Cake Challenge 5 - Muffin to see here!
Muffins are great any time of the year and can be added to or altered to fit the season.
Sir tasked me to make two different flavor muffins; Caramel and Lemon Curd.
Home-made caramel expected but bonus points for homemade lemon curd.
Each to be decorated in some way with red, white, and blue.
I made the fillings on day one and made the muffins the next day. As the fillings can be put in Jam jars they will store in the fridge for about ten days.
To sterilise your jars wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well, and put them in a medium heat oven for ten minutes.
Allow cooling before handling!
Caster Sugar 150grms/ 5ozs
Unsalted butter 100grms/3.5 ozs
3 free-range eggs plus one egg yolk
Dash of lemon essence (optional)
Use a bain-marie or a glass bowl over a small pan with simmering water on low heat.
Melt the butter and lemon juice and zest.
Add the caster sugar and dissolve. Stir.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and stir in a dash of lemon essence.
Take the pan off the heat and add the beaten egg bit by bit into the bowl, stirring until the egg is blended.
Keep stirring and watch as the mixture thickens, scraping the sides of the bowl back into the mix.
Allow the mixture to cool before spooning into jars. This recipe will fill a normal size jar and a half.
A friend of mine taught me that lemons are full of pectin - she makes any sort of jam and roughly chops lemons in to help set the jam and then removes the lemon pieces at the end. So it's probably not just the eggs that help this to set.
Admission. I think there is something wrong with this recipe. I think the author got the quantities wrong.
There was far too much liquid however I just kept cooking and stirring and it did eventually
reduce to a creamy consistency and set.
Warning Melted sugar is VERY hot and will burn significantly.
To test the caramel prepare a cup of cold water and a metal spoon.
Granulated sugar 1 cup
Water 3 tblspn
Double cream 3/4 cup
Unsalted butter 3 tblspn
Using a heavy-based pan dissolve the sugar in the water and heat.
Stir until the sugar darkens and starts to caramelize.
Scrape the sides of the pan back into the mix.
To test drop a spoonful of the mix into the cup of cold water using the spoon. If the caramel dissolves and disappears - it is not ready! If it stays solid you can fish it out on your finger and test it by tasting for consistency. Replace the water each time you test.
Now add the cream and butter and stir briskly until everything is blended together. As it cools then spoon into jam jars. As above makes 1 1/2 jars full.
Basic Muffin Recipe
Be creative and add fruit or seasonal fillings! I used the more modern type of handkerchief cases but actually, they didn't provide enough support for the mix and filling so perhaps the older type of case will help them to stand better.
Self-raising flour 1 3/4 cups / 220 grms
Baking powder 1 tspn
Unsalted butter 1.2 cup / 115 grms
Light brown or granulated sugar 3/4 cup / 115 grms
Eggs 2 beaten
Plain yogurt 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract 1 1/2 tspn
Cinnamon to taste (optional)
Milk for thinning if required.
Combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set to one side In a second bowl beat the butter and cream in the sugar. Add the vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. Beat until combined.
Now add the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir and combine but not totally blending. A muffin texture should be slightly 'crumby' so if you over-blend then this won't happen and you will end up with a sponge!
Layout the muffin cases on a baking tray. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases - half full - then add a dollop of filling. Continue to fill the cases with muffin mix until almost full.
Bake at 425 F 218 C until risen and golden brown. I use a wooden kebab stick to test if it comes out clean or coated. Remember the filling though!
Decorate as desired! Stupidly I forgot the instruction about Red White and Blue - so that's a mark down.
The Lemon Curd is the star of the show! The muffins worked out well overall and were tasty even without cinnamon added. Caramel was good too!
Mister Smith comments.
This task I did consider would have been a bit more difficult than usual as I have given two different flavors as the requirement as well as bonus points for making the curd from scratch. I was also curious if he would wait for the cakes to cool and bore out a section for the filling or put the filling in pre-baking to which I would think would sink more to the base.
With presentation, he did rather well on this occasion. The cakes looked rustic and homemade with a pot of excessive lemon curd which he did make from scratch. I was to enjoy these with a hot drink also brought with the trusty thermos. The first impression was the rich smell of caramel and lemon. He had used shredded lemon for the topping of the lemon muffins and caramel for the other two.
The fact he made the effort of the lemon curd from scratch saved his score points as the red white and blue decoration was absent in my visual view. I mentioned this and with a puzzled look he reverted back to the original baking challenge message and realised the cock-up. Finger waving aside it was time to get stuck in.
I cannot fault the size of these bear portion-sized muffins. They would certainly satisfy even the most peckish of people. The muffin cut very easily, was soft with no overdensity. As I expected he did place the filling in with the mix pre-baking which caused a little bit of sinking. It did however keep the cake middle moister and sweeter.
I could have eaten this muffin without the aid of a drink but a cupper added the enjoyment. I did like the paper wrapper they were in which added to the rustic look. I finished this muffin off with no problems.
Next was the lemon curd muffin. Clearly, he wanted to highlight the point these were made with real lemons and from scratch. Lemon is a particular favorite smell and taste of mine. I was informed that a high-quality extract was used in the flavoring as well as actual lemons. I can tell the difference between the quality of extracts and he is aware of this.
Slicing down this muffin was even easier than the caramel one. The lemon curd certainly made for a softer filling. Again slightly low to the bottom rather than the suggested hollowing post bake which I mentioned earlier. He had also put strands of shredded lemon into this with the curd.
The smell was very lemony indeed.
As for taste, the curd was nailed on the head, he did rather well with it, and is on his list of to make again things. The curd was not as sweet as I expected which was good, he limited the sugar value and the consistency was thick but not bricklaying cement level. Curd can usually go two ways either runny or sliceable. This curd was a nice middle level for easy spreading.
Over all, I do believe I shall put a 9/10. If the original decoration request had been fulfilled a 9.5 or even a 10 could have been reached here. The homemade lemon curd certainly added a very homely feel and the caramel was nice and soft but not runny or rock hard like candy.
Therefore the next bake will have a level of decoration to be included to help practice in this area.