Saturday, 5 November 2011

Secret to brilliant buttercream!

You'd think I'd know this already, but, I have finally managd to create the perfect buttercream! Akin to those you can buy in lovely cupcakes bakeries (which I've aspired to for ages!)... the secret is... WHIPPING. Lots and lots of whipping - with either a hand mixer or a really good electric mixer. At least a good five minutes if not much more. This creates a great fluffy, smooth and light buttercream.
I'd usually just mix for a couple of minutes until just mixed but doing it this way instead is way better! Pluss adding a little whole milk helps too.

x

Friday, 21 October 2011

Chocolate Brownies

Hello! Have not posted for a couple of weeks, agaaain. I promised myself I'd try and do at least one bake a week and post about it, and I've managed the bake bit, just not the posting :(

Anyway, I can't really repeat the recipe on here, but made these beautiful brownies from (yes you guessed it) the Hummingbird bakery cookbook. I made them to take to a friends on Weds night and they're the best I've ever done brownies. I was goinf to make cupcakes but I had little time and you can just more or less throw all the ingredients in a bowl and go with this one. No creaming eggs and butter, piping, injecting etc.
If you follow the recipe for these exactly and keep a close close eye on the cooking they're perfect.



I was a bit of a geek and made my own little cut out heart to stencil icing sugar around on top too. They look way cuter this way...!

Making sure you get the cooking time right on these was crucial, too little and they'll be too runny, too much and they'll be just like cakes (not so bad) but if you want the perfect gooey brownie they need a carfeul watch. I checked mine for wobbl every 5 minutes or so after the first 15 mins of baking.

Coops xxx

Friday, 30 September 2011

Macmillan Coffee Morning Cupcakes

There's a really great little toddler group that I've started going to since moving to Rainford (one of many!), they held a Macmillan Coffee Morning today so I baked these last night to add to the collection they'd be selling:

Very Berry and Almond Cupcakes (for the grown ups)
Vanilla and Raspberry Jam Cupcakes (for the children)

Left: Very Berry /  Right:Vanilla and Jam
Don't ask me why I decided to make two different kinds of cupcake at 8pm on a Thursday night for this thing... talk about hard work! My reasoning was that I'd make some nice ones the kiddywinks and then some nice ones for the adults. Anyway, despite the hard slog of picking two less than simple types o'cake, they turned out lovely and went down really well at the coffee morning. Well, they all sold (30p each - beat that! LOL) anyway so I'm taking that as a good thing!

I even got to use my new favourite piece of equipment...wait for it... duuurn de, duuuurn de, de de duuuurh (yes, that's the Jaws music)....

....

My new cooking syringe
Just how sinister does this thing look exactly? That's Jam in there in case anyone wondered (you never know). It looks like something I might my able to use on my thighs for a bit make-shift lipo? The irony of somthing meant for filling cakes used to remove my lardy bits... anyway... yes. I'll stop with the grotesqueness now.
I used this for filling the vanilla and jam cupcakes, it worked well - once I'd realised that I should use jam that has been sieved of all it's pips first. This thing get's blocked so easily, it took me an age to actually fill all, 6, yes only 6, cupcakes. Think I might stick to my piping bag next time. This would be good for other things though, maybe marinades or smoother substances than jam. Jam's just too thick for this?

Well, both of these recipes are listed below should you like to try them :)

Coop's Very Berry and Almond Cupcakes

These are also really nice to make at the moment as they're all in season still.

Ingredients (makes 8 big cupcakes):

175g of butter (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
140g caster sugar
2 eggs
a small punnet of blackberries
a small punnet of raspberries
a small punnet of blueberries
50g flaked almonds
100g plain flour
40g self raising flour
60ml full fat milk
Vanilla sugar
125g cream cheese
300g icing sugar

(so not much then eh...!)

Method:

Firstly I'd start off by preparing the decoration for the top of the cupcakes (see below)



  • Take 8 of each berry (blueberry, raspberry and blackberry) and place in a sieve.
  • Run them under the tap and then carefully shake off any excess.
  • Roll them in the vanilla sugar very carefully then place on one side to dry.

