Tag Archives: baking

Blueberry Muffins

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As a family we first ate a muffin on the quayside of Granville Island, Vancouver, in 1989, on our first big trip as a family to the States and Canada for a wedding. Everyone fell in love with them, and when they arrived in the UK as US-style coffee shops appeared it was even better. Blueberry ones seem to be the favourite but raspberry or chocolate ones come in a close second. Below is a recipe I found in a magazine – not sure which one – but they work really well.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
12oz/325g Plain flour
6oz/175g Caster sugar
½tsp Salt
2tsp Baking powder
½tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Punnet of Blueberries
2tsp Poppy seeds
2 Eggs
200ml/8fl oz Whole milk (any milk is ok)
100ml/4oz Vegetable oil
1 lemon juice and zest

A 12-hole muffin tray and tulip muffin cases are needed.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.

1. In a mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and poppy seeds.

2. In a measuring jug, beat the eggs before adding the milk, oil and lemon juice and lemon zest.

3. Add these to the dry ingredients/fruit and mix well but quickly, as the lemon and the raising agents start to work.

4. Divide evenly between the muffin cases.

5. Cook in the centre of the oven for 20/25 minutes approximately, checking after 15 minutes to make sure the tops are not burning

6. Check they are cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

Leave to cool and enjoyed warmed before eating. They freeze well.

Enjoy!

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

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Having already made lots of delicious things with all the blackberries I had foraged a few weeks before, I wanted to make something completely different and outside of my ‘comfort zone’, so I started searching for food blogs using blackberries in other ways.

I then stumbled across Donal Skehans excellent blog The Good Mood Food Blog and some of the delicious things he was making with blackerries over in Ireland.

I first noticed his Blackberry Coulis recipe which is very similar to my own Blackberry Compote one and then saw the superb cupcakes he had made using his coulis. Having never made any cakes in my adult life, this was the challenge I wanted and so I set about getting the few ingredients I didnt have in my cupboard or fridge, before having a go at making them and doing his recipe proud! As Donal quotes, ‘This recipe makes delicious, light and moist cupcakes with a fruity taste’.

What I discovered, like so many other recipes I try, it wasnt overly complicated to do, you just needed to follow the instructions step by step.

So I started by making his Blackberry Coulis, so that it was then ready for me to use in the cupcake mixture later on. Once I had sieved it and let it cool, I started on my baking adventure, thinking I was going to get flour and eggs everywhere and dreading the washing up after. Suprisingly, for the time I spent in the kitchen, I only used 3 bowls and a saucepan and hardly made a mess at all!

Again, not having any ink in my printer (I must remember to buy some) I brought my laptop into the kitchen so I could follow Donal’s recipe. It was a total clash of technology and cuisine going on in my small kitchen, epecially when I got my LED beeping electronic scales out too!

I got everything ready to bake, with my girlfriend on hand in the living room watching ‘Come Dine With Me’ (being the normal master home baker), just incase I messed anything up.

All I can say is that they were great fun to make! Everything was so easy, and after spending all that time in the kitchen making them, all I wanted to do was eat one.

I made sure the cakes properly cooled before spooning on the frosting, and then put them aside to set. Once I was happy that they were ready to eat, I had my first one and it was totally delicious! My girlfriend was very impressed at my baking, so I continued into the evening, using the rest of the cake mixture to make a dozen more, so that I could freeze some and have them on other occasions, especially as I have some of the coulis left too.

If anyone wants to have a go and making some fruity cupcakes, then I suggest you have a go at these as the are fantastic!
 
 

Blackberry Coulis

Makes about 150ml/¼ pint

250g Blackberries
50g Golden caster sugar
½ tsp Vanilla extract

1 Put the blackberries and sugar into a small pan with 100ml/31⁄2fl oz water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins until the fruit is soft. Stir in the vanilla, remove and cool a little.

2 Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor, and whizz to a purée, then strain through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle or spoon.

Serve warm or chilled.

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The coulis will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
 
 

For the main recipe:

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

(Recipe adapted from Donal Skehan)

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
6 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Blackberry coulis (made earlier)

For the frosting:
8 oz Cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups Powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp Blackberry coulis
Blackberries for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180C.

1 Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

2 In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3 In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions.

4 In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and blackberry coulis. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just combined. Mix in the blackberry coulis/milk mixture. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Do not over-mix.

5 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared paper liners.

6 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and blackberry coulis in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh blackberries.

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Blackberry on Foodista

Chocolate Sponge (Gluten Free)

Having made a delicious gluten free Victoria Sponge, my partner, being the master baker in the house, decided to have a go at making a chocolate version, as a surprise for me on the first day of my new job.

The only change to the original recipe is the inclusion of 1 tbsp cocoa powder to the sponge mixture and 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder to double the amount of buttercream, as this is spread over the top as well as being used as the filling.

All I can say is, that it tastes as great as it looks!

Victoria Sponge (Gluten Free)

This is one of the simplest cakes to make whether being made with wheat flour or gluten free flour and definitely one of the finest to eat. Having had my partner make a Victoria Sponge using both kinds of flour in recent months, there is nothing to distinguish which was which from the finished product, as both come out light, fluffy and buttery. It is a very easy cake to dress up and perfect for any occasion as a treat or gift.

Victoria Sponge Ingredients:

8ozs Gluten Free Plain Flour
8ozs Caster Sugar
8ozs Cooking Butter/Margarine
4 Eggs
1-2 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder

Buttercream Ingredients:

3ozs Butter or Cooking Margarine
6ozs Icing Sugar

Additional:

Pot of Sugar Free Jam

Equipment Required:

2 Greased 8 Inch Sandwich Tins
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl
Electric Whisk

1 Weigh out ingredients separately.

2 Firstly cream the margarine and sugar until it looks a pale colour.

3 Then tip in the eggs and sifted flour and whisk the mixture until it is a dough like consistency.

4 Once you have done this, grease the cake tins with some margarine, line them with grease proof paper and spoon out the cake mixture into the 2 cake tins.

5 Smooth out the cake mix to cover the bottom of each tin.

6 Bake in an oven at 175C for 20 to 25 mins or until the cakes are firm but spring back when touched gently.

7 Empty the sponges out of the cake tins and leave the cakes to cool on a cake cooling rack or a floured greaseproof round plate if you don’t have one.

8 When the cakes are cool, spoon out the buttercream on the underside of one sponge, and then spoon out the jam on the underside of the other sponge.

9 To complete, sandwich the two halves together, and dust the top of the Victoria Sponge with icing sugar through a sieve.

Serve and enjoy!