Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Eggless Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake - Eggless-baking February Challenge

My tryst with frosting cakes is not much to boast about. I have had the icing bags and nozzles for two years now and I have hardly used them. Firstly, baking the cake in the limited time I have on weekends is challenging enough, with a little pair of hands bungling the recipe unknowingly in her zest to help her mommy bake the goodies. Secondly, waiting for the cakes to cool down hardly happens. She wants a bite of the stuff immediately as soon as the cake is out of the oven. Thirdly, she might want to help me with the frosting too and thus I might finally snap at her after the prolonged attempts at bungling, sigh! I guess, I am the world's worst mom. She shows so much zeal and care to help me out and I call it bungling :(. 

Anyways, I have frosted cupcakes with buttercream a couple of times, and a bundt, pound cake with buttercream. I have used ganache once for an eggless chocolate cake. I have never used whipped cream to frost cakes. So why am I delving into statistics? To apologize in advance for any offensive attempts at frosting in this post!

This recipe seriously gave me jitters. I did not want to frost with buttercream. I certainly did not want to make 2 cups of buttercream and use it on a large cake. 
I decided to make the batter without adjusting the original recipe except for the eggless variation; I then decided to make two small 6 inch cakes and a host of cupcakes. I made just 1 cup of buttercream, and frosting 4 cupcakes and one 6 inch cake. 

As always, the original recipe from Hershey's goes first. I shall present the cake recipe only in both the original and eggless form. The frosting is normal chocolate buttercream and the recipe is from Hershey's verbatim.


1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2  eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar

1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. 
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. 
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. 
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. 
Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. 
Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. 
Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Now for the eggless version.
Eggless Variation


1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk powder  + 1/2 cup milk (See Note)
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar

Heat oven to 180 degress C. Grease and flour two 6-inch pans and some cupcake moulds.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
Dissolve 1/2 cup of milk powder in 1/2 cup milk and keep it aside. Add milk, milk powder paste, oil and vanilla to the dry flour mix; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. 
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. I used 2 small round cake moulds (5-6 inches) and 6 cupcake moulds.
Bake the small cake moulds for 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes. 
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

Note I used Nestle's sweetened milk powder and so I reduced the quantity of sugar by 1/2 cup. Since adding 1/2 cup milk to the milk powder made the batter even thinner, I wonder if I should have just used the milk powder without the additional 1/2 cup milk. 


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

I halved the recipe for the frosting and made 1 cup of buttercream. I used it to pipe some roses and stars on one 6-inch cake and 4 cupcakes. I still had about 1/4 cup buttercream. I plan to use it as a spread on bread within the next couple of days.

Verdict: The batter was too thin and I felt, I could have just used milk powder instead of dissolving it in another 1/2 cup milk. The texture was fine and the cake tasted good, except that one cake sunk in the middle.
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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Eggless Strawberry Ice-cream

I am usually surprised when someone shows no preference for strawberries over other fruits. My little girl loves fruits like papaya, banana and grapes and is not fond of strawberries. I just don't believe it, how mother and daughter can have such varying preferences... About the picture above, we found a huge strawberry in the box we purchased last month and I took this picture to show the size comparison. The strawberry was as big as the Fiji apple in length. This is the largest one I have seen.

Speaking of preferences, my daughter does love strawberry flavoured milk and ice-cream. So I decided to make this icecream for her one day. This has no eggs or gelatin and requires some simple ingredients.

Milk cream - 600 ml
Milk - 150 ml
Strawberry crush - 1 cup (I used Monin's)


Heat the cream and milk until they come to a boil. Allow the milk and cream mix to cook down completely and then add the strawberry crush, using the hand mixer, blend the mixture well. The strawberry crush has sugar and so I did not add any sugar to this mixture.

