First bake: honey and coconut lamingtons

Honey and coconut lamingtonsI’ve been using WeightWatchers online on and off for the last three years or so, losing over 2 stone in the process – but with still a few more pounds to go until I hit my target weight. The last few months have definitely been an ‘off’ period thanks to the upheaval of moving and an incredibly busy time at work, but I’m now determined to get back ‘on’ again!

It was with that in mind that I bought the July issue of WW magazine and immediately mentally bookmarked a recipe for honey and coconut lamingtons to bake as soon as possible.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with WW baking recipes. On the one hand, they seem so promising – what’s not to like about a low-fat, low-sugar cake that you can enjoy without feeling guilty?

However, the low fat and low sugar means the end product generally isn’t as satisfying as the real deal, especially for someone who bakes as often as I do. This means that I have, on occasion, turned promising-looking WW recipes into more guilt-inducing versions by swapping some ingredients for unhealthier but nicer ones.

I was actually forced to do that with this recipe due to not having a couple of the ingredients specified – namely, some WW-brand coconut yogurt and something dubious-sounding called ‘half sugar’. I swapped these out for full-fat coconut yogurt and golden caster sugar.

Honey and coconut lamingtons

Sponge squares, pre-embellishments

If you’ve never heard of them before, lamingtons are a popular cake in Australia/New Zealand and are basically sponge squares dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. They do know how to tick all the right boxes, those folk down under. This WW recipe replaces the chocolate with a honey syrup and does away with butter in the sponge to keep the fat levels low.Honey and coconut lamingtonsThe cake itself went without a hitch and rose beautifully. I had some trouble with the honey syrup as it seemed to take an age to reduce down into an actual syrup – I eventually had to take it off the heat before it properly thickened because there wouldn’t have been any left if I’d left it simmering for much longer! However, I did manage to create some sort of sticky sauce so all was not lost.

Honey and coconut lamingtonsRolling the cakes in the coconut was extremely fun, although slightly frustrating as I couldn’t coat them as completely as I would have liked!

Honey and coconut lamingtonsThe end result? Extremely coconutty overall! Which is fine by me and my coconut-loving ways, but I’m slightly disappointed that the honey flavour isn’t as strong. Still, the cake itself is nice considering there’s hardly any fat in it, and as one of these is equivalent to half a slice of full-fat cake, I feel perfectly able to go ‘ooh, just one more’ without experiencing any pangs of guilt!

The recipe

From WeightWatchers magazine.

Makes 16 with a ProPoints value of 4 each if you follow my method (if you follow the original recipe and cut it into 15 as specified, it’s still 4PP each!)

  • 4 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g coconut yogurt (I used Asda’s own; the original recipe calls for a pot of WW coconut yogurt)
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g dessicated coconut

For the syrup:

  • 100g clear honey
  • 25g golden caster sugar (original recipe uses half sugar)
  • 175ml cold water
  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180C/fan 160C. Line an 18cm square tin (I used a 20cm tin) with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk the eggs until pale, creamy and thick. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thicker and creamier.
  3. Stir in the yogurt and sift in the self-raising flour, cornflour and baking powder, folding these into the mixture until well-combined.
  4. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 30 mins until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Leave the cake in the tin for 5 mins, then remove and cut into 16 and leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the syrup.
  5. Warm the honey, golden caster sugar and cold water until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and leave at a vigorous simmer for 6-7 minutes (you might need longer) until the mixture has reduced by half and is thick and syrupy. Cool for a few minutes before using.
  6. Spread the coconut on a plate. Dip each cake square in the syrup, coating all sides, then roll in the coconut. Repeat for the other cakes and store in an airtight tin. The lamingtons will keep for up to 3 days.
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First bake: blackberry muffins

Blackberry muffins

Here’s a rather shamefaced confession for this particular baker to make: I’ve re-joined WeightWatchers in an attempt to shed the pounds that have crept on ever since I moved back home to be faced by my mum’s awesome curries night after night. Don’t worry (if, indeed, you are worried) – I will keep baking lots of bad-for-you delights, although I won’t “test” as much as I used to. I’m making a small concession this time round, though, by trying a WW recipe to help get me on the right track.

I’ve actually had quite a good experience with WW baking recipes in the past (but not so much with their rank veggie lasagne and some sort of low-fat cheesy pasta that, quite rarely for my dustbin of a family, was unanimously voted The Most Disgusting Thing Ever). I actually prefer WW’s gingerbread to a richer version I’ve also made, and there are also some good cookie recipes. This muffin recipe caught my eye because they’re only 4 ProPoints each, and also because I very rarely bake with blueberries, for some reason.

Unfortunately, my local supermarket didn’t have any blueberries, so I settled for some blackberries instead, which again I don’t bake with very often. I followed the rest of the recipe to the letter, even going so far as to buy skimmed milk, which I would normally denounce as milk-coloured water.

Blackberry muffin mix

Blackberry muffin mix

The muffins were really easy to make, although I felt a little under pressure by the recipe demanding that I spoon the mix into the tin “quickly”. I’m very slow at transferring muffin mix to paper cases, because I’m obsessed with making sure each case has an equal amount of mix (funnily enough, the muffins always end up being different sizes anyway).

As you can see from the pictures, the muffins were well browned by the time 20 minutes was up. The blackberries held their shape pretty well, although as my brother found out to his dismay, they went soft enough to unexpectedly fall out of the muffins when broken in half!

Blackberry muffins

The muffins are, rather surprisingly, pretty tasty. I did complain that they weren’t particularly sweet on my first bite, but then I got some juicy blackberries and all was right with the world again. The texture is very light, which is to be expected when using margarine, yogurt and skimmed milk in place of good ol’ butter, but not in an unpleasant way – far from it, in fact.

All in all, I really like these muffins and would make them again, hopefully with blueberries next time just to see what they’re like with them in. I would recommend these if you too are trying to get rid of some excess weight, but can’t do without cakey delights altogether!

Blackberry muffins

The recipe

Find it on the WeightWatchers site here: http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/food/rcp/index.aspx?recipeid=7007752