This week I have been mostly….baking muffins. Probably over 50 of the little blighters. Some were flat, some were soggy, some were tasteless and some were thrown straight in the bin. But I am proud (and somewhat relieved) to have perfected the most perfectly perfect muffin recipe and I am very happy to share it with you guys here.
Practice makes perfect so they say and this has definitely been true of my muffin making. The first batch I made were blueberry as this seems to be everyones go-to muffin of choice right? But I put in way too many blueberries compared to the muffin batter, and plus they were big fat juicy fresh blueberries so that when they came out the muffins ended up being soggy with all the blueberries bleeding into the batter and looking and tasting yuk.
So then I tried a different flavour and took inspiration from my favourite cake made by the Freefrom Bakehouse in Borough Market which is a Fig, Orange & Cardamon cake. So I made fig and orange muffins which were pretty great. The dried figs sat nicely in the batter although the orange flavour didn’t come through enough and the batter was still a bit dense.
I wandered down the end of the garden on that sunny day we had last week (remember the one?!) and discovered my rhubarb plant has been busily doing it’s thing and will nearly be ready to pick from soon. Which made me remember how many tupperwares of last year’s rhubarb compote I still have sitting in my spare freezer in the garage. Rhubarb guilt set in so I obviously had to rush to make some rhubarb muffins. However….perhaps because I was using compote rather than fresh rhubarb chunks, it ended up making the muffin mixture too dense and they wouldn’t rise nicely.
So I did what any amateur chef does and I turned to….google. Asking the all important question….”how do you make light and fluffy muffins?” and google answered.
- Do not over stir your batter (15 stirs max! really?!)
- Flour the fruit before you put in to stop it sinking (genius)
- Consider using frozen fruit because it doesn’t bleed as much as fresh fruit does (hadn’t thought of that)
- Fill your muffin moulds to the very top so that when they rise they puff over the top making the (in this situation only) very desirable big fat muffin top
- Scatter sugar on the tops before baking to give a crispy finish (yum)
- Cook them for a few minutes longer than you think you need to because an undercooked muffin will sink in the middle (another 5 mins I reckon)
- And lastly….check the use-by-dates on your baking powder and other leavening agents because if they’re out of date then they won’t work as well (guilty as charged…I had baking powder from 2014 and bicarbonate of soda from I am ashamed to say, 2012 cue embarrassed emoji face insert here)
So armed with my new googled knowledge I set about firstly clearing out my out of date section of the baking cupboard and I got back down to work. I mixed up more batter and this time using floured frozen blueberries I tried very hard to stir the mixture less as suggested and counting my stirs realised that 15 stirs is in fact just about right! Who knew! Seems funny but it’s a great way to know that you’ll get the same consistency of batter every time. It remains ever so slightly lumpy and only only just all mixed together.
Deciding to avoid the sticking-to-the-paper situation I just oiled the muffin tins directly and filled the mixture right up to the top, plus sprinkled some caster sugar on before baking. Success. The mixture rose really well (that teaches me to use baking powder that’s 2 years out of date), made a nice cripsy muffin top and had a lovely light texture. Hallelujah! My only criticism was that because my muffin tins weren’t that deep they still look sort of like flying saucers.
So this time I had to rely on Amazon coming to my rescue in the form of brand new deep silicone muffin trays and cupcake moulds. Well…..this changed everything. Not only did I no longer have muffins sticking to the paper cases or dripping unattractively down the sides of the paper, but now they popped right out of their little silicone moulds with super sexy fluted lines down the side. Bring it on.
Now I’ve mastered the recipe, the method, the timings and I have the right kit I am ready to share with you the world’s most perfectly perfect gluten free dairy free muffin recipe!
GF DF NF
You will need this:
- 2 cups of gluten free plain flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1to1 baking flour)
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup soya yogurt (plain or vanilla) or regular yogurt if not dairy free
- 4oz veggie butter melted
- 2 eggs
- tsp vanilla paste/extract
Blueberry & Lemon Muffins:
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries dusted in flour
- 2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 large lemon
Fig & Orange Muffins:
- 1 cup dried figs chopped
- 2tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- zest of 1 large orange
Double Chocolate Muffins:
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp almond milk
You make them like this:
- Measure out the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly (if making the chocolate muffins add the cocoa powder here)
- Measure out the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined (if making the blueberry/fig muffins add the juice/zest here or the chocolate muffins add the milk here)
- Make a well in the centre of the dry bowl and pour in the wet mixture and stir gently with a large wooden spoon for 15 stirs maximum (honestly it works!) until literally just combined and still slightly lumpy looking
- Just before the last couple of stirs add in the blueberries/figs/chocolate chips and stir once or twice more to just combine
- Fill your silicone moulds/muffin tins/paper cups right to the top
- Sprinkle with a little bit of caster sugar
- Before popping into the oven at 180c for 15-18mins (as soon as they smell heavenly they’re probably cooked….don’t over cook them as they will be dry but don’t under cook them or they will sink and be soggy inside)
So I hope you have a chance to whip up some of this muffin magic….let me know which is your favourite flavour!