Tip: You can make your own vanilla sugar by placing any old vanilla pods you might have used in a jar of ordinary caster sugar - after a few days you'll have lovely vanilla sugar (great for crumbles)

n.b you can also use egg white to coat the berries before covering them but I always like to take the side of caution and steer away from raw egg in anything uncooked.

Now the cakes:

  • Preheat the oven a relatively low heat (I found 120 for a fan oven was appropriate) - this is due to the dense mixture used, I feel a slower bake cooks them evenly and without explosions!
  • Line the cake tin (a muffin one obvs) with you chosen pretty cupcakes (one of fav things to buys!)
  • Place the 125g of the butter, the vanilla extract, sugar and eggs in an electric mixer (or use a handheld) and beat until light and fluffy and well combined.
  • Now fold in the flours, and milk - mix well.
  • Fold in a couple of handfulls of blueberries and add all the almonds - mix until evenly mixed.
  • Evenly distribute the mixture between the cases until they are half full.
  • Now place a raspberry in the centre of each and push until covered with mixure, repeat with blackberries. You can add more if you think they can take it.
  • Now smooth over the top of the cakes and add the remaining mixture on top.
  • The mixture should be quite high in the cases but not to the top.

  • Bake for around 35 minutes.
n.b you'll notice the mixture is quite thick but this really helps suspend the berries so they dont sink to the bottom.

Make the cream cheese frosting:
  • Using either an electric mixer or a handheld, beat the butter into the icing sugar.
  • Add all the cream cheese to this and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
Decorate!

  • Using a spatuler (or knife) spoon on the mixture (be generous, this stuff is lovely! And much lighter than regualr buttercream)
  • Place one of each sugared berry on the top.
Et voila! :)

Now, here's the vanilla and raspberry jam ones:

Vanilla and Raspberry Jam Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 8 large cupcakes):

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of bakinng powder
120g unsalted butter at room temperature
150ml whole milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jar of smooth raspberry jam
250g icing sugar

Make the cakes
  • Preheat the oven to a moderate heat (around 150 fan)
  • Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and 40g of the butter in an electric mixer or use a hand-held on a medium speed until a sandy consitency is reached.
  • mix the vanilla extract with 130ml of the milk and the whisked egg and then slowly pour into the mix bit by bit until just incorporated.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases.
  • Bake for approx 25 mins then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • Warm the jam in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and sieve to remove pips if necessary.
  • Place in a cooking syringe or piping bag and fill the cakes with as much jam as you'd like.
Make the buttercream icing
  • Place the icing sugar and 80g of the butter in a mixer and beat until just mixed.
  • Add the milk, beat again until light and fluffy.
  • Add any food colouring you may like. (a couple of drops will do) and beat really well.
  • Place in a piping bag with your chosen nozel (I find a start nozel gives that lovely traditional whipped effect)
  • Pipe onto your cakes!
  • Add any other decorations you may like, I added little sugar butterflies I bought on-line.


Coops xxx

Friday, 23 September 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Using my trusty Hummingbird Bakery cookbook as inspiration, I created some strawberry cheesecake cupcakes. Here's what I did:

The recipe - as I did, not strictly going by the book.

Makes: 8

Ingredients:

125g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
115ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large free range egg
9 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces
100g digestive biscuits
12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold (make sure it's a quality cream cheese like Philly)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and unsalted butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or use a handheld electric whisk, and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

2. Pour in the milk and beat on a medium speed until all the ingredients are combined. Now whisk the egg with the vanilla extract and add to the mixture, beat well for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.

3. Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases:


then spoon the cupcake mixture on top until two-thirds full



and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to25 minutes. Leave them to cool in their tray for 5 minutes before putting them on a wire rack.
4. Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the icing sugar with the unsalted butter together in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or use a handheld electric whisk on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. I found that my handheld mixer worked wonders here!
Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes.

5. Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor. Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spatuler on the cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of finely ground biscuits.





