Muffins are my weakness. I love them for various reasons, mostly because when I’m feeling lazy there’s nothing to cut: I just take one and stuff my face with it basically. Then a second one beckons. Usually. So the only thing that annoys me here is that they disappear very quickly. Somehow a cake lasts for a good couple of days. Oh well…
I planned to post a different recipe today but this week life has been sweet. Very sweet. I went to Flora’s three times at least partly to celebrate my birthday with my two of my dearest friends. It was so much fun. They are great company and two marvellous ladies. So this year I didn’t bake a cake – I mean, with so many indulgent cupcake and pancake trips there really wasn’t. Even I have to admit that! And frankly I just didn’t feel like spending a whole day in the kitchen like I did last year. I cooked for days, to celebrate three family birthdays on three consecutive days. This time round I knew I deserved and wanted a break.
…I’m not there yet. However I was definitely happier with the result. I did make some changes, one reason being I didn’t have any flaked almonds left. Also I had some Braeburn apples instead of Pink Lady on the suggestion of my neighbour, which I have to say have worked better I think. Braeburns are slightly firmer, even though I grated the apples this time round. This could have made the muffins soggier but actually they didn’t. Go figure.
Even though it took a teeny tiny bit more of work I avoided the use of muffin paper cases. After a little research I found that pros don’t favour their use because it makes the muffins wetter and keeps loads of moisture in, which makes the texture unpleasant to say the least. A disaster in fact, which was what happened to me before. All you have to do is to butter the tin and coat it with a thin layer of flour. A bit messy but worth it. You will have to be gentle as you take them out of the tin. Let them cool for a while but not too much, then using a soft spatula go round the edges slowly and remove each of them carefully. I’m saying this because a couple of them ended up with a split top. Don’t worry though – you can add some flavoured whipped cream in between!
As far as the cooking time goes it obviously varies from oven to oven, but I tried baking them at 180ºC for the first 25 minutes, then for 160ºC for 10 to 15 minutes. I know it may seem a long time but frankly I preferred to let them crunch a little instead of having loads of undercooked cakes. I should also say that these keep best in the fridge especially if you don’t plan to eat them within 2 days.
These are the ingredients I used this time. I *will* try to make them again just because I don’t like to give up. But these muffins are full of flavour anyway so why not? Why not indeed.
- 2 Braeburn apples, grated, set aside in a bowl and sprinkle on some lemon juice
- 150g plain flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 125g light brown sugar
- 125ml honey
- 60ml runny yoghurt (not Greek)
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 35g ground almonds
For next time I have a list of some more changes I want to make. Stay tuned.
A couple of months ago I wanted to bake something light and fluffy for tea. I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake; that would have been too boring, even for my self-confessed love of the stuff. So I flipped through the books and found two lovely cakes. I couldn’t choose between them and I tried them both. On two different days in case you ask. The only problem was that when J processed the photos for me I couldn’t remember what cakes they were and where I got them from. Eventually J was the one who did the identifying; nothing out of the ordinary really – it happens. I need to improve my note-keeping…
The following is a recipe which I had in my notes for more than ten years now. It’s a good recipe for Banana Nut Loaf. You can make it quickly if you have people coming over for tea on a Sunday, you can whip it up for yourself and your family, and leave it in the kitchen for anyone who might like something sweet in the afternoon. The original recipe calls for wholemeal self-raising flour but I tried it with half wholemeal and half white once, and it still worked well. If you use plain wholemeal, then mix two teaspoons of baking powder with the flour. The recipe below is close to the one in the book but with a slight variations. It yields one loaf cake.
- 125g soft butter
- 230g soft brown sugar, plus 1 extra tablespoon
- 3 eggs
- 225g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 50g dessicated coconut, plus 2 extra tablespoons
- 15og banana, mashed
- 125ml milk
- 40g walnuts, chopped
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. (Believe me, this will really keep the cake nice and moist so don’t skip the lining bit.)
- In a large bowl mix the softened butter, the 230g of the sugar, eggs, flour, 50g coconut, banana and milk. Whisk all the ingredients together but don’t over beat.
- Now spoon half of your cake batter into the loaf tin. In a small bowl use your hands to mix half the walnuts, mixed spice, the 1 extra tablespoon of sugar and the 2 extra tablespoons of coconut.
- Sprinkle half this mix on to the batter in your tin. Then carefully pour in the remaining cake batter. Smooth the surface with a spatula and add the remaining spice, nut and coconut mix on top.
- Bake the cake for around 1 hour, keeping an eye on it every now and then to make sure the surface doesn’t burn. If this happens cover it loosely with a piece of foil after 25-30 minutes. Check that the cake has cooked through by inserting a skewer or knife. It’s well worth the wait.