Archive for the ‘Muffins/ Cup Cakes/ Fairy Cakes’ Category

I have not been baking for a while. It’s at the back of my mind for weeks on end. If there was a ~ quick and scrummy ~ cake I’d bake, then it has got to be that almost effortless and idiot-proof Banana Loaf Cake. Ha ha ha …

I’m glad my boys share the same sentiment as I do.

3 weeks ago (or probably longer..) I bought a nice-looking bunch of Chiquita bananas in the hope of ripening some of them for my Banana Loaf Cake. I needed only 3 bananas, so we ate the rest of the bananas. 


 

While the 3 bananas were dangling on the banana hook to be ripened, my poor guys tried to brush their temptation away. With the cold weather outside, it’s warm inside the house with the heating on. And the result? 3 completely blackened and over-riped bananas with some mouldy white spots after more than 2 weeks of ‘crucifixion’. OH * MY * GOD!!


  

“What are you going to do with those bananas? To ‘hatch’ more black bananas?“My hubby asked (with a hint of sarcasm)

LOL!

There go the bananas … in the bin“, he said, pointing to the dustbin.

I replied with a classic feedback cheekily, “I’ll make Banana Cake*grinning with guilt big time*

Erm… by the way, did I use the ultra black, over-riped and limpy and almost fermented bananas in my cake? 

Uh-uh! Don’t think so … I needed ripe bananas but they were way, way too ripe! So I bought a new batch of bananas and made sure they ripened within a visually correct duration of time. Ha ha …

Here were the bananas that went in my Banana Loaf Cake I baked last night.


Not Once But Many A Time … And The FIRST Time, Though!

The first tutorial I’ve watched on YouTube in making a Banana Bread was the demo by Stephanie Jaworski of JoyOfBaking.com and I have baked Banana Bread or Cake as well as muffins many times since. It’s the easiest cake to bake. And I have done several tweaks and modifications to suit my family’s palates and they usually turned out great, me thinks …

Last night, however, was the first time I baked the Cake with the help of the Thermomix.

Here’s how I did it, by combining recipes of a cake and a muffin.

Sorry for the bad photos as the only lighting I had was my kitchen tungsten halogen lamps. No natural (sun)light. I did say I baked the cake last night, didn’t I? *wink*

Banana Bread or Banana Cake? It looked like Bread but it tasted like Cake, so I called it Banana Loaf Cake! It was super yummy and moist. I kid you not…


Ingredient A

  •  240 g ripe bananas

Ingredients B

  • 125 g butter
  • 110 g cassonade light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vahiné natural vanilla powder

Ingredient C

  • ca 120 g eggs

Ingredient D

  • 60 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Ingredients E (dry ingredients)

  • 255 g APF
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • A pinch of sea salt

Steps 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  • Place A in TM bowl and blitz the bananas for 40 sec/ sp 5 until they form a creamy consistency. Set the mashed bananas aside in a separate bowl.

  • Add B and mix for 3 mins/ sp 5. Scrape down the sides of the inner bowl and continue mixing for another minute to form a light and creamy consistency. 
  • Add C one at a time. Beat for 10 sec/ sp 5 per egg. 
  • Add A and D to combine for 45 sec/ sp 5


  • Add E by weighing the dry ingredients, then tip the mixture into a clean bowl.  Fold in manually with a spatula until the mixture is combined.

  • Scoop the mixture into a greased loaf tin/ pan. Bake for 55 mins in a pre-heated oven. The cake is baked through if a skewer pricked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.



My Verdict?

I LURVE the smell of freshly-baked cakes and pastries, although I am not a sweet-tooth person. The smell that floated in my kitchen last night was heavenly. My boys were upstairs when I baked the Banana Loaf Cake and they could immediately smell baked bananas when they walked in the kitchen 🙂

While leaving the cake to cool on a wire rack, I just had to cut a generous slice of the cake (while still a bit warm). It was too tempting for me to let it sit until it’s cooled completely. And by the way, I’m a crust person, so the slice with the crusted end was mine! It may have appeared to look like it’s on the hard side but, surprisingly, tasting is believing and seeing is deceiving; it was actually quite soft and moist (crust et al).   I’m glad I added Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You could add Maple Syrup or Honey. The syrup gave the cake a nice tan colour and made it moistier and ‘stickier’ with a caramelised flavour. I left the Cake on the kitchen table overnight and had a slice for breakfast this morning. The softness and moistness of the cake remained.  Before I left for work, I placed the cake in the fridge. When I got home, I thought the cake would harden while being refrigerated, but no, it remained as soft and fresh. You know what?  This is by far, my favourite Banana Loaf Cake recipe sans nuts.  The next time, I will add some walnuts from my garden!
Have a great week!