Pour into freezer safe box and allow it to freeze for an hour. Take the box out and whip the ice-cream for about 3-4 minutes. You can see soft peaks form. Put the mix back in the freezer for an hour or so. Whip the ice-cream once again for 2-3 minutes. Allow to freeze for 4-5 hours and scoop and serve.
Verdict: Simple ingredients and extremely easy to prepare. The only time consuming part is the whipping of the ice-cream before it sets and forms icicles. If that happens, thaw the ice-cream about half-way and then whip it for 5 minutes or so until soft peaks form. Then whip every hour for a couple of more times before letting it set.

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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Coconut-milk rice (Thengai-paal saadam)

A typical childhood tantrum... "Amma whats for lunch today?" Whatever the answer is, "Amma, make something else. I am bored of eating this all the time". Mind you, no matter what the dish is, the reply would be the same. There are very few exceptions. I was no different when I was growing up. Mom was tired of my fussy eating habits, but she never gave up. Eventually when the child is hungry, he/she does eat whatever is available. I am experiencing the same with my little girl. 

This was a very time-consuming lunch dish that mom used to make when we have guests over or on special occasions. I did not appreciate the effort and would think why does mom no change her menu at all, until I stated making it myself. It is an elaborate process of extracting coconut milk, frying the onions, spices and vegetables and then mixing them with the rice and cooking the rice. 

Rice - 1 1/2 cups 
Coconut - 1, freshly shredded 
Onions - 1, chopped 
Green peas - 1/2 cup 
Diced Beans and Carrots - 1/2 cup 
Cloves - 4-5 
Cinnamon - 1/4 stick, crushed 
Cardamom - 2, crushed 
Ginger - 1 tsp 
Green chillies - 2, slit 
Salt - to taste 

Water - See Note 1.

Oil - for frying 
Coriander - for garnishing


Wash the rice and keep it aside. 
Shred the coconut and with very little water, blend the shredded coconut in a blender until smooth. Strain the coconut blend and extract the water. This is the first coconut milk extract. You can use the dregs a couple of more times with a little water to extract the coconut milk a second and third time. The coconut milk extract the second time is less concentrated than the first and the third extract is even less concentrated than the second. You can mix the three extracts and keep aside; measure the coconut milk quantity.  

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. When they start to splutter, add the onions and fry until they turn pink. Add the vegetables, ginger, green chilies and fry until the raw smell is gone. Keep the vegetables aside.

Drain the water from the rice, add a little oil and fry for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and when it comes to a boil, add the vegetables and stir well. Add salt. If the quantity of coconut milk is not sufficient for the rice, add some water to make up for it. 

Cook the rice, garnish with coriander leaves and ghee. Serve hot with raitha or any other vegetable side dish. 

Note 1: 
One coconut usually yields, 1.5 - 2 cups of coconut milk.
Usual water proportion for rice is as follows: 
Pressure cooker: rice : water = 1 : 2. 
Sometimes older rice takes more water, then you need to add 1/2 cup more water for every cup of rice.
Open pan: rice : water = 1: 3. 

Verdict: Extracting the coconut milk is the time consuming part. I have not tried using the packaged coconut milk extract. I should try it sometime. Otherwise the blend of coconut milk and the spices is heady and extremely addictive. 

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Friday, 22 February 2013

Grilled Chicken Drumstick

College days! That wonderful days phase, absolutely light-hearted fun with friends, those delicious road-side Chaat and Bajji's, the numerous trips to the ice-cream parlour. Those were great times indeed... How I miss all that fun now... Yes we do eat out a lot more now (read every day lunch at cafeteria), than in those days, but the fun factor is completely missing now. Meal-times are nowadays just barely to survive and energize ourselves, a mundane, drab every day task. But there are certain foods that bring back such loving, fond memories. For me the chicken drumstick is one such dish.

The entire gang from college went to a nice up-class restaurant for a change from the mess food. We ordered some wonderful starters and soup. Some of us were very fond of chicken starters, and we ordered a plate of chicken drumsticks. When the plate arrived, all of us pounced on it and then pulled back with the same urgency. It was so hot that we realized we could not hold it and eat immediately. It was too greasy too.  So a couple of us, reached into the tissue holder, wrapped the drumstick bone with the tissue and started devouring it. A few others who saw us do this, started teasing us "Eh, Peteru... look at that, ivanga kaila saappida maataanga (look at these little missy's they will not use their hands)". That is what we all do in college don't we?
When there was a bag of chicken leg pieces in the fridge and I had just purchased my Samsung Convection oven, I wanted to try out the grill function. That is how this dish came about one Saturday evening and ofcourse it brought back some fond memories from college. I miss you, girls!

