Blackcurrant and raspberry muffins

I found blackcurrants in the supermarket and was overjoyed. My grandmother used to have currant bushes, white, red and black. Every year in the summer we would all go and pick the ripe, plump berries. Later on my grandmother would make jam out of the black currants and use the red and white ones for a baked tart. It’s not that easy finding black currants so I bought two punnets. I ate one of them and decided I would use the other punnet for making some muffins. Apart from raspberry muffins the other day I am totally  new to the fruity/berry muffin business. Thanks to the trusty internet I soon found a recipe that appealed to me:

New Thinking on Food – Blackcurrant muffins

I followed the recipe apart from the milk (I don’t have soymilk at home, yuk, yuk, yuk) and I’m sorry, I cannot bake muffins without at least one egg, but I didn’t want to screw up the recipe so in went one egg yolk as a compromise. I also added a handful or raspberries, mainly because they had to go!
I tried one once the muffins had cooled down and while it tasted nice, well, it only tasted nice. Definitely room for improvement I thought. I will have to bake them again with some of my own adjustments.

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4 layer lemon cake with lemon curd mascarpone cream

This was such an easy cake to make. I used my trusty lemon drizzle cake recipe as a base but used round cake tins instead of the loaf tin.
Below are the ingredients for one cake, but remember you need to make two of them!

1 ½ cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 large eggs
zest of two lemons
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon extract
½ cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 180°C, Gasmark 4.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl. In another bowl combine the lemon juice, yoghurt, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and lemon extract.
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then fold in the vegetable oil. Pour the batter into your cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when you stick it into the thickest part of the cake.
Once I took the cakes out of the oven I spooned lemon syrup all over them (dissolve 1/3 cup of sugar in 1/3 cup of lemon juice until it’s clear but be careful, sugar syrup gets really hot and can give you nasty burns) and let them cool in the tins.
The next day I took them out and cut each of them in two layers (I use a strong thread, lined up on the edge of the cake and simply pull both ends towards me. It helps when you cut about an inch deep all the way around the cake beforehand).

For the filling I used

500g Mascarpone cheese
300ml freshly whipped cream
about 1/3 cup of lemon curd
1-2 tbsp of vanilla sugar

Mix the mascarpone cream with the sugar and lemon curd and then fold in the whipped cream. The amount of sugar really depends on how sweet you want your filling.
You will need more lemon curd for each cake layer, so best is really to buy a whole glass (or of course make it yourself but I found the work/taste ratio of homemade lemon curd vs. shop bought lemon curd doesn’t justify all the work just so you can say I used homemade lemon curd. I have too many other things to do. Sometimes shortcuts are totally worth it and shop bought lemon curd is one of them!)
To assemble the cake:
Thinly spread some lemon curd on the first layer. Then add a thick layer of mascarpone cream, top with another layer of cake and repeat until you put the final top layer of cake on it. Spread the entire cake with the mascarpone cream. Fill the rest of the cream into a piping bag and pipe rosettes all over the cake. Put the cake into the fridge for a few hours.
Before you serve the cake sprinkle some yellow sugar sand on the outer row of roses.

Vanilla Raspberry Muffin

Kent raspberries two punnets for the price of one. I couldn’t resist. They were red and ripe and firm and when I opened the lids of the punnets a sweet smell emerged making my mouth water! They looked too delicous to not have a handful each but I managed to save the rest to make some raspberry muffins.
I’ve never made any fruit containing muffins before so I simply googled for a recipe and took the first one!
It was from the Good to know Recipe website and I followed it through (apart from adding a teaspoon of vanilla essence to it and replacing the sugar with vanilla sugar) but I got a bit confused by the instruction to
Coarsely grate the chilled butter into the bowl and stir with a fork to coat in the flour mixture.
I had chilled butter but I wasn’t sure about the grating of it, so I just chopped it finely and kind of rubbed it into the flour with my fingers.
 
Beat together the egg and milk then pour into the bowl. Mix lightly with a fork until just combined. Take care not to over-beat the mixture – it should still be a little lumpy. Gently fold in the raspberries.
I did all that but there were quite a lot of lumps of butter and flour mix floating around in the batter so I wasn’t too sure how this was all going to work out.
 
I spooned the batter into my tulip wraps and I got 11 of them filled. I might have put too much into some of the cases so ok, I guess you do get 12 muffins out of it.
 
They took about 28 minutes and when I took them out I sprinkled some sugar onto them. I couldn’t wait until they had cooled down to try one…. sweeet dough, vanilla laced… and the sharpness of the raspberries …oh yes, this recipe makes very fine muffins!