Two reasons – the first is that it makes us feel good. Baking is an old school activity, from way back in the day when Mother didn’t work, because Mothers were mothers. They had time to bake, and their families expected it because there weren’t any such things as Spinneys cupcakes. And when kids came home from school on the local horse and cart, they would run inside and eat Mother’s delicious baked thingies and think she was the most wonderful thing in the world. Then they would eat liver and brussel sprouts for dinner. Baking makes us feel like accomplished domestic goddesses – we can do everything Granny did, and we can “Facebook”…
The second reason is that when we cook it ourselves, we know exactly what goes into it. And after working at restaurants for many years, I would say you definitely want to know. It’s not necessarily the artificial flavours and preservatives I’m referring to, but the levels of fat, salt and sugar that are required to prepare a restaurant quality dish. Or for that matter, Spinneys quality cupcakes.
So here is my easiest baking recipe ever. Sorry, measuring is involved, but only because if you don’t get close to correct, it doesn’t rise, and then you end up with bananaberry cookies. But please don’t get out the spatula to flatten the tops of cups – it only needs to be close.
- 2 and 1/2 cups flour (if you use self raising, skip the baking powder below)
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 125g butter (melted)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 banana (the riper the better)
- 1 punnet of raspberries
- sift all the dry ingredients into a big bowl, and blend the other ingredients in a blender
- stir wet mix into dry lightly in a figure 8 motion (basically, don’t beat the stuff up – you want to keep the air in)
- place in greased mini-muffin tins (mine are about 3cm in diameter) and cook for 15 minutes in a 200ºC oven (may take longer depending on the size of your muffin tins)
Remember it’s best to preheat your oven, and once you put the muffins in, don’t open the door unless the muffins are pretty close to cooked – it won’t kill them, but too much change in temperature can affect the rising. These are muffins and so don’t need to be iced, but if you must, use a butter frosting like you would on a carrot cake. But really, they’re best still warm with some butter in the middle – mmmmmm butterlicious.
PS – the whole self raising V plain flour thing? Personally, I think this recipe is better with Self Raising – it’s less likely to get that squeaky tooth-coating texture. But if you want to use a different flour, eg. Gluten Free, Spelt or Wholemeal (I’ve tried the first two and they work fine – the Spelt much better), then this is your only option. You can also reduce the mix, just remember that 1 cup of flour needs about 2 teaspoons of baking powder to rise like the picture above – a bit less will work, but your muffins will be denser.