Rhubarb & Cinnamon Easter Bunny Muffins

15 Apr

rhubarb-cinnamon-bunny-muffins

 

It’s internationally recognised office etiquette that, when your employer gives you rhubarb a week before Easter, you bake rhubarb & cinnamon bunny muffins for your workmates!

My employer gave me rhubarb? What?

In the office where I work as a temp, they get a delivery of mixed (organic!) fruit every week for everyboy, which I think is awesome and a really nice (and not that expensive) way of keeping your employees healthy and happy. And this week, the fruit box contained rhubarb. Not something most people like to nibble on in the office.

So I got to take the rhubarb home with me.

I used it to make a lovely carrot & rhubarb jerk curry for myself — and rhubarb & cinnamon Easter bunny muffins for the office.

The bunnies are cut out from printed cardboard and glued onto toothpicks, quite easy to make but I think they do look cute. (Easy to make, that is, when you’re good at cutting out things. For me, the process involved quite a bit of cursing and swearing as usual.)

 

muffin bunnies

Bunny parade!

 

I really, really like these muffins. I like the rhubarb mixed into the batter better than, say, tray bake with rhubarb on top.

But that’s just my personal taste. Which we all know is a bit special. ;)

 

 Rhubarb & Cinnamon Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
400 g rhubarb
100 g + 4 tbsp brown sugar
300 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
200 ml milk
100 g butter

Method
Cut the rhubarb into small pieces, mix it with 4 tbsp brown sugar, put it all into a small casserole dish or something similar and bake it in the oven at 200° C for 10 minutes. Then strain and let cool.
In the meantime, combine the rest of the sugar with the other dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs. Melt the butter. Combine eggs, butter and milk. Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the rhubarb pieces. No need for an electric whisk here; use a wooden spoon and do not overmix. Then off into muffin moulds the batter goes. Bake at 200° C for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add Easter bunnies. Give to workmates. Receive happy faces!

 

Vegan Hazelnut Cake

9 Mar

vegan hazelnut cake

Dear Reader, don’t judge a cake by its blog photo. Once again, I have failed to take a decent picture of a decent cake!

Also: the things you do for people you like! Last night, I cooked a three-course vegan meal for six people. (Out of which only two are actually vegan but … you know what it’s like. A chain is always only as good as its weakest link.) NO, I did not say that!

What I meant was: I love a challenge, as you know. So why not make a vegan meal. Also, there was some fried chicken for my devout carnivore friends to add to the vegan main course (because I like them. And I like undermining things like that.) But I chose the all-vegan option and the meal was lovely in my humble opinion.

The first two courses were Indian; I served a garam masala salad with mangoes as a starter, and then there was a Jalfreezi chickpea curry with two kinds of rice (turmeric and coconut & spring onion). I really liked it and none of my friends left to get pizza, so I’m guessing they liked it well enough as well.

For dessert, I baked a cake! Now there’s a surprise.

I used this recipe [Language warning: German] and followed the instructions almost to a t. I didn’t like that, because following instructions goes against my nature as you know. But sometimes you just have to suck it up. And be a grown-up about it. (And make plans for all the things you are going to do differently just because you can the next time!)

So, here’s my recipe, a minor variation. The cake was hazelnutty and chocolatey and really moist and yum. I highly recommend it, to vegans and non-vegans alike. We’re all equal in the eyes of cake.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake Recipe

Ingredients
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
250 g ground hazelnuts (+ extra)
2 tbsp cocoa
180 g icing sugar
120 g margarine (+ extra)
½ l soy milk
plum, almond & rum jam*
200 g dark chocolate (I bought the kind for which you have to pay extra because they print “vegan” on the packaging, just to be safe)
2 tbsp oil
chopped hazelnuts

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder, ground hazelnuts and cocoa. Even better: make your non-baking boyfriend do it and watch him complain that that’s not as easy as he thought it was. Give him a smug look. (The cake will more than make up for the damage you have just done to your relationship. Unless he’s a non-cake-eating person. In which case he is not a real human and you should not be with him anyway.)
In a separate bowl, beat margarine and icing sugar until fluffy, then add the dry ingredients and the soy milk. Give it all a good stir.
Grease a 26 cm cake mould with margarine and spread some ground hazelnuts to cover the surface. Pour in your cake batter.
Bake the cake at 180°C for about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool a little bit, then spread jam on top. Let cool some more, then spread ground hazelnuts on top of the jam. Now flip the cake onto a plate and remove the cake mould. Spread some more jam on what’s now the top of your cake. Let the cake cool completey.
In a bain-marie melt the cocolate. Stir in the oil and cover the cake with your chocolate coating. Use chopped hazelnuts for decoration purposes.

