Occasionally you want cake, but can’t be bothered with the whole process involved in it. The creaming, the folding, the waiting anxiously at the oven, the angst over whether to use vanilla bean paste or the cheaper vanilla extract (or is this the cake to try the home made vanilla-and-rum puree on?), what to fill it with and whether there’s enough cream in the fridge, and will it come out of the tin?
Or, its 9pm and you want to make something but don’t fancy staying up until 11pm for it to finish baking. Or it’s 8 in the morning and you need to make something for breakfast but it’s a Sunday, you’re feeling lazy (or didn’t prep your croissant or brioche dough the night before) and you want something a bit swishier than toast but not as artery-hardening as a full english. Or your wife suddenly goes “Erm, I’ve got a script reading tomorrow, could you make something I can take with me for the actors please?”
In these cases, muffins (American, not English) are your friends.
I’ve been making muffins for years, and have written recipes galore for them. The thing is, though, the recipes are all pretty much the same. It’s “self-raising flour, eggs, oil, milk and sugar, and whatever fun stuff you might have kicking about”. They take three minutes to mix up, half an hour to bake and as long as you have muffin cases (or big cupcake cases) hanging about you’re laughing. They don’t keep very well (although ten seconds in the microwave will sort that out nicely) but then they probably won’t hang about for more than a day anyway. And eating them warm is part of the joy. It’s nearly impossible to muck them up, as long as you bear in mind the proportions of wet to dry, and remember what counts as inert.
So with that in mind, last night I made chocolate & marmalade muffins.
(I had to look up my own recipe article on T&C to remind me of what the base should be. Getting old and forgetful.)
Base muffin mix (250g self-raising flour, 175g caster sugar, with 2 medium eggs, 100g milk and 100g sunflower oil whisked up separately) with a tablespoon of marmalade mixed in with the eggs, milk & oil and 100g chocolate drops in with the flour & sugar. Mix together until just combined (don’t overmix or the cases will stick). Half fill the cases with mix, a teaspoon of marmalade on top then top off with the rest of the mix. GM5 for 30 minutes. Makes a dozen. Tastes phenomenal, and uses up another jar of marmalade – only 36 (or something) to go…