So there you are! I loved making these, they looked so pretty and the finished result tasted much better than I would have imagined (and I imagined they'd taste pretty good anyway!) The frosting used was a cream cheese one, something I've mentioned having issues with on here before. But, after ditching the electric mixer in favour of my hand held mixer for this recipe I am a complete convert now! The frosting turned out brilliant, almost nicer than a straight-up buttercream. So, unless I get that fancy £300 mixer for Christmas, I'm sticking to a handheld mixer from now on.
The addition of the digestives on top definitely gave them a lovely cheesecakeyness too.
One thing I was concerned about was the how soggy they might be with all those strawberries on the bottom, and, they were a little 'moist' but I think these are more of a desert cupcake anyway - best eaten with a plate and fork so that didn't matter.


YUM.

I would definitely make these again, one of my favourites.

x

Friday, 16 September 2011

Spanish Orange Cake

I'm eating a Terry's chocolate orange while I type this. I'm obviously hooked on sweet treats of the orange variety at the moment?

Last Saturday my sister-in-law (well almost) had a 'Spanish night'. She and her husband provided lots of tapas, sangria, olives and home-made spanish fare :) So my mother-in-law provided a trifle (not very spanish but no-one would complain, her trifles are amazing!) and I provided a desert with the Spanish element, a very aptly named 'Spanish cake'.

The Spanish cake recipe I used was somthing completely different to anything I've done before, it doesn't really sound like a cake when you read the ingredients and method, but it really works so well and tastes delicious. The bulk of the cake consists of beaten eggs and alot of ground almonds, with a generous amount of whole oranges, and, no flour whatsoever making it a great cake for anyone who may be wheat intolerant or sticking to a gluten-free diet.
The cake was wonderfully moist, yet quite dense too, but that was no bad thing. This cake would be greatly suited to an afternoon tea type thing, with some whipped double cream :P

The trick to getting this cake right is the whisking of the egg whites and folding of the mixture. You need a nice stif fluffy base of egg white for which to add your other ingredients or the cake will end up too dense and a bit flat.

Here's the cake:


And here's how you make it:

Ingredients


2 oranges, about 280 g cut into eights, including the skins!! (Maybe this cake would work really well with lemons too??)
5 large free-range eggs, separated

200 g caster sugar

220 g ground almonds

2 tbsp flaked almonds to decorate

sifted icing sugar to decorate

Method
 
1.Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4)
 
2.Place your chopped oranges in a medium saucepan, discarding any pips. Add 1 tbsp of water, then cover and cook gently for 30 minutes or until the oranges are soft. Make sure you cook off any excess liquid. Now leave to cool.
 
3. Line the bottom and sides of a 20 cm springform cake tin with baking parchment. It's really important to do this, no matter how lazy you're feeling butter alone just won't do. You definitely need a tin with a bottom that pushes up with this to make it easier to remove as well. 
Now take the cooled oranges and finely chop them in a food processor or blender until they're almost mushy.

3.Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks. Or use a food processor with a whisk attachment. Maybe wipe a little lemon juice on anything you're using for your egg whites with this to ensure no grease / fat inhibits your fluffy peaks! Now gradually whisk in half the caster sugar, whisk thoroughly.

4. Now whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar in another (large) bowl for a couple of minutes or until pale and quite thick. Whisk in the finely chopped oranges, then carefully fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon.

5.Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the whisked egg white to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

6.Bake for around 50 minutes or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check the cake half way through, and cover lightly with foil if it's browning too quickly.



7.Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn it out, peel away the lining paper and transfer to a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
The cake can be kept in an airtight tin for up to 2 days.
 
 
 
Anyway, the cake went down a storm (though secretly you know everyone was loving that trifle more, it's so good!).
 
 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

My go at a village show...

Yep, one of those lovely villagy shows where people see who has the biggest marrow, the most spherical onions, the perkiest sweet peas, the most perpendicular tarts. That kind of thing. Oh, and the nicest cakes of course.
Having just moved to the area, I found out the village in which I now live was holding a 'village show', so I thought I'd try my luck! And boy, I think I'd need a lot of luck to impress these judges! Lots of lovely cakes on offer and I was the inexperienced newbie.