Cheers!

“Funny when we‘re not there, they miss us. When we are there, they kinda close their eyes and pretend or think we are invisible.  When we are eventually there and as time goes by, we age quite rapidly. We actually black-out quite easily, too”.

Now, who or what are “we“, and please be specific, I asked my 2 boys.

A cat?

Nope! I wondered why a cat…

Light (bulb)?

Nope!

Fruit?

Erm…Nope!

Boys: Okay, we give up, Mum!

Mum: Well, it’s none other than those sweet yellow curvy thingy called Bananas, my boys… LOL!

Both my sons re-read the riddle that I invented and slowly nodded their heads with approval.

Boys: Yeah, you’re right Mum. No wonder you spared the lives of the bananas from being thrased and put them to good use for the umpteenth time! *LOL*

Mum: *Grin*

Banana Makeover!

I had 3 ripe bananas in my kitchen, dangling from the banana hanger, screaming out for a complete makeover! Actually, I had a few things in my mind with those bananas.

Initially, I was thinking of making banana fritters. It has been a long time since I had my last banana fritter in Kuching back in 2008!  After looking at all angles, I scrapped the idea of making banana fritters as they consumed too much cooking oil for frying and furthermore, I don’t own a fryolater.

Then I was thinking of baking a banana bread or cake. Nah! I’ve baked too many banana cakes already and have posted my downfalls and victories in these posts here, here,  here and here.

And then, I was toying with the idea of making banana chiffon cake. Not too long ago, a colleague brought his home-baked banana chiffon cake to work and shared a few wedges with me. Boy…I was bowled over! Simply scrummy, that I finally bought myself a chiffon cake pan! Did I bake a chiffon cake? Nah! Not now. That’ll come, for sure 😉

By the way, since it was Father’s Day recently, I thought of making something small with some extra goodness, and here’s the result! These little gems required no electric stand mixer. Only my working hand, a fork, a rubber spatula and 2 bowls (one big and one medium-sized), plus of course the measuring cups and spoons and the ingredients!

I have adapted the recipe from JoyOfBaking.com, which I have posted here, by including a few of my own touches.

Instead of using granulated white sugar, I opted for 1 Cup of soft light brown sugar (Cassonade Graeffe) and 1/2 tsp baking soda iso 1/4 tsp. I added 1 Tbsp caramel sauce as brown sugars are less sweet than the white granulated ones. To make the muffins a bit more special, I added 3/4 Cup Country Crisp with crunchy Chunky Nuts (wholegrain cereals, oat and barley flakes, dessiccated coconut, flaked almonds, chopped nuts – Brazil, pecan and roasted hazelnuts) and 1/4 Cup chopped pistachios.

The method of making Quick Bread or Banana bread is such a breeze. Mix all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix all the dry ingredients in a bigger bowl. Add the wet to the dry and the chemistry begins! Fold very lightly until all white speckles of flour are no longer visible. Do not over stir unless you want hard rock muffins!   

Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper muffin cups and fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.  Bake in the pre-heated oven at 177 deg C for a perfect muffin texture at 23 minutes! Please check your type of oven. It can be anywhere between 20 – 25 deg C. My oven usually takes the middle-of-the-road path 😉

Verdict: These muffins were a joy to bite into when still warm. They were really light and the sweet banana flavour with the warm hint of cinnamon and the goodness from the nuts and crisps came through perfectly. I must confess that the nuts were not crunchy any more but you’ll definitely know their presence as they gave a nice bite and texture to an otherwise mundane-looking muffin. My boys loved the muffins and it’s the surest way to enjoy “black-out” bananas! And by the way, the muffins tasted absolutely divine the day after. Perfect in my dessert box 😉

These were simple muffins but made with love and packed with extra goodness. I’m quite certain they will make a nice treat over at Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage and co-hosted by Jane from The Hedgecombers with the June theme “Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes

 

 
I’m also linking this post to Tasty Tuesdays hosted by HonestMum  

Before this week ends, I’m linking up to #Recipe of the Week 20-26 June hosted by A Mummy Too

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Cheers!