Chicken drumsticks - 10
Ginger paste - 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1/3 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Thick Curd  - 2 tbsp 
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt - to taste
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp

Oil - for grill
Wash and clean the chicken legs. 

Mix all the masala ingredients in a bowl; Drop every  leg piece in the mix and cover it thoroughly with the mixture and place aside. Marinate the chicken pieces for an hour or more at room temperature. If leaving it for longer, refrigerate the marinated chicken pieces. 

Cook the marinade mixture and the chicken pieces without adding any more water. When the chicken is cooked until soft, add a few drops of oil and let the masala mix dry up, coating the chicken leg pieces. 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pieces on the roasting tray, brush some oil over the pieces and grill for 15 minutes. 

If the chicken is tender enough, you can use the microwave + grill mode for 15 minutes and directly cook the chicken and grill at the same time. You can skip the cooking part above. 

Serve hot with chutney. 

The blend of spices was perfect and the chicken was cooked perfectly. The little one and the elders at home enjoyed this dish.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Beetroot Cutlet

How to make weekends more interesting for kids? Well, these bundles of energy hardly agree to get a shut-eye or give you one on weekends. Atleast that is the case with my little girl. She refuses to sleep in the afternoons, even if I lie down with her and forcibly try to make her rest. At times, I have barely escaped from my eyes being dug out while pretending to be asleep. Well, the imp knows well that I am not really asleep and tries to get her message across, that she is not ready to sleep either. So to keep that bundle of energy occupied, I leave it to her to pick the activity.

One Saturday afternoon, after unsuccessfully trying to force her to take a nap, I gave up and asked her what she wanted to do instead. She suggested we make red cutlets. Fortunately that day, I had beetroots lying in the refrigerator waiting to be consumed. So that is how these came about.

Since most of these are are extempore attempts, I barely manage to click pictures and trust me passable pictures are very tough with the little one itching to help me with every single activity, blogging and photography included.

Beetroot - 2, diced
Potatoes - 2, cut in chunks
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Thyme (Omam) - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp

To assemble the cutlets:
Powdered Rusk/Bread crumbs - 1/4 cup
Maida - 2 tbsp
Water - 2 tbsp

Oil - for frying 

Boil the beetroot with very little water and keep aside. Boil the potatoes and green peas together. Retain the water from the beetroot, you can either add it to the mashed mix, if it gets too thick or consume it as such. Do not discard the nutrients from the water. 

Mash the potatoes and green peas until soft and add the beetroots. Add the spices into the mashed vegetables and combine well. Make small balls of the vegetables the size of a lemon and keep aside. 

Mix the water and maida to form a paste. Place the rusk powder on a flat plate. Take one lemon-sized ball of the vegetable mix and roll it into the maida mix. Pick up the maida paste coated vegetable and roll it into the rusk powder quickly. Flatten the ball and shape as desired and keep aside. You can shape them in simple round cutlets or squares or hearts. My little one wanted two of each. 

Heat a girdle and add oil. When the oil heats up, place 3-4 cutlets on the girdle and let them cook on one side. Once done, flip the cutlets over and cook the other side. Flip them gently so they don't break loose. 

Alternately you can grill them in an oven, since veggies are already cooked, you only need to grill them. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, place the assembled cutlets on a roasting plate and grill for 12 minutes. 

Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

Verdict: This is a fun way of feeding the little ones some healthy veggies. They easily gobble up 2-3 cutlets, so there goes the quota of veggies for the day.
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Monday, 18 February 2013

Home-made Pancake mix (Whole wheat)

Whole wheat pancakes are a welcome breakfast option when one is bored of the regular stuff. Kids especially are picky when it comes to breakfast. No one has the time to deal with one more tantrum during the morning rush before school. I am sure all you moms know what I am talking about.