I mean the Rainford village show isn't like a lot of other vilage shows in the country, no, much more friendly by the sounds of it. But still, it's hard to know the un-spoken etiquette for these things isn't it?
The only info I was given for my chosen category, 'Domestic', was a choice of the following:
Bread
Banana Bread
Parkin
Apple Pie
Victoria Sandwich
and that they had to be home-made and the judges decision was final. Right. well that wouldnt be too bad. I thought 'Hey, I'll do the old classic Victoria sandwich then!" and then I thought I'd do a bit of research on-line, you know, what they might be expecting and stuff. I heard all-sorts. "bicarb is frowned upon" "never use cream" "caster sugar is the preferred decoration" icing sugar is the preferred decoartion" "a doily should be used" "don't use a cake stand, it's showing off, they don't like that" ARRRGH! So then from what I suddenly thought would be a nice little thing to do totally stressed me out because I didn't want to end up a complete obvious failure when I pride myself on being an alright baker! I had visions of my cake sitting there, glaringly covered in the wrong type of sugar with a placard next to it saying "disappointing" LOL!

Anyway, after having a word with myself I just decided to get on with the following:

3 egg mix
Strawberry jam
No cream (though I do love cream in a victoria sandwich!!)
Icing sugar on top

Here's how it turned out:


Not great, and a bit boring to look at if you ask me. I think it needed to be a smidge thicker and with whipped cream in the middle. But hey ho, I had no idea what to expect and just wanted to experience entering.

I turned up on the day with my offering, paid my 20p entrance fee and laid my little 'beauty' for all to see:



Yeah, it's even worse here, right? Argh! And with the bloomin' great beast of a sandwich behind it too. I really did have no chance. Anyway, I came back after the judging and here was the table:



Mine is the first on the right, top row. To be fair, looking at them lined up like this I thought mine looked pretty alright in the end. Alas, no ranking. :( and from the looks of things they didn't even taste it. But then they didn't taste the winner either, but did some of the others. I don't get it? Am I being thick here?
Here are the winners:

1st Prize
So, it looks like caster sugar to decorate, a smaller tin, a thicker sponge and a lighter bake then? Errr, so I only got all of it wrong then?!


2nd Prize

Kinda looks like mine, but with caster sugar?

3rd Prize
Well, this just confuses me. It has cream (which I thought was a massive no-no at these things), it's massive, and has icing sugar on top (so obviously they don't mind which).

So there you have it, my first little competition, I didn't win anything but I loved doing it anyway! I'm going to enter a chutney and a couple of cakes of next year I think.

Just in case you're interested, here are some photos of the rest of the show.


The apple pies

The village hall


They are some seriously big cabbages.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Blueberry cake

I've posted about how much I like baking with blueberries before - they're just great! Jammy and vibrant when cooked, with a lovely tangy sweetness. So here's another variation on a traditional sponge, with blueberries and and a cream cheese icing.

The original recipe for this calls for a big old ring tin, but I bought a cute (yes I'd use the term 'cute') 15cm round cake tin and wanted to try it with this instead! It's great for just a few slices if you're only baking for at home.

Blueberry Cake


The mix, ready for baking.

The mixture for this had to be quite thick, I guess to suspend the blueberries and create a nice sturdy sponge too. It works really well. My new tin was also great! - no greasing this baby before cooking, and the cooked cake sprung out like a dream!


The baked article.

Here's the cake before icing, it turned out really well. I thought that due to the amount of mixture it might get a big 'dome' shape or cook unevenly in the middle, but it didn't. :) And as far as I could tell, all the blueberries didn't sink to the bottom either.

All iced and ready to go.

The icing or 'frosting' used on this was cream cheese one. I've had really bad luck with cream cheese frostings in the past (see my carrot cake post) so I was a bit reluctant to try with this. But as I know they taste so yummy if you get them right I though I'd give it one last try. It worked - hurrah! I used a better quality cream cheese this time and didn't over-whip the mixture, and, et voila. Good icing for my cake! Maybe I'll give it another go in the furtue now, for my cupcakes maybe? Oh, and I would have had more blueberries to decorate the top of my cake with, but someone (my fruit fiend of a boyfriend) ate the rest of the punnet before I could finish!

The inside of the cake.
Ok, this isn't the best example of where the blueberries lay, but they were better throughout the cake - honest!
In the end I served this up with some tea when we had visitors - it went down a treat :)

Here's the recipe:
(This recipe is intended for a 25cm ring mould, so half the quantities if you plan on doing a smaller cake like mine. Or, cook two!)

