Quick banana and date muffins

These muffins are quick and easy to make. A great way to use up over-ripe bananas.

Delicious and very moist!

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Ingredients: (makes 12 muffins)

1.5 cups selfraising flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinammon

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

2-3 large ripe banana (the really black mushy ones no one wants to eat) – mashed

3/4 to 1 cup chopped pitted dates

1/2 cup sunflower or any other light tasting oil

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar or your choice of vanilla flavouring.

 

To make:

Preheat your oven to 150 deg C. Line a 12 – hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, including the dates

Mix all wet ingredients, including the banana, in another bowl or jug.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients until JUST COMBINED. This means the mixture will be a bit lumpy. That’s ok. This will make your muffins soft and moist.

Place the batter into the paper cases.Bake for approx 20 mins or until tops are golden and no longer soft. You can test either by inserting a skewer and removing it. If a few crumbs or non at all come on the skewer, then it is done. Take them out! If still moist and sticky, bake for a bit longer.

 

Tips:

  • Remember not to over-mix your batter. You really need a light touch when making muffins.
  • Mix the batter by folding/scraping the batter from the  bottom of the bowl upwards. That way you ensure even mixing without over-mixing the batter.
  • If you find some flour in the batter when scooping into the paper cases , do not panic.  if in the centre or at the bottom, It will mix when baking. If the flour is at the top of the batter in the paper cases, gently smooth out with your finger or add a bit of the moist batter ontop to cover it.
  • Keep bananas in the fridge as soon as they become over-ripe. They will be handy for when you want to make these yummy treats!

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Spiced Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve been making carrot cakes ever since I was a teen. It is wholesome, healthier than other cakes, easy to make and very tasty.

Today I used the batter to make 12 standard sized cupcakes. They go great with lemon cream cheese frosting, but I only make that on special occasions.

You will need:

3 eggs

1 cup self raising flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup oil (can use 1/2 cup for lower fat)

1 cup brown sugar (can use 3/4 for less sweet cake)

2.5-3 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup of mixed dried fruits (or 1/4 each chopped walnuts and dried fruits)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

zest of one orange.

1.5 tablespoons vanilla sugar
To make:

Preheat your oven to 160-180 deg

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, spice, vanilla, zest and fruit/nuts. Mix well. Add the flour/baking soda and mix until well combined. Do not over mix.

Place batter evenly into a lined 12 cupcake tray.


Bake for about 20 mins or until the cupcakes are cooked through. This is when a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean. Or it bounces back when you press on the top. Only check this after the cupcakes have risen fully and have become golden in colour.

Rich Chocolate Cake with Dark Choc Ganache and Mocha Buttercream Filling

This cake is always a massive hit.  Whenever I make it people think it is store bought, but the flavour is oh so much richer than many commercial cakes.

I first tasted this (without the buttercream) a few years back when it was made for me by someone I knew. I later reaslised it was a recipe from the women’s weekly. I decided to try it and have been making this whenever I want to impress with minimal effort.

I have tweaked the recipe to suit me over time, and have found it is even better the next day, so perfect for preparing in advance.

Some of the charm of a chocolate cake is in its rustic appeal, so it is ideally suited to those (like me) who arent that great with cake decorating (yet).

So if you want a cake to impress, put aside that box of Betty Crocker, and try one from scractch.. you will be glad you did.

For the cake:

1.5 cups water

2 cups caster sugar

1 tablespoons vanilla sugar

1 tablespoons insant coffee

1 cup dark chocolate buttons

1 cup plain flour

1.5 cups selfraising flour

1/4 cup coco powder

1 cup oil or 250 gms unsalted butter

2 large eggs

For the buttercream filling: 

1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons milk

125 gms unsalted butter

125 gms coffa (vegetable shortening)

2 cups icing sugar

For the ganache:

1 cup thickened cream

1 cup dark chocolate buttons

To make:

In a saucepan, melt chocolate, water and sugar. Stir until dissolved. If using butter, add as well.

Allow to cool FULLY before proceeding to the next step or else you will end up with scrambled eggs.

Sift the coco powder, flours and vanilla sugar and mix well. This will ensure an even colouring.

Add lightly beaten eggs and cooled water/choc/sugar/butter liquid.

Mix well with a spatula, but do not over mix as this will make your cake tough.

Grease and line a deep round or square cake tin. I found my 7 cm high, 20 cm diam tin too small for this, so use the size up.

Bake in a medium heat (I had to lower my oven to 120 because the cake was rising too quickly). Start off at 150 and alter the temp to suit.

This cake takes about 1 hour 30- 50 mins to cook. It is done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. check around the 1 hr ten minutes mark, if it is still wobbly and wet looking dont even bother with the skewer, wait and check later.

Do not over bake as this will result in a dry cake.