* A note on jam. I think you could use any good (= home-made!) jam for this cake. My own home-made jams, when including rum, tend to be quite on the rummy side, and I thought that added a nice note to the cake.

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

17 Feb

belated birthday cake for me

I had to bake a cake for everybody at the office to celebrate the fact that I’m getting older and older. Hooray!

In terms of recipe, I haven’t been very creative. Maybe it’s the brownie disappointment the other week. Maybe it’s the fact that I just love my yoghurt & poppyseed cake. Or maybe – no, no, that’s it. Disappointment and love. Two out of the three motivations I have for doing anything, the third being coffee.

So, yes, it’s yoghurt & poppyseed tray bake. Yum. The poppyseed floral pattern on the sugar icing was a ton of work, and it’s not perfect. I made a stencil for the pattern myself, and I think I should have used a different kind of material.

But it’s good enough for my belated birthday, I guess. At least for work, where I am guessing they don’t know how to appreciate a good blood, guts & zombie horror cake. (Yet.)

 

I’m-Not-Impressed-With-You-You-Were-Supposed-To-Be-Brownies Cappuccino Cookies

13 Feb

Cappuccino Cookie

So there was this recipe. It sounded fantastic. A beautiful soft and moist espresso brownie with a cream frosting and espresso & chocolate glazing.

The brownies looked fantastic in the pictures, too.

The recipe sounded good.

I went ahead and …

… ended up with cookies. Chocolate & espresso cookies. What the eff!?

I don’t know what went wrong. I’m guessing it was the baking temperature. Ah. I get it. I was using a man‘s oven. One should never do that. They can only cope with frozen pizzas.

Sigh.

It can’t have been my mistake, can it? So many italics!

So after his oven ruined my brownies, the man suggested I just serve them as cookies – I added the frosting and glazing, and everybody loved them. Everybody but me, that is. I am still not impressed.

Sigh.

Sigh!

 

His & Hers Gender-Specific Stereotype Semi-Belated Birthday Muffins

24 Jan

Here you go, just in case you needed proof that all the gender studies classes I’ve attended in my life didn’t teach me anything:

His & Hers Gender Specific Muffins

I love how many things are wrong with these muffins!

These are for my friends’ birthdays. It’s hers today and it was his two weeks ago. And because we’re all educated and gender-aware and emancipated and … This reminds me of a student I knew who kept mixing up the words “emancipated” and “emaciated”, and I just thought that my little cakes could be seen as a remedy for either, hee!

Anyway, so yes, gender stereotypes for the win. (Don’t you just love the manly sugar sprinkle animals!?)

They are semi-belated because one of the birthdays was a fortnight ago. I’ve mentioned that. And “muffins” because that’s what they are. Wouldn’t you believe it. :) “Hers” is white chocolate & coconut, “his” dark chocolate & hazelnut.

 

brb

(Oooh, I know a number of people who are going to hate me for this! Hee!)

Half-Birthday Cake

18 Jan

I’ve baked a Half-Birthday Cake! Because I can! Half-Birthday Cake

No time to write much; I reckon you can guess the occasion for the cake. This is the recipe I used for this small cake, and I added one peeled and chopped pear to the batter.

Kthxbai!

Sick pumpkin cake for Halloween

31 Oct

sick pumpkin cake 01

Well, what did you expect!? I’ve baked intestines in the past. There was only one direction I was heading…

So, happy Halloween. I hope you have a fantastic night with lovely people, scary films and disgusting looking cake. :)

For once, I am happy and disturbed at the same time because my cake turned out just the way I’d hoped.

Anyway, let’s talk shop. This is how this cake came to be:

In a moment of cleverness I decided to start out with carving the pumpkin face, figuring that if I’d messed up (and the chances of that weren’t low), I could still use the pumpkin for the cake and give it another go with the second pumpkin I had. However, I didn’t need that. I like the expression my pumpkin has. And carving it wasn’t as hard as I’d thought! (What exactly was I expecting? Resistance?)

Step 2: the tray bake. It’s a very moist pumpkin and hazelnut cake with a hint of cinnamon. My own recipe; the idea was to produce an almost-but-not-quite cake equivalent of pumpkin pie, and I think I have succeeded. Yay.

I did not use all of the batter for the tray bake; I used some to make three muffins for my grown-up coffee & cake date this afternoon. And I made another tiny baby cake for the next part of my baking project

For the, er, topping I cooked some pumpkin pulp, added a splash of milk, some sugar, cinnamon, food colouring and torn-up bits of cake. Texture is important. Having watched The Exorcist the other day helped.

sick pumpkin cake 02

PS: I am typing this post on my partner’s computer, and I keep asking myself what the flip this sticker saying “Spill-Resistant Keyboard” is supposed to achieve other than … Challenge accepted.

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