Ingredients:

390g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour
4 tbsp baking powder - seems a lot but worth it!
280ml soured cream
300g fresh blueberries, plus extra to decorate
icing sugar, to decorate
300g icing sugar
120g Philadelphia cream cheese, cold.

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.

2.Place the 350g of the butter and 350g sugar in an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy, or alternatively, if you have a very big bowl and strong arms, mix by hand instead. Mix all the eggs together in a bowl with a fork and then slowly incorporate into the mixture. Beat in the vanilla extract, flour and baking powder until well mixed. Now add the soured cream and mix well until everything is combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.

3.Gently stir in the blueberries with a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed.

4.Pour the mixture into a prepared ring mould dusted with a little flour or into a prepared cake tin (for which you would only need half of the mixture) and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. I find even with a good oven, rotating the cake half way through is a good idea.
Leave the cake to cool slightly in the mould/tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

5. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in an electric mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

6.Add the Philadelphia in one go and beat until it is completely mixed in. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny and just unusable.

7. Now place your cooled cake on a serving plate and cover the top and sides with the prepared frosting cover with a few blueberries and sprinkle with icing sugar for good measure.

Enjoy!



Still alive and still baking! (just about)

Hello!

For anyone out there still reading... I'm sorry :( - I know every other post seems to say this at the moment... promise I'm going to try and do at least one post a week now though. Well, I'll trrrrry.
...Agh gimme a break, I've just had baby ya know! ;) Baking has been a distant memory for me!!

So, here's a little update on what's been going on with me, and a new bake to boot :) (just see my next post)

1. Had baby - she's real cute. And smells goo too. And has the softest skin, and teeniest feet...

Little Lucy, she's just amazing. She arrived 4 days early weighing a rather healthy 8lb 13oz (must have been all those cakes :D) and just like her brother arrived in no time at all. That's not to say it didn't *sting* a bit. She seems lovely and contented too, I can't believe how lucky we are. Though it's not that I haven't been mad busy with my new little bundle, those nappies and feeding times still prevent me from doing just about everything at the moment! She's only 6 weeks right now, so things should start easing off again soon and I'll be free to do all the baking I like.... errr, right? That's what'll happen isn't it?! Right????! Haha..

I might not have helped myself by shunning any kind of routine, I did read Gina Ford. I tried (for about 72 hours...) to implement her plan but came to the conclusion that it's just not that easy to do with a boystrous 2 year old in tow too, so, I'm playing the game by ear instead. Feeding Lucy on demand and letting her sleep when she likes. And you know what? It's not that bad. She feeds a lot yes, but sleeps well at night and rarely cries, so I'm happy with that :) Let's just see if I can get a bit of baking time in now...

2. Moved house

As I thought 'Hey, a baby just isn't presenting enough things to think about right now!' I decided moving house would be a brill idea too! ... Well, maybe it was more 'ARGH WE DON'T HAVE THE ROOM, WE DON'T LIVE NEAR ANYONE, ARRRRRGH!' - so the natural thing for us was to relocate nearer my partners parents for support and some extra bedrooms!
We've moved somewhere really lovely, now the stressful part of moving is over I can finally enjoy myself and feel a bit more settled. My new kitchen is great too, nice and roomy (for all my baking paraphenalia) and with a great double oven too! Though I'll point out in advance - my lovely new oven is a temperamental beast when it comes to even cooking, so we'll see how that goes...

So, with all this stuff going on, I've been a tad neglectful of my little blog, but I'm vowing the rectify this now. I have thought about you little blog, I have! Hopefully I'll be able to set a up a 'bake night' for myself once a week and so have something to update you all with!

Anyway, if you're reading this - thanks! Now, onto my next post - cake related!!

xxx

Friday, 25 March 2011

The 'Ultimate' Chocolate cake

OK, things have been a bit quiet on the cake front lately. What with work, children, that kind of thing. So inevitably there was some question in the office 'where have Coops' cakes gone?!'.

Not wanting to disappoint my public, I decided to create the ultimate cake to go with a brew in the office... The Ultimate Chocolate cake Hehe!



