Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins!

These lemon and poppy seed muffins are relatively easy to make, and the outcome is deliciously moist and lemony! The recipe makes around 12 good size muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (Softened to room temperature)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/3 Cups Plain Flour
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Yoghurt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F and place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin.
  2. Pour the sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl and mix together until creamy. Then add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure the mixture is fully combined after each one. Make sure to keep the egg whites in a separate bowl for later!
  3. In a second mixing bowl, sieve the flour and add the lemon zest, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix together well.
  4. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the eggs, sugar and butter mixture, whilst constantly mixing. I used an electric whisk for this part but it’s just as good to use a hand whisk.
  5. Then add the lemon juice, vanilla essence and yoghurt.
  6. Now to use the egg whites from earlier! Beat the whites until soft peaks begin to form – again I used an electric whisk for ease but either is fine. Then gently fold into the rest of the mixture until fully combined.
  7. Pour the mixture between the muffin cases, mine made 12 good sized muffins. I always find it easiest to transfer the mixture into a measuring jug and then it is extremely easy to pour into the individual cases. Then bake for about 20/25 minutes.
  8. Once they are done, let them cool for a few minutes and then they are complete 🙂

For extra sweetness, once the muffins are completely cool, you can add a drizzle of icing sugar mixed with lemon juice on each muffin. It forms a slight glaze and gives an extra tangy sweetness on top!

Let me know what you think!

Easter Nest Cake

A year ago today I made this awesome easter cake for the family – so whilst I’m trying to think up what to bake for this year, I thought I’d share the making of this nest cake (It is supposed to look like a birds nest).

I got the idea from a Lakeland magazine at a friends house, and already had their hemisphere cake pan, so went and bought the ingredients and off I went! This is the pan I have.

I have the large size so this recipe is for that size but you can scale it for the smaller pans. For our guests this was actually too big as there were only 6 of us so we couldn’t eat it all – although we tried very hard!

 

Cake Ingredients:

  • 340g Butter (softened, at room temperature)
  • 340g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Essence
  • 6 Eggs
  • 140ml Milk
  • 85g Cocoa Powder
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

Icing ingredients:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 200g Butter
  • 400g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Decoration:

  • Lots of flakes (I think I used about 30)
  • Lots of mini eggs (I bought 4 packs)

Making the cake:

  1. Because this is quite a large cake, it bakes for longer in a slightly cooler oven. So I preheated the oven to 160°C or 320°F and greased the hemisphere pan well.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Again if you don’t have time/forget to soften the butter, you can use the microwave as long as it doesn’t become runny or melted.
  3. Mix in the vanilla essence, the milk and all of the eggs. I would always mix the eggs in one at a time and make sure the ingredients are fully mixed before adding the next one.
  4. Sieve the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder), and fold them in to the mixture. Then pour into the hemisphere pan and bake! I baked this cake for about an hour, but I would definitely suggest testing it and as soon as a skewer/small knife comes out clean, it is done.

Making the icing:

This makes a chocolate buttercream icing for the centre of the cake and the outside.

  1. Melt the chocolate. You can do this using a bowl over a pan of hot water, or (carefully!) use the microwave. I prefer to use the microwave but only heat it for about 15 seconds at a time and thoroughly stir it each time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once the chocolate is melted, leave it to cool slightly so it is not hot to touch.
  2. Whilst the chocolate is cooling, beat the butter until its soft and creamy, then mix in the icing sugar and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  3. Now fold in the cooled melted chocolate and you have your chocolate buttercream! If it feels a bit tough and dry, I add a splash of milk or water, but be careful not to add too much.

Decorating:

Once the cake is out of the oven, make sure it is completely cool and then we can begin to decorate!

  1. To begin with, lay the flat side of the cake down and cut horizontally into three parts. Using the icing, spread a thin layer on to each section and sandwich back together.
  2. Now, the cake is constructed with the flat side up, so it can be a little tricky initially as it can wobble around a little. Turn the cake upside down so that it is balancing on its curved edge.
    A quick tip: I would get all the flakes unwrapped and ready to go as it will make the next part easier!
  3. With the remainder of the icing, cover the whole cake, but focus on putting a good layer around the outside of the cake as that’s much more important than the top of the cake. It doesn’t have to look pretty!
  4. Now with the flakes, stick them to the sides of the cake, starting at the very bottom and working up to the top. When you get to the top, make sure the flakes come ever so slightly higher than the flat level of the cake, so they hold in the mini eggs.
    Tip: Try to stabilise the cake with the first few flakes by wedging them right up against each other at the very base of the cake.
  5. Tip the mini eggs on to the top of the cake, and you’re done! You should have an Easter Nest Cake 🙂

I told you it came out big!!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments 🙂

Chocolate Orange Cookies

These are possibly the best tasting chocolate orange cookies and yet are the simplest to make. My favourite type of chocolate is chocolate orange, so I have tried a number of recipes using milk chocolate, dark chocolate, orange zest, orange juice etc. in a number of combinations until I finally thought… why don’t I just make cookies with Terrys chocolate orange as the chocolate chips. They are extremely simple to make and still have that trademark chocolate orange taste which fulfills the chocolate orange cravings! So here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 115g Butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 60g Granulated Sugar
  • 60g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 170g Plain Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 Terry’s Chocolate Orange (157g)

 

Method:

  1. As always, we begin with preheating the oven to 190°C or 170°C for fan ovens, and lining the baking trays with baking paper. This recipe creates about 12 cookies, depending how big you want each one, so the mixture easily fits across two baking trays.
  2. Put the softened butter, granulated sugar and the muscovado sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream together. If you forget to leave the butter out to get to room temperature (or don’t have time), by all means use the microwave to soften it, but make sure it’s not melted or runny as it needs to still be fairly solid to get the correct creamy texture.
  3. Mix in the egg and the vanilla essence until fully combined. Now sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add to mixture, again making sure it’s all fully combined.
  4. Next we need to break up the Terrys chocolate orange! First give it a good bash against a flat surface to break up the segments. Now you can either roughly chop up the segments into the size you want using a sharp knife, or use a rolling pin (or something similar) and gently hit the segments to break up the chocolate into more randomly shaped/sized pieces – this is a great way of getting out any frustrations too!!
  5. Finally using a teaspoon (or a cookie dough scoop which is the best invention ever – I got one for my birthday recently and it’s amazing!!) drop scoops of the mixture onto the lined baking trays. I like to use the back of the teaspoon to slightly flatten each cookie before putting them in the oven.
  6. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes – they should be ever so slightly brown on the edges. Don’t worry if they still look a little soft in the middle, once you take them out, leave them to cool for at least 5 minutes and the centres will harden.

And there you have it, Terrys chocolate orange cookies!

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about this recipe, I’d love to hear from you 🙂