Blueberry muffins

Nothing beats a blueberry muffin for an on-the-go breakfast or a quick and tasty snack.

Blueberry muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) macadamia oil (or your preferred nut/seed oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 1 1/3 cups (200 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp extra sugar for muffin tops, to decorate (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190° C. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Fill any empty muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of water to ensure the muffins bake evenly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt with the 3/4 cup of sugar until evenly combined.
  3. Add the oil and the egg to a 500 ml measuring jug. Fill the jug with milk only until it reaches the 1 cup line marking. Add vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  4. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, then stir with a fork until just combined.
  5. Use a spatula to gently fold the blueberries into the mixture.
  6. Divide the muffin mixture between the 10 muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle a little of the extra sugar on each of the muffin tops (for a little crunch).
  7. Bake blueberry muffins for 10 minutes, then test with a skewer inserted into one of the muffins. The skewer should come out clean or crumb-covered, not sticky. If the tops are cooked but the insides are not, cover the muffin pan with foil (being careful not to burn yourself!) and return it to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.
  8. Turn muffins out onto to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

Tip:  These muffins can be frozen in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Blueberry muffins

Mini hamburger cupcakes

Mini hamburger cupcakes

For these cupcakes I like to use mini whoopie pie tins as they are the perfect shape for burger buns and beef patties. For larger cakes you could use regular whoopie pie tins.

Ingredients for the burger buns (vanilla butter cake):

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 55ml (2/3 cup) milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • Butter for greasing

Ingredients for the beef patties (chocolate cake):

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 75g butter, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • Butter for greasing

Ingredients (for decoration):

  • 6 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • Red, yellow and green food colouring
  • Sheet of yellow fondant
  • Sesame seeds

Method for the burger buns (vanilla butter cake):

  1. Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease the whoopie pie tins.
  3. Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix on low speed with an electric beater for 30 seconds or until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is thick and the butter is combined.
  5. Using a spoon or a piping bag, drop small amounts into each of the whoopie pie sections. Spread if necessary so the filling fills the space and is slightly hollow/sunken.
  6. Bake until the little cakes are just golden (approx. 5 minutes).
  7. Remove from oven and turn the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

Method for the beef patties (chocolate cake):

  1. Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease the whoopie pie tins.
  3. Combine sugar, butter, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 2 minutes or until mixture doubles. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Add flour and eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until pale and smooth.
  5. Using a spoon or a piping bag, drop small amounts into each of the whoopie pie sections (make half as many chocolate cakes as you did vanilla). Spread if necessary so the filling fills the space and is slightly hollow/sunken.
  6. Bake until the little cakes have risen slightly (approx. 5 minutes).
  7. Remove from oven and turn the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

Method (to assemble the burger and decorate):

  1. Mix 2 cups of the sifted icing sugar with just enough water to make a thick icing. You want a dark bright green colour, so add at least 6 drops of green food colouring. Add more if necessary, until you have reached a ‘lettuce’ colour.
  2. Use a ruffle, basket-weave or specialty tip when piping the lettuce. Fill the piping bag with the icing, take half the cooled vanilla whoopie pies, and ice them just around the edge using jagged motions to achieve the ruffled edge appearance of lettuce. After each one, while the icing is still wet, quickly add one of the chocolate whoopie pies on top to sandwich the ‘lettuce’ between the ‘bun’ and the ‘beef patty’.
  3. Get the yellow sheet of fondant and cut out tiny right-angled triangles, to make four points of ‘cheese’. On four sides of the chocolate whoopie pie, add a drop of green icing (to serve as glue) and stick one of the fondant triangles to each drop (right-angle corner point out).
  4. Mix 2 cups of the sifted icing sugar with just enough water to make a thick icing. You want a bright yellow colour, so add at least 3 drops of yellow food colouring. Add more if necessary, until you have reached a yellow colour similar to the fondant.
  5. Using a clean piping bag with round tip, filled with the yellow icing, join the four yellow triangles to complete the ‘cheese’ square.
  6. Mix 2 cups of the sifted icing sugar with just enough water to make a thick icing. You want a bright red colour, so add at least 4 drops of red food colouring. Add more if necessary, until you have reached a vibrant ‘tomato’ colour.
  7. Using another clean piping bag with a round tip, pipe the red icing between the yellow points to look like tomato slices. It doesn’t matter if the icing dribbles a little bit (it will look like tomato sauce), as long as you cover any consistencies with the yellow fondant and icing that may be visible after the top ‘bun’ is added.
  8. After each one, while the icing is still wet, quickly add the final vanilla whoopie pies on top to sandwich the ‘cheese’ and ‘tomato’ between the ‘beef patty’ and the ‘bun’.
  9. Take a small amount of sesame seeds, and press them onto the top of each bun.

Here is a diagram to help you assemble the cupcakes:

Assembling the hamburger cupcakes

Voilà! Beautiful mini hamburger cupcakes!

Caramel mud cake

This caramel mud cake is rich, dense and delicious. If you love caramel, then this cake is for you!

Caramel mud cake Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 225g brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs, beaten lightly (use only 2 eggs for a denser cake)

Ingredients (caramel frosting):

  • 185g butter, chopped
  • 1.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100ml) milk
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

Ingredients (chocolate ganache):

  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 tabs double cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to slow. Grease 22cm-round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper, extending paper 5cm above edge of pan.
  2. Combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and water in medium saucepan; stir over low heat until mixture is smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl; cool 15 minutes. Whisk in both flours, then essence and eggs.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan; bake in a slow oven for about 1 hour (see tip below). Stand in pan 10 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool.
  4. Place cake, top side up, on serving plate; allow to cool.
  5. Slice cake in half sideways to form a base and a lid.  Spread the base with a third of the caramel frosting; cover with the top half of the cake. Spread the remaining frosting over the the cake.

Method (caramel frosting):

  1. Melt butter in small saucepan.
  2. Stir in brown sugar and milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat then simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Gradually stir in icing sugar until frosting is of spreadable consistency.

Method (chocolate ganache):

  1. Place dark chocolate and double cream in a small microwavable bowl.
  2. Heat on high for 15 second intervals, checking if the chocolate can be stirred.
  3. Once, the chocolate has melted enough to stir, stir until it is a smooth and shiny consistency.
  4. Allow the ganache to cool slightly, then place it in a piping bag. Using the piping bag, add a dot of ganache to the middle of the cake, then draw rings around it (like a target). Then, using a skewer, draw alternating lines back and forth through the rings to create a chevron appearance.

Tip:  If the cake starts to rise above the tin but is not quite cooked, cover it loosely with foil.

(photo credit: afeitar via photopin cc)