Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Of famished food bloggers and muffins

Now, this will make you laugh:  yesterday was a busy day with one thing and another - so busy in fact that in the afternoon I started to feel sick.  What happened?  It turns out that I had forgotten to eat!  How silly is that - a food blogger who forgets to feed herself? :-)  It did make me laugh (once I felt a bit better).  I think it was because I spent most of the morning in the kitchen, preparing food, having little tastes here and there and I just didn't feel hungry when it came to mealtime.  I won't let that happen again!

One of the reasons I was busy was that I was making a batch of muffins for our local community centre.  I think you will like these too - they have been inspired by the German cake "Donauwelle" ( = waves of the river Danube) which is normally baked as a tray bake.  It's a lovely mixture of marble cake, cherries, cream or cream patisserie (basically custard) and chocolate.

I needed the cakes to be portable and easy to eat, so I chose to make muffins and instead of a thick layer of whipped cream, I dug a little well into the muffin and filled it with creme patisserie.  A cherry on top, a light sprinkling of melted chocolate and a dusting of icing sugar...job done!

I'd probably call these "Black Forest Muffins" as they remind me of a Black Forest cake - what do you think?

Black Forest Muffins (makes 15 - 18)

2 tins of cherries in light syrup (pitted, our tins are 425g including the syrup)
250g butter, softened
200g sugar (I used caster sugar)
a pinch of salt
6 eggs, medium size
350 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 -3 heaped tbps cocoa powder (unsweetened) 
a little icing sugar for dusting

For the creme patisserie:
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
160ml milk
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
a little icing sugar

Also needed: a muffin tin and paper muffin cases

Method for the muffins:
  1. Drain the cherries, pat dry with some kitchen roll and cut in half (now is the time to remove any stray stones...I found three!). Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160c (fan oven) / 180c (conventional oven).
  3. In a bowl, mix the butter, sugar and pinch of salt until creamy.  One by one, beat in the eggs.
  4. Now add the flour and baking powder and briefly mix in - do not stir the mixture too much, just enough to combine and get rid of lumps.
  5. Divide the dough into two bowls - in one bowl, add the cocoa powder and stir in well.
  6. Put paper muffin cases into a muffin form.
  7. Start by spooning a layer of pale cake mix into the muffin cases (fill to about 1/3), add a couple of cherries and top with a layer of chocolate cake mix.  Finish off by gently pressing another couple of cherries into the chocolate layer.
  8. Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  9. Once cooled, scoop out a well in the middle of the muffin with a teaspoon or knife (don't scoop out too much - a teaspoon worth will do it...you can freeze the scooped-out cake to use in a trifle).
  10. Fill a teaspoonful of creme patisserie (see method for this below) into the well, dust the muffin with icing sugar and decorate with another cherry.
OPTIONAL:  you can sprinkle melted chocolate on top of the muffins but that is purely optional 

Method for the creme patisserie (as per BBC Good Food):
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they turn a pale.
  2. Whisk in the cornflour and set aside.
  3. Place the milk and vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time, then return the mixture to the pan. It is important to pour the hot milk onto the cold eggs before you return the mixture to the pan to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
  6. Bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for one minute, whisking continuously, or until smooth.
  7. Pour the cream into a clean bowl and dust with icing sugar to prevent a skin forming.
  8. Once slightly cooled, you can use this to spoon into your muffins (or fill pastry cases or other cakes).


  1. Wow, these look and sound amazing. I'll have to try them some time...

  2. I love anything with cherries. They look extremely yummy to me!

    1. I love cherries and I think these little cakes are fab :-) Kirsten x

  3. Mmm Black Forest Cake is my absolute fav. These look great! Did they take a long time from go to whoa?

    1. I think you might like these if you love Black Forest Cake! It really didn't take long to make the muffins - 20 minutes baking time plus the mixing of the dough etc, so maybe about 45 minutes in total. And you can always use whipped cream or ready custard if you don't want to make the filling yourself which will make it quicker. Kirsten x

  4. Black Forest Cake is also my favourite cake. These muffins look absolutely delicious. I like the addition of custard in your reply above.

    1. Thank you - I think the custard really helps make these special and less dry as muffins sometimes can be (although the cherries also help with that. Kirsten x