Blackcurrant Buckle is one of the cakes I grew up with, but I haven’t made it for many many years and indeed I don’t even know where the recipe is – buried in one of my mother’s piles of clippings somewhere I suspect. When I was unexpectedly given a punnet of blackcurrants the other day, I decided on the spur of the moment, now was the time to try blackcurrant buckle once again.
As some of my regular readers will know, I try to ensure that most of my baked goods contain mostly healthy ingredients. Indeed they are a good vehicle for nuts, fruit, seeds and various super foods. I generally use at least half wholemeal, spelt or other healthy flours in my baking. I use organic eggs where possible and properly free ranging hen and duck eggs when it’s not. I believe organic butter where the cows have been grass fed is also nutritious (in moderation). Chocolate, it goes without saying is good for you 😉 My main concern is sugar – I haven’t managed to convince myself on this one. I use raw sugars in the main and do use other sweeteners such as Rapadura and agave syrup sometimes. But these substitutes are expensive and I do have rather a sweet tooth. I just hope, the other nutritious ingredients counteract the bad of the sugar. For more information on Rapadura and other ingredients I use see ingredients are the key – ties in very nicely with this month’s healthy theme.
But when Chele announced that the theme for this month’s We Should Cocoa was healthy eating, I thought I’d go the whole hog and produce something that was properly good for you. One of my Christmas presents from CT was a packet of chia seeds. Chia seeds are said to be super healthy: they contain omega 3, vitamin B, complete protein, anti-oxidants and fibre. It is also claimed they can replace half the conventional fat in any recipe with no discernible effects on taste and texture. The secret is to soak the seeds in water for 15 minutes before using. They form a gel, which is then ready to be used. This seemed to be a good opportunity to put these claims to the test.
So for added nutrition, I rather nervously thought I’d create a muffin recipe using wholemeal spelt and oats, some of the pumpkin butter I made back along, Rapadura rather than sugar and of course, chia seeds. I also had a jar of raw chocolate and almond spread that I hadn’t yet used and thought this would be suitable for the chocolate element.
This is what I did:
- Spooned 1 level tbsp of chia seeds into a jug.
- Topped it up with water to 50ml and left to soak for 15 minutes.
- Beat 2 eggs with 120g rapadura and 35ml sunflower oil for a few minutes until well incorporated and bubbly.
- Beat in 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin butter.
- Stirred in the chia seeds (which had indeed turned to gel)
- Sifted in 200g wholemeal spelt, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Folded this into the egg mixture together with 50g rolled oats.
- Spooned this into 12 muffin cases.
- Placed a small teaspoon of raw almond and chocolate spread on top and scattered over a few oats.
- Baked at 180C for 23 minutes.
These had a nice flavour with a rich aroma of molasses, but they weren’t overly sweet. They were firm, substantial and chewy and had a crunchy top. CT’s comment was “it tastes like it’s probably good for you”. They’d be ideal as a breakfast muffin, but I think I’d feel a bit short changed if I got these as a tea-time treat. The chocolate spread was really good and I’m not sure why I haven’t used it before.
PS 18 February – Nearly one month after making these, I’ve just found two muffins hidden in one of my cake tins and amazingly they are not only still edible, but really nice – I shall have to rename these indestructible muffins!
- Melt 6 oz butter in a pan with 5 oz Rapadura (or brown sugar of choice) and mix thoroughly.
- Sieve 4oz flour (3 oz wholemeal spelt & 1 oz buckwheat) into a bowl together with 1 tsp baking powder, 1.5 oz cocoa, 2 oz lucuma and a large pinch of salt (Himalyan pink).
- Make a well in the centre and pour butter mixture in. Mix this together with 3 eggs (still no duck eggs to be found).
- Mix in 1 large tbsp yogurt.
- Spoon mixture into a 21 cm round cake thingie and bake for 30 mins at 180C (gas 4).
Whatever flour a recipe states, I tend to substitute a different one! This is mostly because I try to turn rather decadent baking offerings into something that can be as healthy as possible whilst still remaining delicious. I very rarely use plain old white flour when baking. Nor do I use self-raising flour as I prefer to add a good quality gluten free raising agent myself.
I’ve had such a fun day. First making some chocolate goodies, then distributing them around town and seeing the delight on people’s faces and finally trying them out myself. Well, it is Chocolate Week and I couldn’t let it pass without doing something! So, I thought I’d make some cupcakes for the good burghers of Liskeard and brighten up their day. It certainly brightened up my day.
Green & Black’s being my favourite brand of good quality but affordable chocolate, I was devastated when it was taken over by Cadbury’s. I am not a huge fan of multi-nationals.
People keep asking me why I use duck eggs for baking. Well, when it came down to it, I knew that duck eggs were meant to be much better than chicken eggs, but didn’t exactly know why. Where did I pick this up? I couldn’t exactly say, it’s just something I seem to have always known. Having been asked the question, I’ve had to think about it. Is it because the duck yolks seem to be much bigger in proportion to the egg whites? Cakes do seem to be a little richer, a little lighter. Am I imagining this? I think some investigation is called for.
I’m probably kidding myself, but I like to think my baking is actively good for folk as well as tasting pretty damn good. Good quality ingredients are crucial for making tasty and nutritious fare. With this in mind I try to use certified organic ingredients where possible, although locally sourced and fairly traded are also important.
Like many people, I have to confess to a decided penchant for chocolate. It started off many years ago when, as a child, I would save up my pocket money until I had enough to buy a bar of “Old Jamaica”. It’s ended up with something a little more sophisticated – preferably organic and with a much higher cocoa content.