raspberry coconut cupcakes

take a bite

I feel like everyone is pregnant these days.

I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. I’m just saying that there seem to be a lot of little babies and baby bumps around the place. Facebook, Instagram, twitter – social media is going nuts with the baby photos and pregnancy updates.

a very good place to start

creamed

Maybe it’s just that I had one friend who was pregnant, and then I started noticing every other pregnant person in my stratosphere. Maybe it’s that I’m at an age where all my friends are pregnant. (Not really. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that I’m only twenty-one, and that while this age is fine for some people to be getting married and having babies, it is far from the norm and also, I’m fine the way I am.) Or, maybe it’s that with the social media saturation the culture we live in, everything is everywhere and I am just noticing pregnant people and babies.  Continue reading

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breakfast

I went home this past weekend to visit my family and ooh and aah over my sister’s wedding photos. I don’t always get home as often as I’d like to, despite the fact that my family only live a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Our lives get busy, work doesn’t always co operate and sometimes, there just isn’t the time.

However, I did get to drive home after work on Saturday, listening to the Joy the Baker podcast and finally wearing a light, summery dress – the weather is warming up, people! Despite my penchant for winter and all the fun it brings, there’s something undeniably uplifting about a warm, sunny day, light sandals and country air.

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raspberry muffins, a basketful

There’s something about autumn that just makes me happy. In Melbourne, you get all the cold wet miserableness of winter, plus the pretty colours and occasional sunlight of autumn. It’s May, so that means we’re definitely in the swing of cold, blustery autumn. I love it.

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raspberry olive oil muffins

My boss has these muffins that he makes and they’re really popular. You make them in a texas muffin tin (extra large… yum…) and they’re made with oil and they have berries in them (yeah.. I am so articulate today.) And they’re amazing! So I wanted to recreate them for snacks because I get hungry at uni and if I get hungry and I don’t have food on me I’ll buy something unhealthy because I’m shopping while hungry. Not a good idea.

So I looked on my favourite baking sites and found this recipe by Smitten Kitchen, so I decided to make a control batch before I changed things up a bit. Well, controlled by raspberries. I do love me some raspberries.

The thing about baking when you have a bunch of assessments to do is that it’s procrastinating, and I didn’t want to do that so I studied for a bit and then made these and then… failed to study more because it was late by then and I scarfed down a muffin even though I really shouldn’t eat that late at night (especially sweet things). Then I procrastinated a bunch more on the internet.

Then, a week later, I wrote this. Then, two days after that again, I’m posting it. I’m sorry I’m such a busy, frazzled person. I made you muffins. Eat them.

Olive Oil Muffins

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ok, so as I said, I made this as a ‘control recipe’ that was no where near controlled. I swapped in some almond meal, I didn’t use sliced almonds, I added raspberries. They were still delicious. There will be more muffins soon. Just let me finish my essays.

1 3/4 cup plain flour (I swapped in 3/4 cup almond meal for flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons orange zest (I used the zest of one orange)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used the zest of one lemon)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I used about a cup of whole almonds, blitzed them in the food processor, toasted them and then blitzed the big bits again. It wasn’t ideal and I’ll probably do it differently next time.)

about a cup of frozen raspberries

icing sugar, to sift over

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with canola spray and dust with flour. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, almond meal (if using) baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and zests until they are really light and fluffy. Beat in balsamic vinegar and milk.

Pour the olive oil in a thin stream as you beat. Crush the sliced almonds as you add them or just dump the blitzed almonds in. Gradually fold in flour mix with a spatula just until incorporated.

Fill each muffin cavity almost to the top with mixture. Crush some raspberries into each muffin and stir in with a fork.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in tin, then on a cooling rack. Eat one asap, but be careful, they’re fragile. Sift icing sugar over and serve with butter.

pear, lemon and raspberry spelt flour muffins

Soooo, it’s been a couple days since I hinted as to an amazing recipe I was about to make. And they were amazing. I’ve already shared a flourless chocolate cupcake recipe with you because I have a friend who’s allergic to gluten. Now, ta-da! Introducing spelt flour! It’s really nice flour – spelt is an ancient form of wheat that doesn’t have as much gluten as modern-day wheat, so it’s ok for people who are allergic. So I made muffins to share with both my house (eek! four people, three of whom I barely know! Let’s make muffins so they like me!) and my internship group (we’re spending every Thursday together. By midafternoon, we need a sugar hit.)

And so. I knew I wanted to make muffins because I’d made spelt scones before and they worked really well, so I knew muffins would benefit from the sturdiness of the flour and it wouldn’t matter too much if they didn’t rise as well. And I’m trying to add as much fruit and vegetables into my diet as I possibly can, because being a vegetarian, variety is even more important.

Pear, lemon and raspberry spelt flour muffins

So I got the base recipe from Smitten Kitchen but I tweaked it around so much it’s barely recognisable. I also used mini muffin pans because I couldn’t find large ones in the supermarket. I do not recommend this. They turned out fine but I just ate about five of them in one sitting and this could have been rectified had I made larger ones – they are much more satisfying.

Yield: I got 56 mini muffins. I suspect you could get around 24 large muffins. Deb got 18. Use your judgement, and don’t skimp when you’re putting the mixture in the cases. I also feel that 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon was too much, although this could be because the lid fell off the container I was using to measure it out so I may have gotten a whole lot more than 1 1/2 tablespoons. Use your judgement, again.

2 1/2 cups spelt flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
large pinch salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
150gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, plus extra to sprinkle over the top
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups greek style yoghurt
2 corella pears, peeled, cored and chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
about 1/2 cup frozen raspberries.

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Set out paper cases in two 12 muffin muffin pans.

Mix together first 5 ingredients (dry) and set aside. Cream butter, then add sugars and beat, scraping down sides. Add egg and do the same. Gently mix in yoghurt and fold into dry ingredients. Mix in pears, raspberries and lemon rind and stir until just incorporated. Fill muffin cases – like I said, don’t skimp. Spelt flour doesn’t rise too much, so feel free to fill to the top. Liberally sprinkle extra brown sugar over the top of the muffins.

If you’re making mini muffins like me, bake at 220ºC for 5 mins, then lower heat to 200ºC and bake another 5 mins. If you’re making large muffins like I should have, bake at 220ºC for 10 mins and at 200ºC for about 10-15 mins. Take out of the oven and let sit for about 5 mins, then take out of pans and let cool on a rack before packing them away, if you can bear not to gobble them up all at once.

*If you don’t have spelt flour, don’t worry. You can use all plain flour or one cup plain flour and one cup whole-wheat flour instead.