Last night, I was overcome by an urge to bake chocolate muffins. You know the giant sort you see in cafe’s, high risers if you will. The kind of muffin which looks like it tried to squeeze itself into a size 10 case even when it knows that it’s really a size 12. Rich, super moist and deeply chocolately.
So I began the quest for the perfect recipe, starting first with my shamefully modest collection of books, and then reluctantly heading to the internet.
Finding the perfect recipe is always a challenge for me. I love baking, and I’d go as far to say that a few disasters aside I am generally pretty good at it. My offerings are always well received and disappear quickly, and requests for birthday cakes are at an all time high. Mostly though, the reason for this is that I find a good recipe and I follow it precisely. I do not yet have the skill or knowledge to create my own successful baking recipes, or to confidently make substitutions. That’s not to say that I don’t have any gut instincts at all, it’s just that I am not yet confident in them. In part, this probably comes down to not enough testing. I tend to bake for occasions – birthdays, dinner parties, baby showers etc. Which means that the pressure is on to deliver. I do not want to risk testing out my whimsical substitutions on 20 eager guests!
I already know the answer to this problem. Bake more. Test recipes. Get creative. It’s just, that there are a few things that stand in my way…
Clue number one is in the title of this blog. If I bake cake then I eat cake. Even if it is bad cake (case in point, last night – but we’ll get on to that.)
My question is, when you live with only one other person, if the baking turns out well, what on earth do you do with 20 delicious giant chocolate muffins?! I mean, sure, I can find a place for them EASY PEASY but then there is no place for my expanding gut in my jeans!!! Even people at work start to get fed up if you bring in cakes every week, complaining that they are getting chubbier.
And, conversely, if they turn out badly then that brings about a whole other problem. I can’t take bad cakes into work. I can’t even bring myself to take them round to the interfering old woman who lives across the road. I don’t like wasting food as a rule anyways, but wasting green & blacks chocolate and an hour (or more) of my time feels like sacrilege!
Anyway, I digress. Back to finding this ‘perfect chocolate muffin’ recipe.
On this occasion, my usual troubles were further complicated by a lactose intolerant friend who would be visiting the following evening. So the recipe not only had to promise towering, rich, moist muffins – but also had to contain no butter or milk.
Fortunately there are many muffin recipes out there which call for corn oil in the place of butter. During my research, someone suggested substituting the milk for coke, which would apparently give them a light but slightly gooey texture. So that was settled. There was no pressure, no one was expecting these muffins (except me!!!) so it was the perfect time to try out something a bit different. Except, then I decided to make another change too. Worried that the coke would make the muffins too sweet, I added more cocoa powder. Well actually, I doubled it. Eeeek.
Long story short(ish) they turned out terribly. The batter was not runny enough and the finished item was bitter and tough. In the interests of learning from my mistakes, both the man and I scoffed one each anyway. WHY?!?!
I knew what I needed to do, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I asked the man to do my dirty work, and take them straight out to the bin. SOB. The outside bin, because well (ahem) you never know…
All I know is, there were no winners this round.
So pretty pretty please with a chocolate chip on top, I am begging someone to send me the perfect chocolate muffin recipe!
What do you do with your leftovers – good or bad?