12 February 2014

Valentines Day, Cherries and Gluten Free Muffins

I am officially In Love. 
 

Husband, cat, and husband #2 aside (long story, one involving a lot of tea, a mistaken Twitter marriage and much cake), over the last fortnight two different companies approached me about trying their baking goodies. One, the French Glace Cherry company invited me to a baking class, and the other, Helen's Kitchen a Gluten Free baking crew, took a much safer route, and sent me scrummy items to try in the post.
 
 
I'm going to look back at February 2014, and realise that this was the point whereby I  officially became a Brit. Not only do I speak with an English twang, prefer my queuing with a lot of passive aggressive staring, and use the word rather rather too much, but I have decided that homemade Jaffa cakes are the best things since sliced toast (though how did they toast bread without slicing it? I digress).
 
I never realised how many things you can make with cherries, they seem to be an unsung hero, languishing in corners of Christmas Cake, but cherry lovers, do not fear. This rather Napoleonic looking creation is a Cherry & Blue Cheese oatcake, with Cherry Chutney. They can also be popped into smoothies, brownies, wrapped in bacon and well, replaced everywhere you use sultanas (*cough Breakfast Cake cough*).
 
 
Now, tell me, how could you not fall in love with this divine creature? A handmade, cherry flavoured Jaffa Cake. It even had the iconic Jaffa Cake lid curve. With the lovely, brownie-making, French speaking, and tea-loving Baking Cindy guiding us, we made cherry jelly, finely chopped cherries, Genoese sponged, shaped said chilled jelly, coated with a good layer of chocolate and decorated to our girly hearts delight.
 
 
A leaning tower of Cherry Jaffa Cakes.
 
 
We then made Cherry and Pistachio Financiers where I burnt butter (intentionally), realised that our oven time didn't like us and experience the worst case of fianancier theft since the Titanic went down. We managed to salvage them though... (and the slowly burning ones left forgotten in the oven.)
 
 
Don't they just make your heart happy? The cherries themselves were delicious - not too sweet, perfect without overpowering.




I then arrived home to the sweetest package in many a week. Gluten Free baking pre-mixes. Now, you may have noticed that I've been a rather busy blogger of lack (symptoms include lapses of Twitter addiction, very delayed email returns and slightly off piste blog posts) and these really made me happy.
 


Quick, easy, no fuss gluten free goodies. I made scrumptious Chocolate, Ginger & Cherry mini-muffins which were baked & resting within 20 minutes of arriving home from work. That's not bad odds eh?



The muffins have a nice flavour to them - good texture, not sickly sweet and feather light. Forget Genoese sponges (and their tendencies - when left to me - to turn into scrambled eggs) the next time I make Cherry Jaffa cakes which will be oh so soon, I think I'll use these fab mixes.



So, Cherry or not?

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24 comments :

  1. Hmmm...somehow I've managed to live here for 9 months and I've never heard of a Jaffa cake! Blasphemy! :o) Your cooking class sounds like fun. Companies must know better than to invite me to one - all that would be left of their kitchen would be a tiny pile of ash, I'm sure.

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    1. Woah Sarah, this needs to be sorted asap. Seriously :)
      I was really surprised that they invited me too, I am seriously a klutz!

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  2. I'll eat pistachio flavoured ANYTHING! x

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  3. The only thing better than a jaffa cake is a homemade jaffa cake! Seriously.
    Every photo in this post looks downright delicious! :)

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    1. It's one of the reasons I love this country so much (that, and the legal argument over whether Jaffa Cakes are cakes or biscuits... I believe cakes won out!)

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  4. Replies
    1. They really were! I thinking I might riff them, and make them again with chocolate bases, cherry jam jelly & white chocolate lids?

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  5. I had never heard of a jaffa cake until a couple of weeks ago at a work lunch when a girl I work with ordered one. I must try it!

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    1. Run down to your nearest supermarket now Sam. If you like chocolate orange, you'll love Jaffa cakes.

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  6. Cherry and pistachio sounds like a perfect combination to me! I need to take your word and try baking with cherries more!

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    1. Mmmm I love them, and this course has only re-kindled that enjoyment.

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  7. I've got to admit I'm not a big cherry person, except if they were in Shirley Temples! These look so nice though.

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    1. I'm a cherry addict, to the point I only buy tins of fruit salad for the cherries, and don't buy punnets of fresh ones. Yum!

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  8. Lucky lady, I'm seriously jealous!!!!! Its kind of a dream of mine, to be a taste tester/food critic!! Looks all good! I really must reconsider cherries in baking, thanks for the refresher course!!! xx

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    1. Well, I reckon the skills are already there! :D

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  9. Jaffa Cakes are ace! I don't even like the combination of orange and chocolate but still adore Jaffa Cakes! Perhaps it's from being brought up on them (we did occasionally have other food too!).
    Although I hated cooking classes at school, I love them now - your recipes from class look fabulous! Vohn x

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    1. That's hilarious - most british people I know go gaga for them, Jaffa cakes and party rings for some reason.
      I really loved taking those classes in school but I was terrible at them.

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  10. I clearly still have a lot to learn here in London.... Never heart of a Jaffa cake before, let alone try one. But it looks and sounds delicious.

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    1. Definitely try some Jacintha, they are delish.

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  11. Y.U.M. I think I might love those homemade Jaffa cakes! I always try not to laugh too much when people offer me baking goods to try out. I might be able to cook, unwillingly, but I really and truly cannot bake.

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    1. I was amazed when I saw the invite, and thought 'hey, they're insured right?' hehehe

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  12. Hi Emma! It was really nice to finally meet you at the French Glacé Cherries class! I'm glad you enjoyed making the "French Glacé Cherries jelly cakes" aka Jaffa Cakes (still a bit of a mouthful! I really need to find a new name for them!).
    If I can organise organise another baking class, I'll make sure to have also a gluten free recipe and to invite you again!

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    1. It was so lovely to meet you too - it was so much fun!
      It's no problem re. the gluten free, my husband LOVED everything (and I tried my cherry cakes. Chocolate cancels out everything, right? ;D)

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