Blueberry Muffin Cake

One of my favourite fruits is a blueberry, and I love blueberry muffins. I thought I'd try to use one of my usual recipes, but instead of individual muffins, make a muffin cake. I've added a topping to give it more crunch.

There used to be a prolific blueberry bush in the garden, but sadly this year it decided it had had enough!

Preheat oven 190C/gas5                                    Grease a 900g loaf tin.

In a bowl mix together 280g plain flour, 1/2 tpsn salt, 1/2 tspn bicarb and 1 tspn cinnamon.

In another bowl beat together 2 eggs, 100g caster sugar and 85g light brown sugar,then mix in 125ml sunflower oil, 125ml sour cream and 1 tspn vanilla extract.

Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet one, but don't overmix

Stir in 290g blueberries dusted in 1 tbspn flour to stop them sinking in the cake.

Topping: 100g caster sugar, 50g plain flour, 50g butter cubed and 1/2 tspn cinnamon. Mix together to crumbs, then sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about 40-45 mins till golden.

The trick with the flour worked, as the blueberries were well distributed through the cake.
A nice moist texture, with the juicy fruit and the crunch from the topping. A success, and a change from the usual muffins.


Caramel and Pear Cake

325g caster sugar
4 pears, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
175g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
125g butter, melted
2 eggs
50ml milk
1 tspn vanilla extract

You need a 20cm  springform round cake tin

Preheat  oven to 180C/gas4, . 

Put 150g sugar in a pan and add 3 tablespoons of water. Dissolve the sugar over a gentle heat, then turn up the heat and boil until the sugar turns a rich amber colour. Swirl the pan  but don't stir. Pour the caramel into the base of the prepared tin which you've lined with baking paper which comes up the sides a little. Let it cool, then arrange the pear slices in a circle pattern on top.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the rest of the sugar, and stir till mixed.. Add the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla, then mix at high speed for 1 minute to make a smooth batter. Pour over the pears and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour. 
Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn onto a wire rack and serve still warm.

It's a delicious dessert. The cake has a nice soft texture, then you have the juicy pears with the moreish toffee topping. 


Raspberry Buns

The mention of Rock Cakes in my book of British cooking, reminded me of the Raspberry Buns my Mum used to make. I loved these, and would hurry home from school when she'd mentioned she was making them. It was my Granny's recipe, and luckily Mum had written into her notebook.

There are several recipe that were family favourites that Mum didn't include in her book, and I've tried to replicate them but with little success - 'double custard' being one. She made a great apple flan in a flan tin, with a sponge base filled with stewed apple, then piped a layer of this 'custard' round the edge and puts dabs on top. The 'custard' looked a bit curdled, but was delicious. I know she made some Birds custard, but what she added to it, I don't know! I've tried various ways of making it, but they're all wrong. Sorry, I digress.

The buns are made in the same way as Rock Cakes - the rubbing in method.

You need
225g sr flour with 1 tspn baking powder
75g butter
75g caster sugar
1 beaten egg
raspberry jam
milk and caster sugar for the topping

Preheat oven 180C/gas4

Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter.stir in the sugar, then add the egg and enough milk to make a soft, but not wet, dough.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll it into balls.
On a floured surface, flatten the balls and put 1/2 tspn of raspberry jam in the centre.brush the edges of the dough with jam then pull the dough up over the jam. Turn the buns over so the join in underneath.
Brush the tops with milk then bake for 15-20 mins till golden.
Cool on a wire rack - don't eat straight from the oven as the jam will be very HOT!

A taste of childhood. Nice soft texture inside , with a crunchy top and the jam oozing out. An easy to make treat.

Gratin de choux-fleur

 I was given a medium sized cauliflower and as it's not my favourite vegetable, struggled to know what to do with it. Have kept a few Fr...