The Newbie Cook
- 19,442 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
This is based on the banana cake recipe here, just modified to make it more moist and suitable for little cups. I love crunchy cinnamon sugar-topped muffins and I took the opportunity to use it here. It’s very easy to prepare so this is something that you can bake with your kids.
This simple but yummy muffin is appropriate for breakfast, snacks, picnics, children’s parties and the occasional guilty midnight snack.
Recipe afer the jump. Enjoy. 🙂
Note (May 25, 2012): I recently made this as a cake with blackberries instead of red currants. Coat blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and spread evenly at the bottom of the pan. Spoon cake batter over it and bake. A lot of people have trouble turning an upside down cake without the middle sticking on the pan. Use wax paper or foil to cover the bottom of the pan so when you flip it over, the whole cake comes out foil and all. If the berries stick to the foil, stick the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes before peeling it off.
Almost a year ago, I had a love affair with muffins. Obsession is probably the proper way to describe it. I wanted to learn how to bake (aside from the token brownies and chocolate cake) by baking as many kinds of muffins as I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures and those that I managed to take were poorly focused and had horrible exposure.
I had the chance to make these muffins again for my friends last weekend. Breakfast should always be the biggest meal of the day and we sure had a huge meal with varied dishes. My contribution was a batch of lemon and red currant muffins.
You can be creative with this muffin and use all sorts of berries. SK’s original recipe uses raspberries. I used red currant here. In hindsight, I think the red currants should have been coated with a tad of sugar since they’re really sour. The first time I made this muffin, it had a cherry centre and I topped it with sliced almonds. I think I like the latter version better. Here’s a photo of it, taken just before I brought them to work for my colleagues:
It’s not great, but I used to be really bad with photography and used the “Auto” setting far too often. *wince* These days, I learned how to adjust my dSLR properly to take the type of photos I want. I still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to composition, but I’ll get there eventually.
Note: The lovely topmost photo was taken by my friend, Jovett, just before we ate them.
I like to think of these as “healthy” muffins. Sure there’s still flour, but it’s whole wheat flour. Sugar is discarded in lieu of natural honey. There are loads of grated carrot involved. The only thing I can think of that’s not healthy is the butter. If you’re a real health nut, maybe you can substitute the butter for olive or canola oil but I don’t know how good the muffins would taste.
I made two batches a couple of hours before work when I woke up too early and decided I was bored. I tried grating the carrots the pioneer way: by hand like a boss! Sadly, I gave up even before the first carrot was done. My fingers were scratched, the carrot wasn’t faring much better, and seeing the number of freshly peeled carrots that were still waiting to be grated discouraged me.
So I asked my (very sleepy) dad to set up the grinder for me. The Moulinex is about 20 years old, possibly older, and has seen and ground a lot of stuff over the years. The carrots were grated perfectly and efficiently in 5 minutes tops.
The muffins baked very quickly. I used the old gas oven in Apartment #1, which can be tricky if you’re not used to these types of ovens. I’ve learned not to time baked stuff. I just use my nose, eyes and a toothpick. Meaning, (1) if the smell permeates the kitchen, it’s probably done or close to it, (2) open the oven a bit to check the color, and (3) pierce a toothpick through the middle of the cake to check if the doughy bits would stick or if it would come out dry. Take them out of the oven before the edges turn brown.
I really like the subtle bite of cinnamon and garlic in these muffins. So did Tita E, Fatma, and my brother. Jiko probably ate one whole batch all by himself. Please don’t invite him to dinner parties unless you’re sure that you have prepared XXXL servings for him. 😛
For last night’s potluck, I had to think of something that wouldn’t require me to go out and buy ingredients. The first thing I thought of was cinnamon. I had lots of cinnamon! I browsed through recipes of various cinnamon rolls and breads but due to my previous efforts, I knew that any sort of bread would take forever and a day.
I needed something quick because I only had a few hours. Plus, I was distracted by The Walking Dead as I was trying to find time to watch all 5 episodes in one afternoon on top of all the stuff I had to do. Yep, zombies. Very appetizing.
It’s my first time to try out a recipe from King Arthur Flour. It requires lots of oats on the streusel topping, which was a big selling point for me. (I LOVE oats!) The muffins require 3-4 layers and I’m sure this first effort was a bit messy as the supposed creamy filling just managed to make it look marbled. I opted against a sugar drizzle since the streusel was already loaded with brown sugar. I also used chopped walnuts instead of pecans.
I used paper liners at first but the muffins ended up looking untidy. Pieces crumbled away and the the paper kept on separating from the muffin. Results were much better with a lightly-greased muffin pan. The muffins didn’t stick to the pan and I had no problem taking each one out. The caramel will ooze over the top of the muffins so place a baking sheet beneath your muffin pan to avoid drips.
The muffin is sturdier than I expected. It’s a solid snack and is more appropriate for brunch or teatime than as a dessert. But that didn’t stop Dad from finishing two right after lunch.
Is it yummy? Yes. But it’s not too sweet either. If you’re hoping for sugar overload, better pour confectionery sugar drizzle over it. I like it as it is and it tastes great with Japanese green tea. Thanks for the tea, Cris. 😀