Monday, 9 May 2011

Mixed Berry Muffins

I had some frozen mixed berries to use up so decided to make some muffins.  I halved a recipe for 12 muffins, which actually made 8 large muffins!  I'll post the recipe for 8, so you can double it if you want to make more.  These are buttermilk muffins, the buttermilk makes the muffins really light and fluffy.  If you don't have any, you can substitute it with milk and add about a tablespoon of lemon juice to it, which is what I did as this recipe calls for lemon rind anyway.

200g plain flour
88g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
finely grated rind of 1 lemon (use 1/2 if you don't want it too lemony)
1/4 tsp salt
142ml buttermilk
1 egg
42g butter, melted
150g fresh or frozen berries

I started by preheating the oven to gas 6 and lining my muffin tin.  I then combined the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon rind and salt.  In a seperate bowl I whisked together the buttermilk, egg and butter.  Then I added the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stirred gently until incorporated.  It is important you mix it til it's only just come together otherwise your muffins will come out heavy.  I then added the frozen berries, filled the muffin cases and placed in the oven.  The recipe suggested they would take 25 minutes, however mine took about 30.

The muffins tasted deeelicious and I will definately be making another batch with the rest of my frozen berries.  I will also try adapting this recipe for other muffins as they produced such a nice texture.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Lemon Drizzle Squares

These were my second offering to my friends barbecue.  They were so lemony and moist, I couldn't stop eating them, and I'll definately be making them again in future!

150g butter
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of 1 lemon (I used 2 to be extra lemony)
175g self-raising flour
125ml milk
icing sugar for dusting

140g icing sugar
50ml fresh lemon juice (for syrup)

So to make them I lines a 9" square tin and preheated the over to gas 4.
Then I creamed the butter and sugar, mixed in the eggs, then lemon rind, then folded in the flour, and finally the milk.  Once poured in the tin, it took 45 mins to bake.
Once done, I heated the icing sugar and lemon juice in a pan on a low heat until the sugar dissolved, pricked the surface of the cake with a fork, and then poured the syrup evenly over the cake. 

Once cooled, I dusted with icing sugar and cut into 16 squares.

These little cakes were actually great for travelling with and were the perfect bite size pieces for a party.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes

I had to bring a contribution to my friends' bank holiday barbecue, and automatically assigned to cakes, I decided on some simple cupcakes.
I used a new recipe, it can be found here -

They came out perfectly, evenly risen and had a gorgous fluffy texture.

I wanted pink buttercream icing, and decided red food colouring would probably give me a better pink than pink itself.  But as you can see from the pictures.. I had a little trouble with that and ended up with peach icing.  But I think this was because I was using buttercream, which turns naturally a yellow colour from the butter, and yellow + red = orange, probably should have realised this beforehand.  Icing disaster number one, now for disaster number two.  I had actually bought a bargain £1.29 piping bag with plastic nozzles to try out.  My first attempt at piping... not good.  Although I think partly because the nozzle I was using was too small for the effect I was aiming for.  So I gave that up, and went back to spreading with a good old knife, and it looked much better.

And then a 40 minute drive in the car, praying they would not fall everywhere and lose their icing.  Luckily, the majority of them did just that, but the four in a smaller tin ended up everywhere, still tasted great though!

I also made some yummy lemon drizzle squares for the barbecue, will post them very soon.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Carrot Cake Slices

One of my friends told me she had never tried carrot cake before, so I decided to make her some! This recipe is so easy, and I will definately be making it again in the future.

175g light muscovado sugar
175ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs
140g grated carrot
100g raisins
grated zest of 1 orange
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (I didn't have any so used mixed spices)

The oven needs to be preheated to gas mark 4, then I lined a 9" square tin, though the recipe says 7" which doesn't make sense as it fitted exactly into a 9" and came out looking like the picture.

Mix the sugar oil and eggs together in one bowl and mix, then stir in the raisins, orange rind and carrot.  Mix the flour, bicarb and spices together, and then add to the wet mixture and stir. 
Then it's ready to go into the over for 40-45 minutes.

For icing I mixed icing sugar with the orange juice, I never follow quantities for icing, just keep going until it looks like enough.  Then drizzled it over the top as you can see in the pic.  I know carrot cake usually has a cream cheese frosting but I don't really like it and it's just extra fat, but it would go well with this cake if you wanted.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


I found an easy looking recipe for ciabatta and decided to give it a go - My first attempt at ever making any kind of bread, I've only used yeast once before and that was for hot cross buns.

It made a reeeally sloppy dough, and made me 2 large loaves.  I made it the night before and left the dough in the fridge to rise as I didn't have time on the day.  I found it difficult getting it to cook through without overcooking the crust of the bread, but then realised this was probably because I forgot to bring the dough to room temperature and baked it straight from the fridge.  

I have no idea how to get it in the normal ciabatta shape without some kind of mould because the dough just spreads itself out, but it did taste very good, and didn't last very long in my house!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Chocolate & Raspberry Cookies

I was dying to try a cookie recipe I found online because of all the good comments, saying the cookies come out as american style gooey cookies, so decided to bake some for my friends.  I followed this recipe: but used 150g plain chocolate plus about 85g of raspberries and they turned out delicious!

 They do spread alot when cooking so you have to be careful, I baked them in 4 batches and the recipe made me 36 cookies!
They were really delicate, some broke in half quite easily, but it was all worth it, the texture reminded me alot of Millie's cookies.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Simnel muffins

My first ever post and I'm excited about sharing my food with you.  I had to use the fact that it's Easter as an excuse to bake, so I decided to make a muffin version of the traditional simnel cake.  So basically a mixed spice and raisin muffin with a layer of marzipan.. yum! 

Ingredients (for 12 muffins)

250g dried fruit (raisins/sultanas)
1 orange
175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
300g flour
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I replaced this with cinnamon)
5 tbsp milk
175g marzipan

You need to start off by soaking 250g of raisins in the zest and juice of an orange.. the longer you leave it, the better the flavour! (I left mine in the fridge over night.) If you don't have time you can stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C and line the muffin tin.  Prepare the marzipan by dividing into 12 pieces and rolling into balls. Beat all the ingredients except the marzipan until light and fluffy, then stir in the fruit.  Put a little mixture into each case, just under half full, then flatten each marzipan ball to make a circle and top the cake mixture with these, followed by the rest of the mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minute and... voila!

Mine sadly didn't turn out quite as expected, there was so much mixture that I made 3 fairy cakes as well as the muffins.  Because I put so much mixture in each case they spread alot, but didn't rise much so were pretty flat.  I think the reason was that I placed too much mixture in the first layer before the marzipan, so there wasn't much mixture on top left to rise, hence why I've added into the recipe for the marzipan to be put in a little less than halfway.  Not tried yet, but I'm sure that will create better results!

Now to make the cakes look a little more Easter-like, I mixed up some icing, with just icing sugar and the juice of an orange, and topped with some mini mini eggs (yes, even smaller than mini eggs, they were Asda own brand and cheaper!).

 They taste amazing, and I will be wrapping the uneaten ones in silver foil to hide as part of an Easter egg hunt in my friends' garden tomorrow; the mini eggs qualify them for part of an egg hunt haha.  Try these out, not just for Easter, they are scrumptious!