I was trying to clear my kitchen cupboard, stuffed with loads of this and that! Gosh, it was like un-veiling a treasure chest that has not been opened since time immemorial! 

Deep inside the cupboard somewhere were a few un-touched, un-opened packets of God knows what – cake flour, pizza flour, cornflakes…. hmmm… I’m feeling really embarrassed now *blushing*

Oh-oh… and more “skeletons” kept appearing…tortilla wraps, spring roll wraps and there… tucked in the corner, was a brand new, virgin packet of Betty Crocker’s Cinnamon Streusel – Muffin & Quick Bread Mix! I hadn’t the slightest inkling when I bought it. Definitely, not this year! The first thing I did was searching for the expiry date, labelled somewhere on Ms Crocker’s Muffin pre-mix. Okay, got it! 12th July 2015.

Phew!

BUT, who or what is Betty Crocker?

By the way, not many people know that Betty Crocker is an iconic, fictitious character, like Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot created by Agatha Christie or James Bond, created by Ian Fleming.

Betty Crocker is actually a trademark and brand name of the American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods, General Mills, Inc. According to sources, the name “Betty” was selected because it was viewed as a cheery, friendly-sounding, all-American name. Betty’s surname, Crocker, was chosen in honour of the popular director, William Crocker of Washburn Crosby Company, the largest predecessor of General Mills.

And what the heck is “Streusel“?

The word, “streusel” is German meaning, “something scattered or sprinkled”. It is similar to the English verb “strew”, however, in the world of baking and pastry, streusel is just another glamourous word for the crumbly topping on breads, muffins, pies and cakes. The ingredients used in making the crumble topping or “streusel” are flour, butter and sugar, identical to the crumbly toppings of a basic Apple crumble pie!

The Science of Baking

With a net weight of 394g, Betty Crocker’s Cinnamon Streusel – Muffin & Quick Bread Mix comes with one packet of pre-mix flour base and another smaller packet of the crumbly topping mix or streusel. Baking is science. It’s all in the chemistry. Baking, unlike cooking, requires carefully balanced formulas. Tweakings are out of the question! The 2 dry ingredients I got out from the box of BC’s pre-mix will never ever make muffins or a quick bread on their own in a million, zillion or trillion years! Why? Because the extra leavening (eggs), moistening (water) and tenderizing (fats) ingredients were NOT included! And finally, with the missing chemistry of heat and water, the physical reactions would never take place.

What were needed were the following 

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil (I used corn oil)

I added a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder and I didn’t regret that a bit (NOTE: This was not on the instruction box)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C for 10 minutes without the muffins and then lower to 180 deg C when the baking starts (NOTE: This was not on Betty Crocker’s instruction box. This was my own because from experience, my ancient oven would have burnt the muffins if I left the oven on at 200 deg C throughout the baking process)

Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine until all the ingredients are blended together into a smooth batter. Scoop one tablespoonful of the batter into each of the 12-hole muffin pan, then sprinkle the streusel or sweet crumbly topping on each muffin.

Alas! I sprinkled too much on the first few muffins and ended up with 3 ‘naked’ muffins. What I did was sprinkle some cinnamon powder on the last 3 muffins!

With all 12 muffins feeling happy and dressed up, they were ready to go in the oven for 18 minutes.

Et voilà! 

I was surprised by the feather-like texture of the muffins, be they fresh out of the oven or kept overnight. Of course the muffins did not last for more than 24 hours!

They were scrumptious with a cup of tea or coffee. Perfect for high tea, breakfast and for picnics.
       

I’m sharing these muffins over at Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage and co-hosted by Jane from  The Hedgecombers with the June theme “Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes

  
I’m also linking this post to #CookBlogShare17 hosted by Lucy of  Supergolden Bakes

 

Without fresh eggs and the other extra wet ingredients, these BC’s muffins would never have transformed into what they were supposed to be… Yes, muffins and feather-light, too! And without much ado, I’m linking this post up to Belleau Kitchen’s Simply Eggcellent #4 with the June’s theme, “Anything Goes“.

 

 

I’m also linking up to Tasty Tuesdays hosted by HonestMum

 
Happy Saturday!

