Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Choc-Orange Muffins

When the batch of rum balls from a couple of weeks ago finally ran out it was time to make something else for the sweet tooths in the house. Muffins are something I have been baking a bit lately as they are larger than a cupcake, which is more satisfying for hungry boys and it doesn't seem to matter if you go the extra mile and finish them off with icing if you are pressed for time. Some of my recent muffins varieties have included Lemon Cranberry, Orange Cranberry as well as a favourite Chocolate Orange cake recipe that has also been converted into muffins. This is a lovely light recipe that doesn't make you feel too guilty about consuming them as there are no added fats (only sugar), and the light flavour of orange combined with chocolate is delicious.

Whilst preparing the mixture, I was thinking about the first time that I baked this cake after discovering it on Susan's blog - this was my first visit of many to her popular blog. It was mid last year and I was searching for something to bake for hubby's birthday and both chocolate and oranges had been in mind. Why oranges? Hang on a sec, there was even more behind the discovery of this recipe. Which lead me to a moment of sadness as I realised the first time I made this cake was the last time I was to utilise oranges from the prolific tree in our backyard...

The dear old tree used to be situated next to our shed and it was quite traumatic to pull it down to make way for our house extension. It wasn't our only backyard casualty however it was was the hardest to deal with. For years we had been provided with a bounty of oranges every winter and the tree had asked for so little in return. Very rarely was it watered, fed or maintained but it was so well established that it would keep on producing nonetheless. I'm sure that whenever I bake these muffins or the cake in the future I will always cherish the memory of our tree...

I tracked down a picture taken of the old darling on her last day alive :(

Choc-Orange Muffins (Adapted from Susan)
Makes 18-20 muffins

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (This was an addition to make them rise more as per other muffin recipes)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soy milk (Susan uses soy yoghurt which I never have on hand, soy milk works fine for me)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest

1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons orange juice (more as required)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the white flour, wholemeal flour, raw sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix until combined. Mix the soy milk, vanilla essence, balsamic vinegar, water, orange juice and zest in a smaller bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat by hand or with a mixer on low speed until well combined.

Place muffin sized papers in a muffin tray and fill each paper about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a small skewer comes out clean.

For the icing, place a cup of icing sugar in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and 2 teaspoons of orange juice. Mix until combined and add additional orange juice slowly until the icing reaches a smooth consistency.

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