Cupcakes and Muffins

4 steps to yummy cupcakes and muffins - without all the 'sometimes' ingredients:

1. Go for a fruit or veggie based recipe - blueberry, beetroot, raspberry, carrot, apple, pear or zucchini … the options are endless.  See our recipe ideas below.

2. Think smaller - consider making mini muffins or smaller cupcakes, especially ones that contain ‘occasional’ foods like chocolate or frosting.

3. Swap the icing or cream for a dusting of cocoa or sliced fruit.

4. Swap some foods in the recipe or go for healthier alternatives like:

  • Flour – add more fibre by using half wholemeal flour and half white flour
  • Fats and oils – swap butter for mono or polyunsaturated margarine or oil (e.g. canola, sunflower, olive) to reduce the saturated fat
  • Dairy – choose reduced fat rather than full-cream for less saturated fat
  • Sugar – reduce the amount by aiming for a ratio of ½ cup sugar (or less) to 2 cups flour.

Apple and date muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • Olive or canola oil spray (optional)
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup plain wholemeal flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, sunflower)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
    ½ cup dates, chopped


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan forced).
2. Lightly spray muffin tins with oil or line with paper cases.
3. Sift flours, bicarbonate soda, sugar and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl, returning husk remaining in the sieve to the bowl.
4. Mix in apple and dates.
5. In a bowl, whisk egg, milk, oil and vanilla extract together.
6. Add to dry ingredients and mix through until just combined.
7. Spoon into prepared muffin pan.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until muffins are firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn onto a wire rack.

Sweet potato and corn muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • olive or canola oil spray (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ½ cup sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup tinned corn (salt reduced), drained
  • 3 spring onions (including green tops), ends trimmed, chopped
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan forced).
2. Lightly spray muffin tins with oil or line with paper cases.
3. Sift flours into a medium sized bowl, returning husk remaining in the sieve to the bowl.
4. Mix in sweet potato, cheese, corn, spring onion and pepper.
5. In a bowl, whisk milk and eggs together.
6. Add to dry ingredients and mix through until just combined.
7. Spoon into prepared muffin pan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes until muffins are firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn onto a wire rack.

DIY fruit muffins or cupcakes (makes 12)

Decide on a FRUIT combination like:

  • Apple and date = 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla,  2 granny smith apples peeled and grated, ½ cup chopped dates
  • Banana = 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup walnuts (optional - check your school policy on nuts), 1 cup mashed banana (2-3 medium bananas)
  • Spicy pineapple = 1 teaspon mixed spice, ½ cup sultanas, 450g can crushed pineapple in natural juice (drained)
  • Ginger and pear = 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 large pears peeled and grated
  • Chocolate and raspberry = ¼ cup cocoa, 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • Blueberry = 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind, 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • Chocolate and beetroot = ¼ cup cocoa, I cup cooked and mashed beetroot

Base ingredients:

  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb-soda
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg (lightly whisked)
  • 200g reduced-fat natural yoghurt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180oC and line a twelve-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. In a jug mix wet ingredients together.  Pour mixture into dry ingredients and fold through until just moistened.
4. Stir through fruit combination lightly.
5. Spoon into muffin cases and cook for 20-25min until golden brown and cooked through.

DIY veggie muffins of cupcakes (makes 8)

Decide on a VEGGIE combination like:

  • Tuna and corn = 125g tin creamed corn, 100g tin tuna (drained), ½ finely chopped onion, pepper to taste
  • Spinach, feta and olive = ½ cup chopped fresh spinach, ½ finely chopped onion, handful of feta cheese (diced) and handful of pitted kalmata olives (diced)
  • Semi-dried tomato and basil = 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes (diced), ½ cup basil (diced), 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ½ cup reduced fat cheese (grated)
  • 125g margarine (melted)
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1 egg (lightly whisked)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180oC and line a twelve-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Mix everything together, including veggie combination, making sure not to over-mix.
3. Spoon into muffin cases and cook for 20-25min until golden brown and cooked through.
Tip: you can make any variety of savoury muffins that you like as the quantities of ingredients are not so critical. It’s a good way to use up what’s in the fridge.