I use Cup4Cup, but you can use any of your favorite blends.
**Omit this if using a blend that contains xantham gum or expandex.
***Grade B maple syrup has the most maple flavor. Please don’t use Aunt Gemima’s or Mrs. Butterworths or equivalent. Those will not taste right.
****You can use coconut palm sugar, sugar in the raw, or heck even brown sugar would work (but then it won’t be refined sugar free).




  1. Mel says:

    Are these the ones I got a couple of??? If so, they are SO GOOD!!!! And I am glad that you and mommacakes are mending your relationship.

    • maryfran says:

      They are the ones that you got some of 🙂 I misplaced my recipe for a couple of weeks and finally found it…

  2. Shellie says:

    I heart this post – made me tear up a little. :*) All endings are new beginnings, even if we don’t see it at the time. Congrats on getting through the rough times and seeing the other brighter side of things…you deserve it.

    And, these muffins look delicious. 🙂

    • maryfran says:

      Thanks Shellie! Things are much, much better these days 🙂

      Sorry you guys didn’t get any…maybe I’ll make them again soon….

  3. jas says:

    Life is always better when we can pour ourselves into our baking and then see the result and feel lighter for it (even if the scales should say otherwise).

    Welcome back Mary Muffin! Oh and I cna’t wait to try your recipe!

  4. Donna Hann says:

    Being in the kitchen with our best friends, Mr. measuring cup, Madame mixer, and Sally spatula can be so healing for us baking freaks. It’s our therapy room, I believe. When life becomes overwhelming and we are trying to find our purpose in it, a tiny edible creation sometimes gives us some answers. I hope today is a good one for you.

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