With the start of a new year people are often inspired to try new things, make new resolutions, start new habits. It’s equally a good and bad time to do this. It feels like a fresh start, twelve months ahead of you to plan and map out and to put behind you anything from the previous year you may want to forget.
This is all great, but the problem is January is a bit of a long and dreary month and it can be difficult to carry the momentum from January’s first few days right through to the 31st. I haven’t really made any resolutions this year, nothing specific anyway. A few people have talked about intentions for the year ahead, which I like because it doesn’t feel like a box to check off (as much as I enjoy a list) and it’s less a matter of potential failure and more about trying to fulfill that intention.
To help me through January I have a few new things of my own: (more…)
Gingerbread is one of my favourite types of cake. I’m not even that fussy about it being homemade, McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake is amazing with a spread of butter on top. Home baked is best though, especially when paired with this nutty, caramel-y brown butter frosting – delicious!
I baked these cupcakes this past weekend for the Glasgow Baking Club Christmas meet up, which was a very lovely Sunday afternoon round at Bex beautiful flat! It was just a small gathering of us this week but that made for a cosy chat around the kitchen table with good laughs and great cake. It was fun to see some of Bex decorations in ‘real life’ too after reading about them on her blog, they looked fab!
My favourite part about these cute little cakes is the way they look. I spotted those tartan cupcake cases in Paperchase last week and snapped them up right away. The only problem with the dark gingerbread is that you don’t pick up on the tartan too well, next time I would probably double line them with a white coloured case first so the tartan would show up better. (more…)
Happy Monday! I’m particular happy this Monday as there are only 4 weeks of work left before the Christmas holidays!! Not that I’m counting down or anything. I’ve started to feel particularly Christmas-y as of this weekend…I even cracked out my festive jumper on Sunday. It was probably a step too far but I love it so much and it was Christmas present last year so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to wear it in the new year.
I’ve also started to think about what gifts I’m going to make this year. Vanilla extract was on the list a while ago but I’m too late for that one. Last year I made jars of popcorn, granola and cookie/brownie mix. Possible gifts this year are jams and chutneys, bags of sweets or festive shortbread. For some reason I’m feeling particularly craft this year, so there might even be an attempt at making my own Christmas cards, but I’ll have to see about that one.
Aaanyway, that’s enough Christmas chat for now. Here, as promised, are some pear laden muffins! Pear, cranberry and some – delicious as a snack in their own right – walnuts. I was concerned that the fresh cranberries could be overly tart in the muffins so before adding the walnuts to the mix, they are roasted in cinnamon sugar which makes them super delicious.
The cranberry does give a bright, kick to the muffins but the sweet pear along with the subtle spice of the earthy walnuts perfectly counterbalances it. A generous sprinkling or sugar and some extra walnuts gives a lovely crunch and texture contrast too.
These muffins were a surprising hit with my workmates , but maybe that was just the free cake on a Friday morning. As one colleague suggested they would made a great breakfast over the festive period. They are quick to put together in the morning if you were up for it, or they could be wrapped and frozen after baking then defrosted overnight to be popped in the oven to reheat in the morning. (more…)
Today we’ve got some comforting, seasonal flavours in the form of Spiced Pear Cake. I think pears are going to be my go-to ingredient for the next week or so. In the summer it was strawberries which were taking over every baked good to emerge from my kitchen. Last month I added a cupful of pureed pumpkin to almost anything. So, for what little remains of November, pear is going to be my thing.
Whilst day-dreaming about cake at work today…not that I do that often or anything…my mind came up with the idea of Pear Cranberry and Pecan muffins, so stay tuned for them next week.
This cake is a perfect bridge between autumn and winter, it’s hard to believe on a day where there was snow outside my office and the temperature couldn’t climb much higher than 2 degrees, that just on Saturday I was admiring the golden orange leaves on a mild morning in the park.
The delicate flavour and texture of the pear, pairs (ha!) wonderfully with the warming cinnamon spice. It is a variation on the cake portion of my nectarine and orange cupcakes, which is seriously the most versatile cake batter ever! (more…)
More pumpkin! These cute little cupcakes are super tasty and look great. The pureed pumpkin keeps them moist and with the addition of spices gives a perfect autumn flavour. I added in some white chocolate chips for extra sweetness and a touch of almond extract to balance the flavour of the icing.
Talking of the icing…it is definitely the best part of these cupcakes. Before now, my absolute favourite cupcake topping is peanut butter frosting. It is delicous, peanut butter at its finest. So I thought, why not exchange the peanut butter for almond butter, that could totally work. It does.