cherry-pumpkin seed muffin-cakes

28 Aug

One of my favourite things about Matthew (my own sweet dearheart) is that he doesn’t like fruit in sweets. Which means no chocolate-covered strawberries, no mango slices in the centre of a coconut-vanilla layer cake, no plum and orange muffins. And I don’t mind this one bit, because it means there’s more for me.

The only fruit he’ll admit to be ‘OK’ in a muffin are blueberries and cranberries and that is ONLY because, in his words, ‘what else would you do with them?’ And in certain circumstances cherries. Occasionally bananas, because banana bread is lovely. But mostly when it comes to desserts fresh fruit belongs under a heap of cream and nowhere else (when questioned he eventually decided that dried fruit is fine, because Christmas fruit cake is lovely, but then it’s drenched in booze).

Regardless, as the summer begins to trail autumn-wards, fruity muffins are the perfect midday treat.

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These muffins are definitely cakier than regular muffins, but not really cakey enough to be considered real cake or cupcakes. They’re just that little bit hearty, and the small pockets of eversoslightly tart cherries help remind you it really is still summer. This recipe is based on the Cranberry Orange Loaf from Veganomicon, which I HIGHLY recommend as a cookbook library staple. I used the cherries because they’re more in season and added both sunflower and pumpkin seeds in an effort to make them healthier. It makes only about 4 large muffins, but then sometimes that’s really all you need.

ingredients:

1/4 c. milk (whole or soya)
3 tbsp. orange juice
3 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1 c. plain wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder (plus a pinch more for good measure)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch or two cinnamon
2 tsp. orange zest (or grapefruit, which is a delicious substitute)
1/2 c. pitted cherries
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (or 1/4 c. each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

method:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, plus the sugar. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth, then fold in the orange zest, along with the cherries and the seeds. Spoon into greased ramekins, or muffin cups, about 3/4 full.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 C/gas 4 for about 40 minutes, or until the top begins to turn golden. Do let them cool after you’ve removed them from the oven before turning them out.

Perfect at breakfast or with a buttercream frosting for dessert!

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