Wednesday, 23 February 2011

back to the trail head

I am gonna take a huge step back in time...

...that is, back to the trail head of my baking journey.

With a newly acquired oven and a short break from baking, I will have to go back to the beginning, following the trail that I have left behind since I last embarked on my baking journey. I will start from the very basic, moving one step at a time, hopefully by doing so, I am able to learn and re-learn some of the things that I have picked up over the past few years. I wish I could also move out of my comfort zone, be a little more adventurous in trying out new recipes; be brave enough to challenge more advanced techniques, especially those which make my knees wobble before I even got through reading the first three steps of the instructions.

As I move from one milestone to another...making quick breads, cookies before progressing to layered cakes and bread making, I am certain I would take side steps along the way. It is hard to fight off the temptation to replicate mouth-watering desserts that appeared on my screen each time I visit a food blog, it certainly doesn't help that I am a loyal follower to a long list of favourite food bloggers. Thanks to them, they are my daily sources of inspirations, my teachers :)

So here I am, back to the first batch of muffins right out of my oven.

Muffins are one of the first few 'cakes' I learned to bake from cookbooks and online baking sites.  I could still remember reading up on how to achieve the perfect high-domed muffins. Not only are muffins simple and quick to put together, they are also very forgiving and highly adaptable. As long as you stick to some of the fundamental baking rules, you can always play around with the ingredients.

These Mixed Berries Muffins are unique to my baking repertoire though. They are made using the 'creaming method' instead of the usual 'muffin method' which I am more comfortable with. The process of making these muffins is not very different from making cupcakes or butter cakes, where you beat butter and sugar together before adding eggs, milk and fold in the flour to form the batter. 

I baked them using the top and bottom heat function of my Bosch oven. The muffins were baked to a nice golden brown when the cooking time was up. It is great that my new oven comes with a digital timer. The oven will not turn off when the timer beeps. Which is what I prefer. Baking time stated in recipes serves as a guide only, everyone's oven works differently, so we may need to either remove the cake earlier from the oven or leave it to bake a minute or two longer. The oven function is not as limited as it seems. It actually allows you to set it in such a way that you could let it turn on or/and turn off automatically at a specific time, I find this very useful for heating up food or using if to cook food where cooking time is not that critical.

I must confess, although I very much prefer muffins that are made using the muffin method, these are by far the most flavorsome muffins I have ever made. The crumbs are soft, fluffy and buttery, if not for the berries, they taste just like their pretty cupcake cousins. I have lost my sweet tooth totally, even though I had taken the liberty to cut down on the sugar amount, I still find them a little on the sweet side. My children have no complains though.  These little cuppies will go very well with a cup of hot it on a late morning or a lazy afternoon.

Would you care to join me on my baking trail?

Mixed Berries Muffins

(makes 8 muffins)

110g unsalted butter, soften @ room temperature
50g caster sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
50g light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
1 1/2 eggs (large), lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40ml milk
160g plain flour ((original recipe calls for 140g flour, 20g almond powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g blueberries
100g strawberries (optional)

  1. Wash and drain blueberries and strawberries. Cut strawberries into small chunks. Dry berries with paper towels and toss them in 1~2 teaspoons of flour(extra). Set aside.
  2. Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. With an electric whisk, cream butter with sugar till the mixture turns pale, light and fluffy.
  4. Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter.
  5. Add vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  6. Add milk followed by two tablespoons of the flour mixture in Step 2. (The flour mixture is added to prevent the batter from curdling when the milk is added.) Whisk to combine.
  7. Sieve over remaining flour mixture and add in the berries. With a spatula fold the mixture until the flour is just incorporate into the batter. DO NOT over mix. The batter should be thick and not thin and runny.
  8. Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180degC for 25~30 min until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Recipe source: adapted from 初试身手做甜点, 信太康代


Lara said...

Welcome back HHB, so nice to have u must be enjoying your new kitchen:))

鲸鱼蓝蓝蓝 said...

thanks for sharing,its nice:P

fuat gencal said...

Ellerinize, emeğinize sağlık. Çok leziz ve iştah açıcı görünüyor.


The Sweetylicious said...

it look so nicely baked and mouthwatering! (:

CaThY said...

Pretty berries muffins! Bookmarked the recipe! *^_^*

busygran said...

Long no see, no hear! Glad you're back! Lovely muffins for starters!

ann low said...

WOW..the mixed berries muffins look so pretty and delicious! Welcome back HBB :)

Caroline said...

