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Apple & Blackberry muffins

Since it's such a popular forage, I thought I'd spend a bit more time on the topic of things to do with Blackberries and their best friend Apple before moving on to other free foods. We've also had a good crop of blackberries in our area this year, albeit small ones so it makes too much sense to keep going with them while we can!

I was in the mood for something cakey, always a winner for a weekend of visitors and busy projects requiring something nice and substantial to keep us going – and perfect with a cup of tea. This recipe results in a delicious cake that's not too sweet, and with enough fruit to make you start to believe that, just maybe, it could be good for you? OK, it's no salad but it's certainly got more nutrients than a fudge cake! ;)

Our little oven can be a tricky one to get a good cake out of, or it's just me but I prefer to blame the oven! ;) No really, the older style of caravan (or motor home) ovens are so small with such a strong heat source at the back so they don't cook evenly, that coupled with the lack of a thermostat control means a lot of checking, turning, and temperature adjustment is in order. What I have discovered however is that while a cooked-in-the-middle round cake without burnt edges is near impossible, muffins are do-able since they cook through faster and can be easily rearranged if necessary. Loaves also do well since you can cook them long and slow and their shape helps to keep them away from the harsh flame at the back.

 

These muffins are fantastically fruity and I love how a less than thorough mixing results in a slightly marbled effect! See below for the how to:

 

Ingredients:

250g Self raising flour

75g butter

125g sugar

2 eggs

2 large apples

125g blackberries

 

Method:

Whilst you're waiting for the butter to soften up for step 1, preheat your oven to around 180 degrees C and arrange your paper cups on your muffin tray (or reusable silicone if you have those, though don't use a silicone tray with a small caravan gas oven as the intense heat from the naked flames can burn the back edge!). I find this recipe fulfils one tray of 12 small cupcakes.

 

1. Cream together the butter & sugar.

2. Peel & chop/grate apples and wash your blackberries (or defrost if you're using a frozen batch)

3. Beat the eggs and flour gradually into the creamed butter mix, alternating between the two to avoid lumps until thoroughly combined. It tends to be quite a dry sticky mixture at this point since we're relying on the fruit to add moisture during cooking.

4. Stir the fruit into the batter and spoon into the muffin cups.

5. Bake 180 degrees c for 10-20 mins until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean and they have risen.

Allow to cool on a wire rack then enjoy! If you haven't shared them all out on the same day they'll keep nicely in an airtight container for several days.

The recipe is plenty sweet enough to enjoy as it is, but then an extra drizzle of icing never goes amiss especially with Ryan's sweet tooth! We use Billingtons natural unrefined icing sugar which, since it's unbleached like regular sugar (yes how did you think anything ends up pure white?), it comes out a gorgeous natural caramel colour. This time I thought I'd play with a spot of natural food colouring and used some spare blackberry juice to wet the icing instead of plain water resulting in this lovely dusky pink colour, and a rich fruity flavour! I imagine that it would come out a much brighter pink if using white white icing but for me health and production ethics come before aesthetics.

I've tried a version of this recipe before in loaf form and it went down a treat, kudos to the author of the original recipe (apple & blueberry loaf) Sheila at gimmetherecipe.com/2010/10/28/apple-blueberry-loaf-cake, but this time I wanted something easier to handle and offer about so muffins it is. What, you didn't think I invented every recipe on here did you? It's tough enough adapting everything to work in a 'camp' setting! Of course if you'd prefer to give the recipe a go in loaf-form simply grease and line a loaf tin, pour it all in and be sure to bake for longer, around 40 mins should do it. The same rule applies to knowing when it's cooked through, insert a skewer into the middle and when it comes out clean you're done! Yum!

 

For more Blackberry and wild foods recipes don't forget to visit the Foraging section with a new post every Friday...

< Back to Oven recipes

 

So what do you think of the recipe? And what's the blackberry harvest been like in your area this year? Comment below, we'd love to hear from you!


Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more


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