Tag Archives: Sainsbury’s Basics

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

18 Jan

So, doughnuts. Or in the words of Willy Wonka’s Veruca Salt:

Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts – so good you could go nuts.


Thus, imagine my joy when I found this doughnut recipe online. Doughnuts – made in a muffin pan! I was all over it it like white on rice (like krispy on kreme?)

This recipe is taken from Noble Pig.


1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup milk


For the topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon


1. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; whisk to combine.

2. In another bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg, and milk.

3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened.

4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half-full; place one teaspoon jam on top.  Cover jam with enough batter to fill muffin cups three-fourths full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Place melted butter in a small bowl; combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Immediately after removing muffins from the oven, dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar.


I didn’t have any nutmeg, so I didn’t use any.

Greasing the muffin tray. There has to be a better way of doing this. Perhaps I should have use my paintbrush pastry-brush. At least my fingers are nice and soft. (And yes, I did wash my hands.)


Kitchen whimsy – it’s a salt shaker. Every time I use it, he reminds me of this little guy…

Image (c) heroofswitzerland.blogspot.com

Food for thought.

Ground cinnamon.

This recipe is so easy, there isn’t much to photograph.

Ploughing the land (aka, whisking the flour)

Vegetable oil doesn’t get much of an outing these days. Trust the Americans to bung a recipe full of it.

So. Oily.

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients together. (My favourite bit.)

It has the consistency of porridge and the smell of wet linden trees.

This is the first time I’ve used the muffin pan without cases. I hope it’s okay…

(SPOILER: This decision is to prove disastrous.)

Ah, the Verloon Hoop.

Sainsbury’s Basics jam. No shame. No shame, I tell you.

Remind you of anything?

Oh yeah. Now who says this blog lacks class?

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”

– Mae West

Ooh snap Mae, SNAP.

Anyway, here is our tray of severed lips. Now you see them…

… And now you don’t. Because they’ve been covered over with another layer of batter. Those holes look fit to burst.

Gloop gloops, into the oven they go.

My! how they’ve risen.

Are they done? The muffin gives nothing away, but the toothpick… the toothpick never lies. It’s time to pop these bad boys out. Just one small quibble…

…They seem to be a little stuck together. Not to worry, I’m sure they’ll be fine once we get them out of the pan.

It appears someone didn’t grease the pan very well. They won’t come out. Here’s one I maimed earlier.

The next step is supposed to be dipping the still-warm cakes into hot butter and sugar. I’ve tried to cut corners again by using demerara sugar instead of something finer. When will I learn? The crystals are just too massive!

This is one of the least-savaged muffins. Shame about the sugar – you could propose to someone* with one of those rocks.

It’s pretty neat how the jam-centre turned out. I ate one straight from the oven and the jam was still hot.



They taste good. Obviously they’re not quite the same as deep-fried doughnuts, but they are less greasy, and have a more wholesome bite. The flavour is a more like a churro, which is no bad thing in my book. The jam is good too.

Recipe pros:

It’s healthier and more filling than a regular doughnut, and the recipe was simple to put together.

Recipe cons:

It’s a pity they stuck to the pan. I think I overfilled it, but then again,  I was only following the recipe. Next time, I’d also use a different sugar for the top.

* But not to me, and certainly not to Mae West.


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


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.