Blessed Sunday!
Cheers! 

 I named these egg muffins, “Margherita” following the legend of the famous Pizza Margherita. If you don’t already know, the pizza was so named after Princess Margherita of Savoy, the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy during the reign of her first cousin and husband, King Umberto I (1878 – 1900). Legend has it that out of the three pizzas created by “modern” pizza-maker Raffaele Esposito and his wife of the then Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi in the Nineteenth Century in Naples, the Queen’s favourite pizza resembled the colours of the Italian flag – green (fresh basil), white (mozzarella) and red (tomato). According to Wikepedia, Esposito’s restaurant still exists, although the name has been changed to Pizzeria Brandi.

Oh, you Poor Posh…!

Now that we know the legend of Pizza “Queen” Margherita, which may sound rather posh, however, the ingredients used are nothing near to royalty. First of all, pizzas are oven-baked flatbreads without any toppings, were a staple of the peasants. That’s right… they were known as the dish for the poor people once-upon-a-time! And by the way, the three main ingredients topped on a pizza Margherita are commonly found in Italy and almost everywhere in Europe.

Holy Trinity               Without a doubt, a posthumous credit is due to Raffaele Esposito for creating the most amazing ‘holy trinity’ in both colours and flavours of Italy on the plate and on the palate. So simple ingredients and yet so exquisite in taste.      

Here’s my version of the not-so-posh “Margherita” egg muffin. The real Queen did not taste it but the kitchen “Queen” in Belgium made 9 muffins in 30 minutes flat (including prepping and baking). I’m quite certain the real Queen would have given her royal thumb UP if only she had tasted these delectable savoury little spongy discs 🙂

The Sky’s the Limit

What I LURVE about this recipe is that you can go crazy with your ingredients – a little or more of this or that. It’s insanely endless! The sky’s the limit! 

For this post, I used fresh basil, fresh cherry tomatoes, grated old Italian cheese (or Parmesan cheese), light cream (20% less fat for daily use from Campina), a pinch of fleur de sel, freshly milled black pepper and of course EGGS!!!

Note I did not measure my ingredients. I guesstimated and eyeballed, which portrayed the real me where savoury cooking is concerned;-)

For 8 large eggs, I ended up filling 9 cavities in a 12-hole muffin pan.  

While most people would mix the dry ingredients and herbs in the beaten eggs together and then pour the batter in the muffin pan, I prefer to assemble the dry ingredients separately into each hole of the muffin pan first and then pouring the lightly seasoned wet ingredients (beaten eggs and cream) last which ensures equal proportion and distribution of the ingredients per muffin. But of course you can do however you like. Your kitchen! Your call!

Bake the little Margherita’s in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 18 minutes.  Please check your oven. 18 minutes may be too over or under for your type of oven but it’s Goldilocks test of “just right” consistency for 9 muffins in my ancient oven 🙂  
  What more can I say? 

Bellissima!

Notes: These muffins were great eaten warm as well as cold. I refrigerated 2 pieces and packed them in my lunchbox for work the following day and continued placing my lunchbox in the fridge at my office’s kitchenette until lunch time. Absolutely perfect! 

If you prefer to munch on warm egg muffins, just microwave them for about 30 seconds covered with absorbent paper. The muffins will remain soft as if they were freshly baked.

Enjoy!

Although I did not use chives in this recipe, I’ve used one of my favourite herbs, basil, therefore, I’m linking this post over at Lavender & Lovage’s “Wild Garlic and Chives ” May and June’s Linky Party for Cooking with Herbs.

   

This post is also  linked to Little Thumbs Up with the June 2015 theme “CREAM” organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mui Mui of my little favourite DIY and hosted by Diana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

  

I’m also linking this post to #CookBlogShare16 hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes

An egg muffin may not be the typical muffin we are used to, but muffins can be either sweet or savoury. These muffins will make a nice treat over at Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage and co-hosted by Jane from The Hedgecombers with the June theme “Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes

 

I’m also linking this somewhat eggy post over at Belleau Kitchen’s Simply Eggcellent #4. The June’s theme is “Anything Goes”… and how appropriate, me think…*wink*

 

And last but not least, I’m sharing this post over at Tasty Tuedays Live hosted by HonestMum 

  
Have a great Weekend and enjoy what’s left of the weekend…
Cheers!