Welcome back! I love taking a step back sometimes. It really lets me focus on the basics instead of just gossing over a recipe and assuming I know what I'm doing. When I take the time to really read the recipe and know why I'm doing a particular step, I'm usually very pleased with hthe end result! Mfuffins are so basic, but I am so picky about them, they're usually way too dry or way too oily. These look perfect.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful muffins! There are few things better than a fresh, hot muffin to make one stop and take the time to say, "Ahh."

sherlyn said...

Yes, yes, I think I want to follow your trail.. not sure if I will be able to .. so muffin first ya? hmm tmr I shall go buy the blueberries and strawberries... wonder are they still on sales.. and milk and butter and plain flour ... Your muffin make me so hungry now.

Jean said...

welcome back HHB! beautiful muffins, i love berries! looking forward to more wonderful bakes with ur new oven :)

genie1119 said...

love ur mixed berries muffins to max. Thanks for inspiring me to bake and cook!! and welcome back HHB =)

Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) said...

droooooooling and mouthwatering muffins with amazing pics...yummmm

Anonymous said...

your muffin look great :)

MH said...

Your muffins looks awesome...perfectly baked! Good job! :) Err... your paper muffin cups looks very nice. Mind to tell us where you get it? :D

Joyce @ Chunky Cooky said...

The muffins look beautiful ! Looking forward to more delicious bakes from you using your new oven !

Happy Homebaker said...

Caroline, thanks for visiting! I think we have a few things in common, besides the oven, I was an engineer before...and my sis who lives in the States owns a corgi too :)

MH, I got them from Phoon Huat, 50 liners for $2.70. Btw, please check your letter box these two days, you will be in for a little surprise ;')

Anonymous said...


How I miss your posting!
I am so glad that you are back to blogging your recipe... somehow felt part of me missing when you stopping posting.

Yes, I will defintely join you on yr baking trail


Bakertan said...

hey HHB,

Lovely brownies with nicely browned top. But the recipe looks more like a cupcake recipe to me rather than a muffin recipe. creamed muffins usually contain more flour to butter.

I'm sure there will be more fantastic bakes coming up from your new oven. cheers =]

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Glad to have you back! The muffins look gorgeous and I like itnthat they are flavorful! Bookmarking them for trying soon!

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks Fiona!

Bakertan, yes, it is more like cupcakes. I think muffins available at most bakery stores here are made using the creaming method. I think creaming method used less flour more butter; where as those made by the muffin method use a lot more flour and less fat.

Shirley, I hope you will like these muffins :)

Swee San said...

Good to see you back HHB :)

Bakericious said...

HHB, you always bake nice and delicious look muffin.

hanushi said...

Your muffins looks gorgerous as ever. :)

Aimei said...

I look forward to more of your cakes and bakes! Dun worry I'm sure you 'll be back to the routine in no time :)

Anonymous said...

I tried your muffin recipe and it was good! Thanks for sharing!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, thanks for telling me, I am glad to hear that these muffins turn out great :)

sherlyn said...

Hmm .. yet to join the trail .. still struggling with time management. :(
So muffin method has less fat .. so i must bake those muffin, cos less fat .. hahaha :)

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are very unique especially the first one. May I know is part of your camera's function or the effect of a soft way?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi CF, I used a free photo editor, Photoscape to create the effect. You can download it for free.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I learnt something new :)

Anonymous said...

I have download the soft way but don't know how to create the effect like your photo (remain the colour of one object and change the rest to black & white). Pls. help!!


Happy Homebaker said...

CF, Click on "Filter", then select 'Region (out of focus', followed by "Greyscale' or go to the Help page in Photoscape ( for a demo.

Denise..Xu said...

hey HHB,
It's been so long since i've last been here, happy to know you're back to baking.(apparently you have been for the past few months too. oops! sorry!)
it doesn't help that your blog always looks so nice, but i can't get down to baking! :(
anyway, i often wished i personally knew you, so you could teach me baking, i'm super bad at this. and probably get you to sign my card for my school's NYAA.
anyways, since it's pretty impossible, i wish you all the best in your baking journey, nice seeing your passion for baking! oh and one last thing, thank you for blogging your recipes, it encourages me! :D
loves, Denise :D

Ciara said...

We'd like to invite you to submit your food photos on a food photography site called so our readers can enjoy your creations.

It is absolutely free and fun to make others hungry!

Thanks :)

Fi Fi said...

Hi again,
Thanks to this recipe, I made couple of these muffins as a giveaway to my friends for the National Day holiday. They love it!

This is very encouraging as I have so many recipes to try from your blog! Thanks for sharing!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Fi Fi, glad to hear that this recipe works well for you. I can imagine the joy and satisfaction when your friends told you they like your bakes :):)