August 08, 2010

fresh peach and blackberry muffins

Following on from my foray with the summer berries and loaf cake, I'm continuing with a bit of a Summer theme.....this time with peach and blackberry muffins. It's not quite blackberry season yet so I did 'cheat' a bit and used frozen blackberries, and they turned out just fine!

...slightly crunchy on top, very fluffy inside and not too sweet, with mouthfuls of fruit that burst through the soft sugary vanilla cakiness.....

I've been searching for some good muffin recipes lately, and this one Strawberry Muffins was one I came across on the Australian website I did tweak it a bit, just because I can't leave anything alone!!

So, here's my version of the recipe - with tweaks - although, as you can see from the comments on the original recipe, this is a very forgiving mixture so you can be inspired to add 'tweaks' of your own! Happy baking!

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Muffins
Recipe (by Alfie)
400g self-raising flour
175g unrefined caster sugar
250g mixed peaches (cut into small chunks) and blackberries
2 eggs
300mls buttermilk
80g melted butter
3 tsps good vanilla extract

set oven to 190 / Gas 5 and put your prettiest muffin cases in to a 12 hole muffin tin

mix together all of the dry ingredients, and then stir in the fruit

mix together all of the wet ingredients

quickly add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix lightly until it just comes together - it's important not too over- mix if you want light fluffy muffins!

fill muffin cases almost to the top and then bake in the centre of the oven until they are golden and firm to the touch - about 30-35 minutes

leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes just to allow them to firm up a little, and then cool on a cooling rack

perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast, tea-time treat - or just because!.....

August 02, 2010

summer berry and vanilla loaf cake

You know, I think that (well, for me anyway!), the answer to everything is cake! ....Every challenge, every problem is always soothed by the therapeutic alchemy of mixing up lots of sweet, fragrant goodies to a glossy goo, putting it into the oven, and ending up with this wonderful transformation into something beautiful, with the added bonus of filling the house with the evocative and comforting smell of vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, or, in this case, blackberries!.........

I have decided that I don't cook enough cake!

That may sound a little strange seeing as I am always making cupcakes, and, much as I love making those little cuties, whilst looking through all my cuttings and books for inspiration for new flavours I realised that I had so many cake recipes that I wanted to try out. So, that's just what I'm going to do; work my way through all of my cuttings, folders, and books, of all the cake recipes I have wanted to make, but just never quite got around to.......starting with this loaf cake. I feel I must say, in defence of loaf cake, that although it may not sound all that inspiring, it delivers good, down to earth scrumptiousness with no fuss or frills, just good honest comfort food!

This recipe is really just an amalgamation of several that I've had book-marked for ages, and it produced a wonderfully fragrant slab of fruity indulgence - thanks to the delicate perfume of the blackberries and raspberries and the warm vanilla, and the addition,(just because I couldn't resist it!) of drizzly pink icing and fresh fruits on the top. In fact, in the end it tasted more like a pudding than a cake, reminiscent of warm blackberry crumble!

Summer Berry and Vanilla Loaf Cake
Recipe (by Alfie)
125g caster sugar (vanilla sugar is good if you have some)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
80g butter, melted
60mls natural yoghurt
300g self-raising flour
250g of mixed summer berries (fresh, or frozen)

Set oven to 180 C or Gas 4 and grease a standard loaf tin - you can also line it if you want, although with a non-stick loaf tin you probably won't need to

Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy, and then pour in the melted butter and yoghurt

Combine dry ingredients together and then toss in the fruit to coat with the flour. If you are using frozen fruit there is no need to thaw it first as it will go a bit too mushy

Add the wet ingredients to the flour and fruit and gently mix until it just comes together. Don't be tempted to over-mix, it will look a little lumpy, but that's fine

Then, just put the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for around 50 mins to 1 hour - until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean - and let the magic happen!

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins and then when the cake is completely cool, ice with a little icing sugar mixed with some fruit puree. Or just leave it plain for a more 'rustic' look

Served warm, this also makes a very yummy pud with ice-cream or thick double cream!

I was going to show you a photo - but it didn't last that long!!