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Recipe: The Ultimate Adaptable (Rhubarb, This Time) Muffin Recipe

Thanks Clare for giving us this recipe, all those years ago...





This muffin recipe is totally flexible- It can be used to make anything from double chocolate birthday cakes to sophisticated sweet herb flavoured mini muffins.

In this version, the rhubarb is microwaved before using hot in the cake mix to add a moist fruitiness throughout the muffins- so the mixture goes crazy and bubbly as you try to get it into the tins!


The picture above shows vegan rhubarb muffins made with 1/4 cup cocoa and 100g dark chocolate added. They taste really rich, moist and fruity but not particularly rhubarby- like carrot or beetroot cakes don't really taste of carrot or beetroot. They didn't last long...



Ingredients (makes 12)


· 2 cups self raising flour

· ½ cup sugar

· ¼ cup oil

· 1 egg or egg replacer

· 1 stick rhubarb

· 1tsp vanilla, if wanted

· Orange juice, milk or milk replacer – variable quantities depending how juicy the rhubarb is, no more than ½ cup


Other options include: Replacing ¼ cup of the flour with cocoa, adding broken up chocolate or chocolate chips, adding nuts, orange essence… completely changing which fruits are used…- the only real rule is that the mix needs to end up with no dry flour in it and spoonable (not too runny) before cooking- and an important bit of advice is that if you add more than 2 or so cups of fruit, the muffins will fall apart when you try to get them out of the tins. They’ll still taste great, though!


You will also need


· A sharp knife and chopping board

· A muffin tray or cake tin (or deep baking tray)

· A mixing bowl

· A small microwave-proof bowl and plate to cover

· A wooden spoon

· Two dessert spoons

· A bendy spatula, if you have one, to get the last of the muffin mix out of the bowl


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C if cooking muffins or 160 degrees C if making a deep cake

  2. Chop rhubarb into pieces approx. 2cm long and place in microwave bowl with plate to cover

  3. Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until soft and mushy

  4. Add all the dry ingredients to your bowl and mix

  5. Add oil, egg, vanilla (if using) and microwaved rhubarb to the dry ingredients and mix. The acid in the rhubarb will react with the raising agent in the flour and go VERY bubbly- don’t worry, this is OK!

  6. If the mix is too dry to spoon easily, or there is any flour still visible, add a little liquid (orange juice or milk) at a time until you have a stiff muffin mix.

  7. Spoon into the muffin tray or cake tray

  8. Bake muffins for about 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees C or if using a cake tin, for 45 minutes or so at 160 degrees C.


Check if muffins are done by pressing gently on one with a finger. If the muffin is springy, it’s cooked. Egg-free cakes tend to be softer and less springy than ones with egg- so if you’re cooking vegan cakes for the first time, take care not to overcook the muffins. If you do overcook them, serving them warm with icecream, yoghurt or custard (vegan ones are nice!) is delicious and makes it seem like you meant them to be just as they are!


Check if cake is done by pushing a skewer through to the middle. If the skewer comes out clean, it’s cooked. The finger test can go wrong with thick cakes even if they DO contain egg: The top of the cake can be springy when the middle is still raw. If the top of the cake is getting overcooked but the skewer is coming out with cake mix on it, cover the cake tin with a baking tray or larger cake tin. This will let the cake continue cooking but protect the top from burning.


These freeze really well and microwave back to delicious warm fruitiness in less than a minute - they’re great for picnics, lunch boxes, parties or having handy, just in case!

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