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Fennel in a muffin.

I always find muffins so versatile and as wholesome as you want them. You really can add and take out what you like of the below recipe as long as you have the right quantity of the basics and the consistency is a thick but moist mixture when you are spooning into your muffin tray.

So heres my creation…with many, many variations…

Mix together:

  • 2 cups plain flour (use buckwheat flour if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup any kind of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • half cup ground flaxseed (completely optional, just added for more wholesomeness)

Stir in:

  • 1 cup shedded fennel (or just an extra cup of carrot it you don’t like/have fennel)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • half a cup grated apple (or pear or berries or mashed banana…)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or sultanas or dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds (I used walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (or ground almonds if preferred)

Beat:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • half cup plain yoghurt (or flavoured if you think it goes with the rest of ingredients)
  1. Fold egg mixture in with the rest, mixing well but not overstirring, if its looking a little dry add some more yoghurt. Spoon into well greased muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven at 180C / 350F. My fan oven cooks them in 20mins, depending on the oven they may need up to 30mins. As long muffins bounce back when you touch them and are nice and golden on top.
  2. Now go and make yourself a nice cuppa and enjoy your creation. Would love to hear about what flavours you experimented with!

lovely with a builders…

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Labour cake.

So after being nominated to make the cake for a good friends baby shower (oh you came to the right house hahahahahhahahaha!) I searched the internet for inspiration and this was what I came up with!

A cake like this is easy to make so long as you do a little bit of planning to start with. I had a look in my cupboards to see what different containers I could cook the different parts in. Then looked found an old canvas I could cover and use as a base, and formed a pattern with baking paper to suit those sizes.

I made a banana cake, but you can do any flavour you like so long as its not too light and fluffy (like a sponge). Needs to be fairly firm to make it easier to cut and ice later on.

Once your cakes/s are cooked and cooled down its time to put your pieces into place and make any adjustments you need to. As you can see I changed the position of the legs as decided it looked more realistic (ha!) that way.

Make sure you have all the accessories you need to decorate your cake, before you start with the icing, its much harder to get the sweets to stick when your icing has set.

I made a lemon icing. I used natural icing sugar which gave the lovely realistic yellow skin colour (!), but you can get different food colouring for different skin tones if you want.

For the icing:

Start with around 150g of softish butter, add a cup of icing sugar, then mix well with a couple of table spoons of boiling water. Once you have a smooth paste with no lumps, add lemon juice (or any other flavour you want – cocoa powder, orange essence, vanilla etc). Then keep adding icing sugar and water until you think you have enough icing for your cake. Make sure you have a thick paste to spread on with a knife. Don’t make it runny.

I first stuck the boobs and baby head down with icing so they wouldn’t roll away so easily. Then cover the whole cake with the icing using a knife or spatula and add your sweets before it sets. With the leftover icing, I then added some red food colouring for the lips, which I used a piping bag to put on. If you don’t have a piping bag, just cut a very small corner of a plastic bag and pipe with that.

And voila! Your labour cake is made!

One more word of advice, on the way to the baby shower, don’t get flustered and drop the whole thing on the pavement before you even get inside like I did. Fortunately I managed to savage a bit, but she was looking a little worse for wear by the time she was served up…

1. Make your pattern

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2. Shape the cake

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3. Icing and sweets

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4. A quick caesarian…yum

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