I bake my cake at night and make my fillings and ganache the next day. The cake must be cooled entirely before decorating.

…..Now for the filling!

Beat the butter, copha until well combined. Add sugar and and beat again until fluffy. Add milk/coffee mix until fluffy again. Set aside at room temp.

……..and the ganache

On medium heat, allow cream and milk to melt together. Mix well and remove from the heat. Allow to cool.

To fill the cake. Slice the cake into two or three equak portions. Slice off the top iff the cake is uneven. I use a long bread or any long flat knife with a jaggered edge.

Dont cut in one directional motion, rather go around while turning the cake and go deeper with each rotation. I will post a link to this.

Fill with as much butter cream as you want. You can retain some for decorating.

You have 2 choices with the ganache, either pour over when cool but still runny, which gives a glossy finish, but is more difficult to deal with, or allow to cool further and spread over which gives a more matted look.

Experiment with both techniques as they both look good, and ultimately both taste great!

Note: If you wondering what the golden dust is on the cake, that was some salted butterscotch crumble I made, but that is really not necessary.

Apple and Almond Cake

Yes, another apple cake recipe.. I love this one more than my previous one 🙂

This recipe is my mum’s favourite. Before I married, I used to make this frequently at home. It only came second to a moist carrot cake : )

This cake is full of hidden goodies; yogurt, nuts and apples. It is also made without butter which makes it great for those looking for a healthier option. I actually prefer the taste of oil in cakes over butter.

You will need:

1 cup castor sugar

3/4 cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Sprinkle of ground all spice (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla flavouring (approx 2 tablesoons vanilla sugar)

1 large granny smith apple- peeled, cored and chopped into approx 1.5-2 cm pieces

Sliced almonds for garnish (about a handful)

To make:

Whisk all wet ingredients with the sugar until creamy. Add flour and spices/flavouring. Fold in well with a spatula. Add the apples and mix in well.

Place in a lined and greased cake tin, sprinkle with almonds and bake for about 50-60 mins in a preheated 180 deg oven on the middle shelf, or until cooked through.

Apple Crumble Cake

Granny Smith apples are everywhere, and very cheap these days.

One thing I love to make with these apples are cakes and pies.

This cake is deliciously moist, with two surprises..

A soft delicious layer of almost stewed-like apples at the bottom.. and a crumble layer up the top.

Easy, peasy to make..

For the cake batter:

1.5 cups self raising flour

2 eggs

3/4 cup oil

1 cup brown sugar

1.5-2 tsp cinnamon powder

vanilla flavouring (about 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar)

1/2 cup plain yogyurt

  • We all know how to make cake batter 🙂 so wont explain here.

For the apple layer:

1.5 large granny smith apples (more or less depending on the size of your tin)

2 Tablespoons of sugar

Dusting of cinnamon

Some  butter for greasing the tin.

  • Slice the apples into 0.5 cm slices and toss in sugar and cinnamon.
  • Grease your tray well with butter after lining with baking paper.
  • Arrange your apple slices at the bottom and sides (optional) of the tin.
  • Pour the cake batter on top.

For the crumble layer:

3 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)

Sprinkling of cinnamon

  • Mix everything together, rubbing together with your fingertips to create crumbs.
  • Sprinkle evenly ontop of cake batter.
  • Bake in a preheated 180 deg oven until cooked through and crumles is nice and golden

Fresh out of the oven: Blueberry Muffins

I love muffins.. to me they are more awesome than cakes as you get lots of  the brown bits of a cake, you dont need to slice them, and you have ready wrapped portions for when you want a quick snack.

I always keep  some frozen berries in my freezer which I use whenever i need to make a batch of muffins.

These muffins are super easy to make, so get baking!

You will need: (makes 8-10 muffins)

2 cups self-raising flour

1 cup castor sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup oil (i used corn or sunflower oil)

Some vanilla flavouring (i use approx 3 tablespoons of vanilla sugar)

Handful of blueberries

To make:

Beat eggs, sugar and oil together until light and creamy (i use a handwhisk or fork). Mix in flour then all remaining ingredients (except berries) until  well combined.

Line a muffin tray with cup cake papers while you preheat your oven to 180deg. Fill each paper to about 90% full with the batter (less if you dont like a spilled muffin top). Place a few (4-5) berries into each of the batters. Adding them at the end makes the berries stay in the middle/top of the muffin rather than sink down to the bottom.

Bake in the oven for around 15-25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Keep an eye on it as you may need to rotate the tray if your oven is not even in heat. Dont open the oven door while the muffins are rising as this can make them collapse.

Once done allow to cool and store at room temperature for a few days or in an airtight container in the fridge for a week (if they last that long!)

Tips:

This recipe can easily be change to include sultanas/cinnamon or all spice mix, nuts etc instead of the berries.