Tag Archives: Fruit

Chocolate and Banana Muffins

Chocolate-and-Banana-Muffins-(6355)

Making muffins (when I get the hang of it) is one of the most enjoyable things. You see, I find that they give me more excuses to bake…well, not that I *need* many of those. When they’re done well (and I’m not necessarily referring to myself here) they are little parcels of joy, perfect for an afternoon treat for you and for friends. I also have a thing for muffin cases. (Ask J about it – he’ll go on forever!)

Some time ago I received a lovely message from one of my readers asking me for this recipe when I posted a picture of these baked goodies on my Facebook page. I made these chocolate and banana muffins, (adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen) a bunch of times and they always turn out great…and the more I make them, the more I love them. Perhaps it’s because they are so simple and take minutes to prepare, with no fancy gadgetry; bowl, fork, whisk, spoon and muffin tin and you’re set. You can prepare the batter while chatting to your friends or listening to music – that’s how I do it anyway, and it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon. You will need:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • one 12 muffin tin, lined with muffin cases or parchment paper cut in squares
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC and prep the muffin tin.
  2. Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl with a fork or even with your clean hands. Take a whisk and beat the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar with the bananas. Now take a wooden spoon (to avoid over-beating) and slowly add and mix the flour, sifted cocoa powder and baking powder. Your mixture should be lumpy.
  3. Tip each muffin case with some of the batter, dividing it into 12, and bake for around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning. (I always take extra care when making muffins, I use to burn muffins a little bit more than I liked! But I’m getting there!) They should be done when their surface bounces back to the touch but insert a skewer in one of them to be sure.
  4. When the muffins have cooled for a little while in the tin, just take them out onto a rack, ready to cover in buttercream if you like.

Enjoy and as always Happy Baking!

Rob x

Anything-you-want-to-add-to Cake!

Cranberry-Cake-(5957)

Pretty weird as a title I know, but that’s how I felt when I baked this little beauty. My chocolate bakes which I have promised you will be posted soon, but today I thought about writing about a simple Madeira style cake which I love to prepare when I’m really up against it. I can never *not* have anything good to eat in this house, and neither should you – not that you must listen to everything I tell you but it’s nice to be prepared! Also there’s no need to remind my lovely readers that J eats for four, e di più!

I have been meaning to post this recipe for quite a while (I think I made this for the first time in the beginning of summer) but never came round to writing about it. Here it is today though. My inspiration comes from a recipe which you can find in Nigella’s HTBADG for Cherry Almond Loaf Cake. It’s a fantastic cake because you can replace the dried cherries with any other dried fruit you fancy. It’s as simple as that really. I love it because it’s easy and good for those days when chocolate won’t do either – a rarity, but it can happen. I used cranberries which worked really well. They are my favourites! One thing I will say is that since this cake is very moist, it has a tendency to take a bit longer than usual to bake completely. And it might remain moist in the middle, especially if you accidentally pierce a berry, but on the whole, a skewer or knife should come out clean. OK, here we go:

  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 225g soft butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 6 x 15ml tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar till they become creamy and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs slowly, then the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and slowly fold them into the egg mixture, with the ground almonds.

Fold the dried cranberries and the milk and pour this cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Don’t worry if the mixture seems thick. It’s supposed to be that way.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, but most importantly when a skewer comes out totally clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack until the cake cools completely.

Enjoy!

Rob x