Monday, November 10, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Blueberry Muffin Streusel Cake

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It's time for another Secret Recipe Club post. This is only my second month but I am totally loving it!

This month I was assigned to Anne-Marie's wonderful blog, This Mama Cooks. And boy, does she cook! She cooks up a storm. Her website is a treasure trove of wonderful recipes of all kinds. And best of all - if you have a special dietary need, she probably has something for you. Just fantastic healthy recipes, eggless recipes, low-cal weight watchers recipes, and tons of gorgeous gluten free recipes! Plus she has so many other fun lifestyle and health posts! I think I am now addicted to her blog. 

It took me a while, and I almost made something else (it was my husband's birthday yesterday and I almost made this Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Walnut Torte), but I ended up making a recipe that we all love eating around here. This is the kind of stuff that my family loves, and so I made this gorgeous muffin cake for breakfast one morning. And I was right - they loved it! I try not to make these indulgent breakfasts too often - maybe a couple of a times a month.
I didn't make too many changes in the recipe apart from substituting some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat, and reducing the sugar just a little.

Blueberry Muffin Streusel Cake
Adapted from this recipe on This Mama Cooks 
1 cup flour (I used equal parts of all purpose and whole wheat) 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil (or any neutral flavoured  oil)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen 

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour (I used equal parts of all purpose and whole wheat)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla 
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped 

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9x9x2 square baking pan and lightly dust with flour. Set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients and mix well to combine. I got a nice even mix by using my fingers. I think a food processor would work well too. Set aside. 
3. In another medium bowl, combine all the cake ingredients except the blueberries, and stir just until completely combined. You don't want any pockets of dry flour. 
4. Fold in the blueberries gently. 
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin and sprinkle the whole top of the cake with an even layer of the prepared streusel topping. 
6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
7. Serve warm. 
My favourite thing about this recipes was how easy it was to put together. No fussing about. Combine all the ingredients, mix and bake! Just loved it!

Another fabulous thing is that even though the cake and topping have very little butter/oil, it doesn't taste that way. It tastes really, really good - especially that awesome crunchy streusel topping with those amazing toasty pecans! The whole thing was polished off in a matter of hours! 
The level of sugar was just right for us but if you have a sweet tooth, you should up the sugar and use what Anne-Marie originally recommends. And while you're visiting her, make sure to check out her other fabulous recipes, and don't forget to say hello from me. Right now, apart from that gorgeous walnut torte, I also plan to try my hand at her awesome looking homemade chorizo, and this totally tempting Baked Pumpkin Chocolate French Toast with Bananas. I mean, how good does that sound?!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Check out the other fabulous SRC recipes at the link below. 
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Jaffa Cake Muffins

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I have never liked the combination of orange and chocolate. But when I saw this muffin recipe, I was intrigued by the unusual method of preparation, and the rave reviews that I read. And I just had to make them!
And hey - they're really good! The thing I liked the most is the fresh orange hit that you get from this muffin. I HATE fake orange flavoured stuff. Orange candy. Orange soda snd orange flavoured anything actually. But fresh oranges are awesome in my book. And when you read this recipe, you'll see that this is as fresh as it gets! 

Jaffa Cake Muffins
Adapted from this recipe 
1 whole orange, quartered and deseeded 
1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar 
1 tsp baking powder 
3/4 tsp baking soda 
A pinch of salt
3oz or 85g of mini dark chocolate chips 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and prepare a 12 cup muffin tray by greasing the cups or lining with paper muffin cups. 
2. In a blender jar, purée the quartered orange - peel and all, and the orange juice until completely smooth. 
3. Add the butter and the egg and blitz for about 20 seconds until smooth. Transfer this mixture into a medium sized bowl. 
4. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
5. Add this dry mixture to the purée and mix until completely combined. 
6. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. 
7. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. 
8. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched. 
9. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing and serving. 

The intense orangyness is really surprisingly good. The original recipe calls for more sugar and when I tried that I found it way too sweet for us. So the next time I made it, I cut down the sugar by a third and found it a lot better. The chocolate chips also add to the sweetness. 

These muffins aren't dense. They're very cakey and light. Honestly, I prefer a dense muffin and I even had difficult referring to this as a muffin for a while. But whatever you choose to call it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. 

If you are a fan of this orange-chocolate combination, you should totally try this recipe. And even if you're like me, and aren't a fan, you should still give it a try. You might be surprised. I was!

Until next time :) And watch out for my next Secret Recipe Club post on Monday! Cheers :)

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

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I've been making quite a lot of nice breakfast recipes lately, but just haven't been able to photograph them! 

My favorite were these yummy pistachio and cranberry scones. They were so good that even though I made a huge batch and froze them, they were gone within 4 days and then my husband complained when he realized there weren't any left over on the fifth day! That's how good they were. And I just didn't find the time to get a picture. Oh well! I'll just have to make them again. 
When I made these muffins, I just insisted on taking 10 minutes to take a few quick pictures! And I'm glad I did. We loved these muffins and I am sure you will too!

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins
Adapted from Tyler Florence's Banana Nut Muffin Recipe 
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
2 large overripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/3 cup chopped walnuts 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F and prepare 6 large or 8 regular muffin cups in your tray by either greasing them or by lining them with paper muffin cups. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and flaxseed meal. Stir together and set aside. 
3. In a medium bowl, peel and mash the bananas until fairly smooth. 
4. Add in the sugar and whisk until combined and the mixture is a little frothy. 
5. Beat in the egg, oil and vanilla and whisk to combine. 
6. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the banana mixture. 
Stir until just combined. Don't over-mix. 
7. Stir in the walnuts and fold gently till incorporated. 
8. Spoon the batter into 6 large or 8 regular muffin cups. If there are any empty muffin cups in your tray, pour a little water into each to keep them from warping. 
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until ththe tops spring back when touched gently and are lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
These muffins stay good at room temperature for a day but after that, I have like put them into the fridge or freezer. They're quite moist with the bananas and I would think they'd go back quite quickly.

These muffins are loaded with flavor. I was a little worried that they might be too sweet but they were just right! The only thing I would do different  the next time around would be to throw in some tart dried cranberries. I think they would be divine in there. Ooh ooh or maybe some chocolate chips! Chocolate is healthy too right? So that would work!
Until next time :)

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