Tag Archives: berries

Blackberry Muffins

14 Jan

In the interests of full disclosure, this recipe was originally supposed to be Raspberry and Apple Cupcakes (oh you would have found out eventually). But I didn’t have any apples. And, then when I got the bag of mixed berries out of the freezer I realised I didn’t have any raspberries either. *Insert comedy wah-wah* Not to worry! We’ll pick-up where we left-off last time with some more frankencooking.

This recipe is adapted taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking

Ingredients:

125g butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup milk

150 fresh or frozen raspberries

1 large apple, peeled and chopped finely

150g frozen blackberries

2 tsps icing sugar

Method (makes 12):

1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line 12-hole muffin pan with cases.

2. Beat butter, extract, and sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in sifted  flour and milk, in two batches. Stir in fruit.

3. Divide mixture between cases. Bake about 30 minutes. Stand cakes for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool. Dust with sifted icing sugar.

Adjustments:

As I mentioned, I’ve replaced the apple and raspberries with frozen blackberries.

I’m also halving the recipe to make a smaller six-muffin batch. A “limited edition collection”, if you will.

The ceremonial disrobing of the butter. (If we can’t have fun with the butter part of this recipe, when can we have fun, eh?)

Our old friend ethanol (aka “vanilla extract”).

An unsuccessful first attempt at blending the butter and the sugar with the electric mixer.

And finally…

= Mashed potato?! Wha-?

After mixing in the egg. Good old spatula always gets the job done.

Sainsbury’s Basics berry mix. While it was a little disappointing in this recipe, I’m feeling more optimistic this time. I’ve got Basics Pride. It’s just so cheap!

How can you find fault with these?

Picking out the blackberries to have my wicked way with them.

In they go, before they start to thaw and bleed colour into the muffin mix.

Oops, too late! Must have been all that fondling.

It looks like tutti-frutti ice cream.

The blackberries are oozing when I take the cakes out of the oven – that’s what we like to see!

After a blitzkrieg of powdered sugar. They look pretty similar to the recipe picture.

VERDICT

Taste:

Delicious. The berries have retained most of their shape, so have a satisfyingly gooey bite to them. Plus, the syrupy fruit-juices keep the cake moist.

Recipe cons:

The con of this recipe is that it’s for raspberry and apple muffins, when really it should be for blackberry muffins – because these are much better (probably).

Also, why do my cakes keep rising to domed peaks when the ones in the picture are flat on top? I measure and sift according exactly to the recipe, so what’s that about?

Recipe pros:

It couldn’t be simpler and the fruit is a nice way to add sweetness. You could probably eat these for breakfast and nobody could even say anything or give you a disapproving look.

 

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Berries and Cream Cupcakes

3 Jan

This is my first proper attempt to bake something. I chose the recipe because it looked simple and delicious. Also, it didn’t involve many ingredients, which is good because I can’t afford long shopping lists at the moment. Plus: Fruit! It’s good for you!

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/2 cups caster sugar

1/4 cup cornflour

1/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup self-raising flour

300ml whipping cream

pink food colouring

5 large strawberries, 200g fresh blueberries, 150g fresh raspberries

icing sugar, for dusting

Method (makes 10):

1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line 10 holes of a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Beat eggs in small bowl with electric mixer for about 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing after every addition. Transfer to large bowl.

3. Sift the dry ingredients twice then sift over egg mixture; fold ingredients together.

4. Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into each paper case. Bake cakes for 25 minutes. Turn out immediately onto wire rack, then turn cakes topside up to cool.

5. Meanwhile, colour unwhipped, chilled cream pale pink. Whip the cream until it barely holds its shape.

6. Top each cake with a generous layer of the cream and a mixture of the berries. Dust berries with a little icing sugar before serving.

Adjustments:

I’m using Sainsbury’s Basics plain flour and self raising flour. It says on the bags “less refined but still rises to the occasion”. I like that. If only we could all be as witty and self-deprecating.

I’m also using Sainsbury’s Basics frozen berry mix instead of fresh berries. It costs £1 for a 400g bag, which seems like a good deal compared with the exorbitant prices of fresh blueberries – especially at this time of year.

I forgot to take pictures of the egg-sugar mix, but it looked pretty spectacular. Anyway, as if by magic, here are the cakes:

The cupcakes are slightly dented on top because of the wire rack. I put it on top of the the cakes while they were still in the muffin pan and then turned it upside down, before right-siding the cakes. Should I have let them cool more first? It doesn’t really matter in the end, as they’re being covered by icing.

The cakes look bouncy, but has the “unrefined” Basics flour had a detrimental effect?

This is the whipping cream coloured pink. I started to panic at this point that it wouldn’t be firm enough to top the cakes with. I started whipping with a whisk, but ran out of stamina after about 80 seconds. I used the electric mixer instead and it was a breeze.

Not sure if this is over-whipped or not whipped enough, but it had thickened up enough to use as frosting. Next time, I might make it pinker, as it looks a little blah.

The frosting does look rather sweet on the cakes, though I’m a little concerned it also looks like cottage cheese (bleugh). I used the back of a spoon to smooth it around, but would it be better to use what I think is called a palette knife?

Topped with berries. You can see the colour starting to bleed a little into the cream, but not to worry!

I’m impressed by how much these look like the picture. Yes, the berries on mine are a little frumpier, and the cases aren’t as cute, but it’s a good first-time effort.

For some reason, icing sugar wouldn’t stick to the top of the cakes. Perhaps the wet berries soaked it all up.

VERDICT:

Taste:

Good. Like a deconstructed cream bun. The sponge was a little heavier than I’d anticipated – I wonder if that has anything to do with the Basics flour? Overall, while it wasn’t the most exciting of cakes, it was definitely tasty.

Recipe pros:

– The sponge part was very simple to do. Who knew whisking eggs and sugar could create such a voluminous eggy mass? Childlike wonder ensued.

Recipe cons:

– I’m disappointed with the frosting. Because it’s made from fresh whipping cream, it goes off quicker than other toppings – plus you have to keep the muffins in the fridge, which I think negatively affects the sponge. It does taste delicious though.

– The frozen berries looked great in their frozen state. However, once they were defrosted, they lost their shape and oozed a lot of juices. Also, when I put them atop the muffins, they bled a little into the cream. In the future, I would use fresh berries and (probably) damn the expense.