Their real name is muffins, but I like calling them small mini-cakes, they are single-serving, fluffy delicacies, fast and easy to prepare. This is one of the most common matching in Italy; it is definitely mouthwatering. Taste to believe!
Everyone has got their own Achilles’ heel in the kitchen! Something you have been trying to cook for long time again and again, but you have never been able to make properly! I always blame the oven for my failures, or bad luck!
My Achilles’ heel is muffins! I have never succeeded in making them well, but today…today it is a beautiful day, a day to remember because I have just baked my best muffins ever. I am so proud of myself!
Muffins fit best those who don’t have much self-control because they are single small portions: only one won’t spoil the diet. Of course, they are quite rich in calories, but if you do some exercise, or you fancy a healthy sweet breakfast, try this recipe!
Choose the ingredients very carefully:
- Apples: you don’t need to look for a specific kind of apples as you have to cut them into very small dices. Opt for a medium ripe one, so you may feel its compact texture at first bite.
- Cranberries: they are delicious. Their slightly acidic taste balances the sweetness of the apples. If you can’t find them, use some raisins instead.
- Butter: this recipe does want butter. None of the other ingredients combine with margarine or oil which would make the mini cakes greasy and taste unpleasant.
- Vanilla: you may use either vanilla extract or a whole bean. The result will be toothsome.
- Flour: opt for flour type 00 or wholegrain one to your taste, I usually opt for flour type 1 which is more rustic (not too rustic anyway); it makes the mini cakes pleasantly grainy and flavorful.
- Baking powder: the most suitable baking powder is composed of disodium pyrophosphate E450, sodium bicarbonate E500, and lightly vanilla flavored wheat starch. In Italy, Paneangeli or Bertolini are the most common baking powders.
A few secrets for baking very toothsome mini cakes:
- Cut the apples into tiny dices because big pieces of fruit hinder the rising process;
- Use a weak flour; if you use a strong flour for long rising process, your mini cakes won’t rise in the oven.
- A few recipes want a pinch of baking soda along with baking powder to favor the rising process. I have never used it, you choose to your taste.
- Mix all the ingredients at room temperature; when the batter is well combined, immediately divide it among muffin cups. Don’t let the batter rest because the rising process must be activated in the oven during the baking.
- The right quantity of baking powder plays a very important role: they may rise too much and then collapse, or may not rise at all. The right ratio is 24g of baking powder every 500g of flour type 00.
- If you like fluffier muffins opt for recipes which want yogurt and/or seed oil among their ingredients. Another trick for a smooth batter: replace 50g of flour with 50g of starch. Here I have used butter, they are delicious;
- Divide the among muffin cups with a ladle. Butter and slightly flour the silicone muffin cups before pouring the batter. You don’t have to butter or flour paper muffin cups, but you must place them into aluminum cups to keep their shape. Fill 2/3 of the cups to favor an even baking process: all the muffins will be done at the same time;
- Do not use the fan oven because it dries the top: the mini cake will get flat and burnt.
- Do not open the oven because the rising process will stop. The result? Flat and sad mini cakes.
- Do not rush: turn off the oven and let the mini cakes rest for about 5-6 minutes with the door opened halfway before taking them out of the oven. They will get perfectly dried but they won’t lose their round shape.
Easy and fast small mini cakes with pears and chocolate
- 260 gr pastry flour
- 120 gr butter
- 130 gr brown sugar
- 130 half skimmed milk
- 2 eggs
- 150 gr dried cranberries
- 2 apples
- 1 tps vanilla extract
- 16 gr Baking-powder
- chopped hazelnuts or almonds to taste
- Melt the butter completely in the microwave or in a pot over low heat;
- Mix all the liquid ingredients in this order: softened butter, eggs, sugar, and the milk at room temperature.
- Mix well until the batter, or use an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Whisk together flour, vanilla extract and baking powder;
- Add to butter mixture.
- Finally, add 150g of dried cranberries and the diced apples. The batter should be quite liquid;
- Divide it among muffin pans lined with paper baking cups.
- Add a few chopped hazelnuts or almonds on the top of the muffins to you taste before baking;
- Bake in pre-heated static oven at 180° for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven, for any reasons, otherwise your mini cakes will get flat;
- Then switch the oven off and open the door; let them cool down in the oven, only for 5-6 minutes;
- Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool down on a cooling rack.
- Combine them with some fruit and tea or coffee to taste for a delicious start of the day.
How can you store the mini-cakes?
They keep easily in a air-tight container at room temperature up to 4 days-they must not get wet. A tin or a glass contain fit too. Or freeze them to 3 months.