The latest Bake Along challenge is for these lovely baked doughnut muffins from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day. I can’t remember ever making traditional fried doughnuts and to be honest they would never be top of my list for a tea time treat. I would probably have given this challenge a miss had it not been for my complete failure at making the last challenge which was a Japanese cheesecake. I’m so glad I did try these as they are much nicer (in my opinion) than the heavy, fried version which seems to be so popular these days.
I made large muffins but I think next time I would opt for the smaller version as they would probably be easier to handle. My favourite version so far has been Bake For Happy Kids which were done in a cake pop tin. They look like the perfect size.
My kids eat a lot of fruit. 3 kgs of grapes, 1kg of blueberries, 16 plums, 12 apples, 6 bananas, 4 pears, 2 punnets of strawberries and a couple of oranges – and that’s just in a week! The first thing people say (apart from our dentist) when you tell them is “you’re so lucky,” and I agree but it is so, so expensive. And as much as they love fruit it has to be the freshest, crispiest, crunchiest fruit that you can buy, so no bargain buys for me. The problem I had this week was that a lot of the blueberries were a bit squishy and I have to admit that even I struggle with soft, squishy blueberries but at £4 a punnet I have to find a way to use them up. I don’t necessarily want to turn them into a sugar and fat laden dessert just for the sake of using them up so the healthiest option for me are these blueberry and orange muffins I found in Annie Bell’s Baking Bible. The kids still refuse to eat them because of the squishy blueberries but they are the perfect snack for me together with my much loved daily cup of coffee. There is no butter in them and I have used a blend of sugar and stevia to cut down the sugar content and of course my favourite ingredient of the moment is the delicious seeded spelt flour from Sharpham Park. These muffins are not necessarily frugal if you have to go out and buy the ingredients but if like me you have some over ripe fruit to use up then it is preferable to throwing the fruit out.
These muffins are deliciously moist and stay fresh for a few days and like most muffins will freeze really well.
I can hardly contain my excitement whilst writing this post. Why? you may ask. It looks like just any other muffin topped with the usual artery clogging butter and sugar frosting. Well guess what – there is no butter, no refined sugar and it is grain free. I have most definitely not turned over a new leaf and gone super-duper healthy but I have been following the progress of a lady over in New Zealand who is trying to alleviate some of her health issues by changing her diet. Suzanne’s blog is over at Strands of My Life and is full of interesting information about using alternative products to change the way we eat. Suzanne is adamant that going gluten, dairy and refined sugar free should not mean that she cannot have her sweet treats and this gorgeous treat below and many others are as a result of her hard work to achieve this.
The muffin itself is made with coconut oil, coconut flour, honey, carrots, raisins, shredded coconut, eggs, bicarb and cinnamon. I found the first two products at Holland & Barrett and they are not cheap. £14.00 for the two products is a lot to pay but if you are plagued with food intolerances then you may have these items already. I was just curious and wanted to try them out for myself. The baked muffin is quite heavy and dense but not unpleasant. It is sweet and tasty and very moist. But the piece de resistance is the fabulous chocolate frosting. This is made from avocado, cocoa and honey. It is unbelievably thick and creamy and has absolutely no taste of avocado. Suzanne explains about the benefits of avocados so I will not repeat it here. If like me, you have children then you will know that it is usually the frosting on a cupcake that they go for, leaving the cupcake for someone else to finish off (me). Every time I watch my children devour all this butter and sugar I feel guilty but this would be so different. Yes, avocados contain fat but it is good fat and honey is so much better for you than all that refined sugar that makes up icing sugar.
I have just returned from picking my 6 y/o up from school and couldn’t wait for him to try one of these muffins. I had placed the muffin so that he would see it as soon as he came into the kitchen and of course he begged to have it there and then. I was trying to act as normal as possible so as not to alert him to the fact that is was different. He took his first lick of icing, looked at me and said “did you make this?” Oh here we go, he’s sussed me out, I thought. “Yes,” I said, “why?” He walked over to me and gave me a big hug and said “this is so yummy, thanks.” He didn’t eat the muffin but that is not unusual.
The next time I make chocolate cupcakes for the kids I will definitely use this frosting. It is just so much healthier than the buttercream frosting I normally use.
For this fabulous recipe and more information on going grain, dairy and refined sugar free pop over to
We all have recipes that we turn to time and time again. The ones that never let us down, the guaranteed crowd pleasers, the ones that just make us feel good. These banana muffins are one such recipe. I hate to think how many I have made over the years. They freeze beautifully so there is no excuse to not have some freshly made muffins on hand when those unexpected visitors pop in. I normally let my bananas ripen until the skin is black and really soft. They look terrible but have so much more flavour than their yellow and slightly under ripe partners. If I am not ready to make the muffins I’ll peel and mash them up and freeze the pulp until such time as I am ready to bake.
Today was such a grey, miserable day with the rain lashing down from early morning that I could think of nothing nicer than putting a fresh pot of coffee on to brew and having some fresh home cooked banana muffins to cheer us up.