I came across this recipe in Tesco’s seasonal magazine (have I ever mentioned how much I love the free magazines you get at supermarkets? I normally find at least one recipe I like the look of). I am always on the hunt for blackberry recipes and this was a great one as the blackberries were whizzed up in the cake batter making them sweeter and less bitter than eating alone.
Black Velvet Cupcakes
- 100g plain chocolate, chopped
- 100g salted butter
- 180g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 200g self-raising flour
- 150g blackberries, crushed
For the frosting
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125g soft cheese, at room temperature
- 450g icing sugar
Preheat to oven 180C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of shallow, simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Stir the sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the eggs, then add 75ml boiling water and stir again. Sift in the flour and a pinch of salt, then add the crushed blackberries and mix well.
Divide the batter between the cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting, put the butter and soft cheese in a mixing bow. Mix with a hand whisk until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar, whisking for 2-3 minutes more. Chill until needed.
Using a palette knife, spread the frosting over each cake.
I always find myself craving something sweet and sugary mid-afternoon so one afternoon I decided to scour BBC food for a sweet treat and came across this Paul Rankin recipe for peanut butter cookies. Originally the recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips but I thought they would work well so included them. The cookies mixture was very short which led to very rich, short little cookies which were perfect as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
A terrarium is a glass container and can be interesting decorative objects to create a talking point and add greenery to a room. I have seen a lot on Instagram and on my bloglovin feed recently so I really wanted to make my own. It took me a while to find the right container for relatively cheap (some can be very expensive!) and luckily I found two; a square one from Wilkinsons on sale for £1.99 and a round glass bowl from ASDA Living for £6. The cacti can be found at a variety of shops such as IKEA, Homebase, florists, Wilkinsons and B&Q.
You will need:
- a glass container
- drainage stones
- decorative white stones
- optional: moss/fern
- Place a 1-2cm layer of small stones in the bottom of the container (this is for drainage).
- Then place 2-3cm of soil on top of the stones. Make a little well in the centre of the soil and place cactus in, pack soil around the cactus (make sure you gently tease the roots of the cactus before putting it in the container).
- Place an even layer of white stones on top of the soil. Add moss or fern if desired.
- Lightly water.
This month’s recipe for fruity, crumble-topped muffins are perfect for sliding into the autumn months. I even found some brown rustic-looking muffin cases in Sainsbury’s to complete the autumnal look of this recipe.
Apple and Oat Muffins
Ingredients for the topping
- 50g porridge oats
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 50g unsalted butter
For the base
- 250g plain flour
- 25g porridge oats
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 150g unsalted butter, diced
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 100ml milk at room temperature
- 1 apple, cored and cut into small pieces
Heat oven to 190C. Make the crumble topping first. Put the oats, sugar and flour into a mixing bowl and combine with your hand. Cut the butter into pieces, add to the bowl and rub into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Then gently squeeze the mixture together until it forms pea-like clumps. Set aside until needed.
Now make the base. Put the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest into a small mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Gently melt the butter in a small pan, leave to cool. Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl with a fork until just combined. Add the melted butter and the milk mixture to the flour mix in the bowl and stir gently until just combined – there is no need to beat this mixture.
Spoon the mixture into 12 paper cases in a muffin tray so they are evenly filled. Top each with an equal amount of chopped apple and gently press the pieces into the muffin mixture. Cover with the crumble topping, dividing it equally among the muffins, and gently press down on to the base.
Place in the heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and just firm when gently pressed in the centre. Set the tray on a wire rack and cool for a few minutes, then carefully lift the muffins out of the tray on to the rack.