Banana & Pecan Cupcakes

I know bananas are still pretty expensive right now. But if you happen to have a couple of well ripened bananas lying around, why not put them to good use in this lovely recipe.

Cakes

225g plain flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 bananas
115g butter, roughly chopped and softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sour cream
55g pecans, chopped

Lemon Icing

135g butter, roughly chopped and softened
2 ½ cups icing sugar
juice of ½ a lemon
25g pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 190C.  Line a 12 1/3 cup capacity muffin tray with paper cases.

Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a mixing bowl, then set aside. Peel and roughly chop the bananas into a small bowl, mash with a fork and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in mashed banana and sour cream with a wooden spoon.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour mixture and chopped pecans.  Spoon a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each of the prepared paper cases.

Bake cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool

Lemon Icing:

Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Sift icing sugar over the top and add lemon juice. Beat until combined.

Spread icing on top of each cupcake and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans before serving.

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Blueberry & Lemon Syrup Cake

I do have a fondness for fruit in my baking. There are just so many flavour combinations to be made. This lemon syrup cake dotted with whole blueberries makes a lovely dessert. The warm lemony cake is nice and soft and sweet with the syrup soaked all through it.

225g butter, softened
225g raw caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g self raising flour, sifted
1 lemon, zested & juiced
25g almond meal
200g frozen blueberries

LEMON SYRUP
2 lemons, juiced
115g raw caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs until combined. Beat in the  lemon zest.

Fold through the sifted flour and almond meal with just enough lemon juice to give it a dropping consistency.

Fold 3/4 of the blueberries through the cake batter and then spoon it into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface and scatter the remaining berries on top.

Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour, until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup: Add lemon juice and sugar into a small bowl and mix together. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a skewer and pour over the lemon mixture.

Allow the syrup time to soak into the cake. Remove the cake from the tin just before serving, while it’s still warm. Cut the cake into squares to serve.

Cherry & Citrus Muffins

These little muffins are delicately fruity, with lemon and orange flavours and a crunchy top made from flaked almonds and sugar.  Each bite contains a burst of whole cherry which is just wonderfull, if you’re a fan of cherries like I am.

2¼ cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
½ cup milk
¼ cup sour cream
1 lemon, zested & juiced
1 orange, zested & juiced
½ cup caster sugar
300g frozen cherries

TOPPING

¼ cup flaked almonds
¼ cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole 1/3 cup muffin pan with paper cases.

Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, milk, sour cream, zests, juices and sugar.

Tip cherries into flour and toss gently to coat.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour and cherry mixture and stir until combined.

Fill paper cases about 3/4 full of cake batter. Combine almonds and extra sugar in a small bowl, then spoon a little over each muffin.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, until golden and tops spring back when gently pressed. Allow to cool in pan for 1 minute, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Berry Passion Cheesecake

I’ll admit I’m pretty proud of this one.  It’s a bit more impressive looking than what I’ve made lately, and it tastes amazing! The cheese part of the cake is creamy and has a delicate lemon flavour dotted with bursts of raspberry while the top layer has a tart fruity bite to it.

Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of experience working with gelatine, powdered gelatine in this case, which I find can be a little tricky.  I think it’s a bit difficult to get rid of the lumps before it’s cool enough to use. It might be cheating, but I like to add more powdered gelatine and then remove the lumps of gelatine once it’s cooled enough to use.  I haven’t added any extra gelatine to the ingredients below but I think I added less than half a teaspoon.

olive oil cooking spray
250g Nice biscuits
125g unsalted butter, melted

500g light cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
300ml light thickened cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300g frozen raspberries

3 teaspoons gelatine powder
¼ cup boiling water
2 passionfruit, halved
¼ cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
¼ cup water

Release the base from a 20cm round springform pan. Lightly spray the base and sides of the pan with oil then line with baking paper.

Break up and process the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and process until combined. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon to spread and press the biscuit mixture firmly over the base and most of the way up the side of the pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the cream and beat until well combined.

Place the boiling water in a small heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatine and use a fork to stir until it dissolves. Set aside for about 10 minutes to cool.

Add the gelatine mixture and lemon juice to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined. Fold through half of the frozen raspberries. Pour into the prepared pan and quickly smooth the surface.

Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or over overnight to chill.

Once the cake is nearly, or has set, defrost the remaining raspberries and process in a food processor until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.

Stir in the passionfruit pulp and extra sugar.

Combine the cornflour and water in a small bowl. Add to the pan. Stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour over and spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake.

Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set.