Berry Streusel Muffins

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Berry Streusel Muffins

Fresh or frozen berries can be used to make these eye-catching muffins. There are three steps to making these, all of them easy.

The brightness of the berries mean these look as tasty as they, well, taste.

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The cake rises up through the fruit, giving these a marbled pattern

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of these Berry Streusel Muffins, it was both the mother and the mother-in-law. Phil’s mum managed to leave a couple of bags of frozen fruit in the freezer after her last visit. I was wondering what I could possibly use them for, when my mum casually mentioned that she needed cakes for the church summer fete. Cakes, and lots of them.

I think everyone who bakes has at least one beloved cake, bar or biscuit can they can produce with a moment’s notice. Sadly for me, my standby choices of Lemon Drizzle and fresh Scones are also my mother’s favourites, so I couldn’t rely on these. Well, I made a Lemon Drizzle, because these will always sell, along with a Lemon and Elderflower cake (making good use of the Lemon and Elderflower Syrup I made earlier this summer.)

I’ve already shared my Rhubarb Crumble Cake with you. These use the same crumble topping, but their individual portion size makes them popular with people looking for something to eat straight away, or who don’t have a family at home to help them eat an entire large cake.

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Makes 12

Ingredients:

Cake:

4 oz / 110g caster sugar

4 oz / 110g unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 large eggs

6 oz /170g self-raising flour

3 tbsp buttermilk

Berry Topping:

10 oz / 280g mixed summer berries, fresh or frozen

1 oz / 30g caster sugar (or more to taste)

Streusel Topping:

2 oz / 60g plain flour

1 oz / 30g butter

½ oz / 15g caster sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

Prepare the berries and the streusel mix first so that you have everything to hand when it’s time to assemble your muffins.

Rinse the berries if using fresh. Place in a large saucepan with the sugar and cook over a low heat until the berries have released their juice and begun to break down, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Use the back of the spoon to break up any larger berries that are still intact. Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly.

Next up, the streusel topping. Using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done using a stand mixer or hand whisk, but don’t worry if you have neither; this batch is small enough to be mixed by hand, using a clean wooden spoon. Add the vanilla, and then your eggs one at a time. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled at this point, I promise it will all come together!

Sift in the flour and stir in until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk and beat until smooth.

Spoon equal amounts into your muffin cases. I find that using an ice cream scoop with a release does this neatly, but also gives you a perfect measure for each cake. Spoon your berry mixture over the top of each muffin – there’s no need to be especially neat here as the cake mix with push up through a lot of the fruit as they bake and rise, however you will want about a dessert spoon of berry mix for each muffin.

Sprinkle over the streusel mix. These will need to bake for about 35 minutes until the cakes have risen and the streusel is golden. Test the cakes to make sure they’re done – insert a sharp knife or a skewer and check if it comes away clean, or simple gently press down on the surface of one of the muffins. If it springs back, it’s done.

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Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue to cool.

Once cool, store in an airtight cake tin. These can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days, and are generally at their best on the second day.

Printable PDF: Berry Streusel Muffins

 

 

 

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Tart rhubarb, crunchy crumble, and a rich, moist sponge – this cake has a lot to offer!

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Rhubarb Crumble Cake

 

The local rhubarb season is still going strong, and what a season it’s been! I still have a bag full of rhubarb waiting to be used, courtesy of my dad’s garden. I need to be quick about it too – courgette season is almost upon us, which will be even more productive by the looks of things. Produce anxiety, is that a thing?

This cake is traditional loaf cake at heart, designed to be eaten over the course of a few days – if it lasts that long! The addition of rhubarb crumble sets it apart, making it equally at home served warm with custard. Personally I’m a big fan of opening the cake tin and peeling back the paper to find you still have a slice or two of cake left to enjoy with a cup of tea. It happens occasionally.

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No dainty slices here – you want a piece you can get your teeth into

The cake itself is rather dense, with a nice crumb, which lends itself well to supporting the double topping of stewed fruit and crumble. The rhubarb is tart, even with the addition of sugar, and if you are lucky you will end up with dark edges where the rhubarb has caught against the side of the pan and turned to smoky caramel. The crumble topping begins as crunchy and relaxes into something chewier as the cake ages.

And boy does this cake age well! I like to leave it for at least a day before cutting, and it can happily sit in a cool, dark place for up to five days as long as it’s well wrapped.

I’ve used buttermilk in this recipe, but you can use ordinary milk without any ill effects. This cake always takes longer than I expect to bake. Once the cake has been in the oven for 45 minutes, insert a skewer or sharp knife. If it comes away clean, the cakes is ready. If it has batter clinging to it, give the cake another 10-15 minutes before testing again. Thanks to the density of the topping, there is very little danger of the cake over baking.

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If the edges catch, be prepared for caramelised rhubarb

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

100g / 3 ½ oz unsalted butter, softened

170g / 6 oz golden caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

170g / 6 oz self raising flour

2 large eggs

4 tbsp buttermilk

Rhubarb topping:

2 – 3 medium stalks rhubarb

30g / 1oz white sugar, or more to taste.

Crumble:

60g / 2 oz plain flour

30g / 1 oz butter

30g / 1 oz golden caster sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and line your loaf tin.

Prepare the rhubarb and the crumble before you begin on your cake batter so that everything is to hand when you come to assemble your cake.

Wash and trim the rhubarb. Cut into 1 inch / 2cm long slices and place in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sugar. You are likely to need some liquid to persuade the rhubarb to stew, however the amount you will need annoyingly depends upon the rhubarb itself. Start by adding a tablespoon, and add spoon by spoon if the pan seems dry. I tend to use water, however orange juice or even pineapple juice work well and bring a little extra sweetness while matching the tartness of the rhubarb.

Stir until the majority of the pieces have broken down into gloopy, stringy mess, then remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

To make the crumble, measure the butter and flour into a large bowl. If the butter is hard, use a butter knife to ‘cut’ it into the flour, until there are no large pieces left. Rub the mix between your fingertips until the butter is worked in and the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Place on one side.

In a fresh mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Crack in both eggs, followed by the buttermilk, and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and use a spatula or the back of your wooden spoon to smooth the surface.

Spread roughly 7oz / 200g of sweetened stewed rhubarb across the top of the sponge mix using a rubber spatula to smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the top. You want the crumble to be rather hearty to stand up to the other layers, so don’t shy away from using all of it.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. After this time has elapsed, test the cake using a skewer or the blade of a sharp knife. If this comes away clean, the cake can be removed from the oven, otherwise allow the cake to bake for a further 10-15 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool within the loaf tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake is completely cool, wrap in greaseproof paper and place in an airtight tin. Eat within 3-5 days.

This cake can be frozen for up to three months. If freezing, wrap in greaseproof paper, as above, then wrap in foil. Allow to defrost at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight. Freezing can cause the crumble topping to become a little soggy, so consider placing in a loaf tin and returning to a 180°C / 350°F oven for 10 minutes to revive, then allow to cool before serving.

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Crumbs!

Printable PDF: Rhubarb Crumble Cake