After dealing with some health issues at the end of last year, I decided to take a step back and simplify my life. The important things had to come first. I needed time and space to look after my little family. And as the carer of that family I also had to take care of me! So for the last few months I’ve been taking time out from the blog. Putting back in after a hectic year writing both for here and for High Tea Cast.
For the first month I didn’t bake at all (there may have been a tiny exception for someone’s birthday). It felt good and I think we all benefited from the reduction in sugar. But then as time went on I could no longer resist. The wee one loves it and I really want to teach her the skills. So while continuing to bake sweet treats for the occasional birthday I have been trying to make my “everyday” bakes more nourishing.
I rarely bake the same cake twice but after trying the banana cinnamon cake from Love Bake Nourish: Healthier cakes, bakes and puddings full of fruit and flavour with my trusty sidekick I knew I would be back. It is delicious. Despite using wholegrain flour which can often be heavy and dry this is light and moist. Not to mention the flavour. Plump sultanas soaked in earl grey tea add an extra flavour dimension to the banana and cinnamon. So basically this is my new favourite cake and I may be making it a lot.
Although I intend to bring you more delicious muffin recipes at some point, I am still in need of some care and attention myself as well as trying to get my head around a low cobalt diet. So please be patient with me and in the meantime I’d highly recommend Love Bake Nourish.
Sometimes even when you’re trying to be healthy you just need chocolate cake.
Apologies for the silence and lack of muffin last Monday. My excuse is that I was on holiday. That’s right I actually had some proper time out and a complete rest and I’m feeling a whole lot better for it. The holiday was partly to celebrate a birthday so I will have a birthday cake to share with you soon but my week has been muffin free…well almost…
Even although our holiday destination was only a 30 minute drive from home we still had a stop off on the way. We managed a little bit of creativity and a bite to eat including this blueberry cheesecake muffin. It had been heated in the microwave for just a few seconds which left the centre deliciously gooey. I may just have to recreate this effect in a muffin at some point soon.
It wouldn’t be Monday without a muffin even if it is rather late in the day.
Winter has arrived with a vengeance lately. None of us wanted to get out of bed this morning to face the cold icy day but alas it had to be done. It was the idea of baking a carrot cake muffin that made me climb out from under the duvet. Cheerfully orange and spicy these didn’t disappoint. They were a perfect treat for the wee one just don’t mention the hidden veg!
The only thing I would do to improve them is to use wholemeal or spelt instead of rice flour. That said they do make a delicious gluten free treat.
Continue reading Carrot cake muffin
I hope you’ve got your Christmas cake made by now to give it enough time to soak up all the brandy and be delicious and moist for the big day. If you’ve not had a chance have a look at High Tea Cast for my recipe – Making the Christmas Cake – Part 1 – as well as a few other ideas if like me you’re not feeling very organised this year.
I confess I’ve had my copy of Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth: Recipes and Tips from a Modern Artisan Bakery for quite a while now but have yet to make anything substantial from it. That’s definitely not to say that I don’t like the book. Quite the opposite. It’s a great resource for all bakers, new and experienced. The descriptions of the types of ingredients i.e. different flours and sugars are a valuable resource along with lists of useful tools. Each basic recipe provides variations for readers showing that one simple cake can be made in so many ways. It in no way suggests that this list is complete but rather provides a spring board for inspiration.
My bucket list has grown enormously just by looking through it. Given my current little pause in baking I’ve had time to reflect. A note of my must makes seemed like a good idea and where better to make my list but on here. So when I have time I would like to make the following (in no particular order):
- Apple and rosemary olive oil cake
- Chocolate avocado cake
- Pear, parsnip and ginger cake
- Hazelnut and pineapple upside-down cake
- Spiced apple custard tarts
- Wholegrain spelt scones
I’m going to be one very busy lady and this doesn’t even include all the added extras at the back of the book like pecan brittle and honeycomb.
Cardamom is an underused spice in my repertoire. Since I discovered it as a flavour I’ve been incorporating it into many recipes in ground form. But that can be fiddly so when I spotted cardamom essence in my local deli I knew I’d found an easier way to explore. When asked about my plan for it I couldn’t give a definitive answer because of the many ideas running through my head. So be warned it’s bound to appear again and then who knows which flavour essence will be next.
Beetroot is considered a safe food when eating the eczema diet. Although my initial enthusiasm for the diet has worn off as being too immediately restrictive to my circumstances, I am attempting to eat and learn more about the safe ingredients. I’m thinking baby steps.
Personally I really enjoyed the great big chunks of beetroot in these muffins but I think I was alone. Grating would perhaps hide the vegetable better for its lesser fans. The red contrasts beautifully against the stark white of the cardamom flavoured icing which gives an extra warmth to the already earthy beetroot.
Beetroot muffins with cardamom drizzle
- 3 beetroot bulbs, peeled and chopped or grated
- 30g cocoa powder
- 60ml hot water
- 200g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125ml rice milk
- 60ml rice bran oil
- 225g (1 1/2 cups) spelt flour, sifted
- Icing sugar
- cardamom essence
Chop the beetroot into chunks (or grate). Add the hot water to the cocoa powder to make a smooth paste. Beat in the sugar and eggs. Then add in the beetroot.
Mix together the milk and oil in a jug and then alternate adding half the flour and then half the oil/milk to the beetroot mixture.
Divide into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25 mins at 200C. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.
Prepare the icing by mixing together a little icing sugar with a drop of essence and making up to quite a runny paste with water. Drizzle the icing on however you like.