I got the recipe from the BBC Good food site - for something a bit different to that of which i usually make. The recipe is a good one - if not a little pricey. The cost of the chocolate alone was £8! But I have to say, I think it might have been worth it... the chocolately richness was fab! And it's going down a treat in the office as we speak :) The only thing I would say is of you decide to use the recipe (below) yourself, I'd put the temp of the oven up a little and keep the cake in longer. Mine was still wobbly after 90 minutes on 140!

Here's the link to the recipe, enjoy :)

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3092/ultimate-chocolate-cake

p.s you'll notice my chocolate curls are only what can be decsribed as 'crap' when compared to that of the orignial recipe - I can never get the darn things right!!

xxx

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Some more of those Christening Cupcakes...!

I know these have been done and pictured on here before but as they're just so lovely I thought I'd add another post detailing the most recent batch of my Christening Cupcakes! My supervisor at work wanted some for her little boy's Christening on Sunday, and so I of course obliged willingly! I made just 24 but they looked great on their little gingham stand. I'm told they went down v.well too :)

Set of Vanilla buns No.1 - I used my favourite vanilla recipe (featured in the recipes sections)
Mmm delicious vanilla butter cream! I used a nice vanilla bean paste, along with the obvious icing sugar, no salt butter and a splash of whole milk.


Lovingly iced and awaiting their crowning glory!


Some may see it as cheating with a wafer rose but I think they look great (and incidentally much better than any sugar paste effort I could do)

All packaged and ready to go!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Blueberry scones

...and that's scone as in bone! (always a basic food debate fav, much like the "is it a barm? No it's a roll/bap etc). Just for the record, here's where I stand on these such matters:
Scone (like bone not gone)
Barm cake: what others may incorrectly describe as a bap, roll or bin lid?!
Tea cakes: have currants in! They are not above mentioned barms.

... Anyway, here are some delicious blueberry scones! I thought a great change from sultanas would be fresh blueberries, and they worked perfectly. You just have to be careful when kneading them into the dough or they burst everywhere! A lovely thing about using blueberries is how gooey they go when cooked, it was like having the jam already in the scone almost :)





Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Raisin and Bran Breakfast Muffins

It's been a little while again hasn't it?! :( Well, just to show I've not completely forgotton all about my beloved baking blog, I've added a little something here!
I've not been baking very much at all recently, which is rubbish, but I've just been so whacked with this pregnancy I can't be bothered to stand up, let alone get baking! All this tiredness seems to be waining a little now though so hopefully there'll be more here soon!

I made these as an alternative to porridge and toast for my little boy's breakfast in the morning. After searching for ideas on-line, I came accross this recipe by Annabel Karmel on-line for a healthy (ish) alternative for on-the-go. They're actually really tasty too! Though not the prettiest little buns I've seen (they're obviosuly not a patch on my cupcakes...ha!)


Raisin and Bran Breakfast Muffins

Still sweet, but with added 'branness!' - very nice with a cup of coffee in the morning.
The Recipe...
courtesy of Annabel Karmel.com

Ingredients

100 g (3 1/2 oz) bran-flake cereal
250 ml (9 fl oz) milk, warmed
60g wholemeal flour
60g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
75 g (2 1/2 oz) raisins
1 large egg
100 g (3 1/2 oz) soft dark-brown sugar
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) sunflower oil
2 tbsp demerera sugar

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
Line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases. Put the cereal in a bowl with the milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes, until the cereal is soft (you can do this while you weigh out the other ingredients).
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices into a large bowl. Reserve the bran left in the sieve. Stir in the raisins. Beat together the egg, dark-brown sugar and oil and add to the flour, along with the soaked cereal and any milk left in the bowl. Mix together.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cases (fill to the top). Mix the reserved bran from the sieve with the demerara sugar and sprinkle over the muffins. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight tin for up to five days.

Information
Makes 8 muffins
Preparation: 10 minutes (plus soaking)
Cooking: 25 minutes

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Sorry!

Sorry there haven't been more new posts lately (because of course there must be so many of you reading right?!!). I'll let you into a little secret though... I'm pregnant again! So most of my excess time has been thinking about that / eating / lying down / sleeping, instead of baking!
Watch this space though, I promise there'll be something new and delicious up here soon! :) xx