First bake: raspberry and blueberry muffins

Raspberry and blueberry muffins 2I had a big pile of berries in the fridge and a decision to make over what to bake for the weekly charity cake sale at work last week, so I eventually settled on experimenting with some raspberry and blueberry muffins using a much-loved recipe for triple chocolate chunk muffins.

Raspberry and blueberry muffin mix

Raspberry and blueberry muffin mix

I chose this recipe as it’s a surefire winner – it uses soured cream to create a wonderfully soft texture and is really easy to whip up. I pretty much just replaced the chocolate with the berries and added more sugar to compensate for the lack of white/milk chocolate.

Raspberry and blueberry muffinsThe muffins came out wonderfully considering it was an experiment – fruity, sweet and beautifully soft. The one problem is that any leftover muffins go soft very quickly due to the moisture in the cooked fruit, so make sure you eat them all within a day!

I made some savoury courgette and mozzarella muffins to sell too, but (somewhat predictably) the sweet muffins were more popular than the savoury!

Raspberry and blueberry muffins and courgette and mozzarella muffins

Raspberry and blueberry muffins (left) and courgette and mozzarella muffins (right)

The recipe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g raspberries
  • 100g blueberries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 284ml soured cream
  • 170g light muscovado sugar
  • 85g melted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Butter a 12-hole muffin tin or line with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and fruit.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, soured cream, butter and sugar.
  4. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir until just combined and the mixture is fairly stiff, but avoid overmixing.
  5. Spoon the mix into the muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes until well risen.
  6. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing and cooling the muffins on a wire rack.

First bake: banana, rum and raisin loaf

Banana, rum and raisin loafThere have have been a few more bananas going uneaten and therefore in a perfectly ripe state for baking with at work recently, so I took it upon myself to take some home and turn them into a piece of baked deliciousness a couple of weeks ago. The result was this rather sumptuous banana, rum and raisin loaf, which I sort of invented from this recipe.

Generally, it’s ideal to soak dried fruit overnight to make sure they properly soak up the flavours of the liquid. However, I only had time to soak the raisins in the rum for about half an hour! I don’t do very well at following soaking instructions (remember my rum and raisin biscuits?) but I usually manage to wing it as I can still taste the booze!

Banana, rum and raisin loaf mix

Banana, rum and raisin loaf mix

The rest of the loaf was very easy to make. I added a splash of rum to the mix (as I had some rum left over from soaking the raisins) but I’m not sure how much of a difference this made! However, the resulting loaf was lovely – soft, fruity and very definitely tasting of rum.

I would recommend this recipe if you have bananas to use up but would like to make something a little more grown-up than standard banana bread. The great thing is I couldn’t very well tip the leftover rum back into the bottle, so I mixed it with some ginger beer and lime juice for a refreshing drink. Waste not, want not!

Banana, rum and raisin loafThe recipe

Makes 10 slices

  • 140g butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 50g raisins
  • About 40-50ml rum (I used Captain Morgan’s Spiced)
  1. Soak the raisins in the rum in a covered bowl for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight. Drain and reserve the rum.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line the base and sides of a 2lb loaf tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, adding a splash of leftover rum if you want, then slowly add the eggs with a little flour. Fold in the remaining flour, raisins, baking powder and bananas.
  4. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean. Mix yourself a nice drink with the leftover rum while you wait. Cool the loaf in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

First bake: cherry and chocolate oat squares

Cherry oat squaresWell, hello there – long time no see! I’ve been on a slight blogging hiatus for a number of reasons, but mainly because I simply haven’t been baking! However, I did manage to get myself out of my slump last weekend with these cherry and chocolate oat squares – which look a lot like flapjacks, to be honest.

I chose to bake these because my guinea pig boyfriend is away for the summer with work, and I wanted to send him a care package including some homemade baked goodies. I settled on something flapjacky as I thought it would be sturdy enough to withstand the perils of travelling by Royal Mail, and just so happened to have a load of glace cherries in the cupboard.

The squares were very easy to make – mix together the dry and wet ingredients separately, fling them together then throw it all into a tin and bake, before drizzling with melted dark chocolate. However, I’ve never really baked with oats before, apart from when I had my first go at parkin last year.

So it was rather ‘interesting’ when I opened the oven at the end of the baking time for these squares only to be faced with a sloppy porridgy mess! However, leaving them in the oven for longer solved that problem – phew!

Cherry oat squaresThe squares are ready to eat when completely cooled (although I found the chocolate hadn’t really set by this point, resulting in some sticky fingers). I made these last weekend and still have 1 left (!) but they’ve gone down very well – at my end, anyway, as my boyfriend hadn’t yet got to his parcel at the time of writing!

The cherry and chocolate complement each other very well, and the oats make the squares really satisfying. If you’re a keen WeightWatchers member like I am (one reason why I haven’t been baking much recently), the squares are a pretty reasonable 6 ProPoints each.

I would think the recipe is easily adaptable – I might try these with coconut added to the mix or with raisins or dried mango in place of the cherries in future. Overall, though, they’re delicious enough!

Cherry oat squaresThe recipe

On the BBC Good Food website here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2198643/cherry-oat-squares-with-chocolate-drizzle