So I keep some home-made pancake mix ready, just in case. Basically I make this with whole-wheat flour, add egg whites and milk powder with a tiny bit of sugar and a pinch of salt. When I need to make pancakes, I combine two tablespoons of the mix with 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 tsp of melted butter and some optional top ups of fruits or chocolate.  This will make 2 pancakes.


Pancake Mix:
Wheat flour - 1 cup
Egg white - 2 tbsp
Milk Powder - 2 tbsp (see note 1)
Sugar - 1 tbsp (see note 1)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp

If using sweetened milk powder, use 3 tbsp of the milk powder and omit the sugar.

Sift these ingredients together, thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.

For the pancakes:

Pancake mix - 2 tbsp
Melted butter - 1/2 tsp
Milk/Buttermilk - 1/4 cup
Fruits - Mashed banana, orange juice or chocolate chips - 2 tbsp

Oil - for making pancakes (see note 1)

Mix these together and make a light pancake batter. Do not over mix, else the pancakes will be tough.
Heat a girdle and spread some oil. Pour two tablespoon of the batter. When the pancakes are browned on one side, flip them and bake the other side. Once done, transfer to the serving plate and top with some maple syrup, butter and/or fruits and cream. 

Verdict: Keep this option open for breakfast for kids. It is quite quick, simple and healthy as well.
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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Gooseberry (Amla/Nellikkai) Salted Preserve

Gooseberry pimples or goose bumps... Are they in any way related to the bumps on one's arms due to the tanginess of gooseberrys? I do not know. But I would not be surprised if the origin of "goose bumps" indeed is related to gooseberrys. Anytime we find these in the market, we buy a packet and bring it home. We do not pickle it. Instead we preserve it in salt water and store it for a month or so.


Large Gooseberries (Amla) - 700g
Green chillies - 2 slit
Salt - 1/2 tbsp
Water - as required


Wash and clean the gooseberries and keep them aside. Heat water in a heavy pan and when it comes to a boil, add the salt and green chillies. Stir the water once, to distribute the salt. Add the gooseberries and then let the water come a boil once more. The gooseberries should just be covered in the water. If necessary, add more hot water to cover the gooseberries. Let the entire mixture boil for a minute or so and switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the stove. Cover it tightly and cool it down completely. We usually leave it overnight or throughout the day. Once completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate it. 

Verdict: Simple and quick to make and extremely healthy. Eat one gooseberry a day, to have you share of iron and other essential nutrients. You will find hair-fall considerably reduced too. What about the water? Well there is a lot of iron content in that water too. So it is important to not dispose it. For those of you who do not mind the salty, spicy taste of the water with a bit of the gooseberry tanginess, well drink the water too when you eat the gooseberry. Else use the water in gravies, but just remember that the gravy will turn out to be brown coloured due to the iron content.
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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pav Bhaji (Without store-bought Pav Bhaji Masala)

Pav Bhaji is a regular in parties hosted at home for kids. I never use the store-bought pav-bhaji masala. I use a combination of home ground spices and get the desired flavour. Everyone loves the bhaji so much, that we have loads of leftover pav-bun, but run out of Bhaji easily. This recipe makes ample bhaji for 6 pav buns and just enough for 10 pav buns.


Potatoes - 1 large or 2 medium
Cauliflower - 4-5 tiny flowerettes
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Carrots - 2 small
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Water - 1/4 cup

Chili powder - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Thyme - 1/4 tsp
Garlic - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
 Butter - 1 tbsp

Dice the vegetables and drop them into the cooker. Add the spices and shake the cooker thoroughly to distribute them. Do not add the butter at this time. Soft cook the vegetables with the spices. Once the cooker has cooled down. Heat a kadai or saucepan, and drop the vegetables in the saucepan. When it comes a boil again, start mashing the vegetables with a pestle. When the vegetables are completely mashed with very tiny bits, add the butter and mix it thoroughly. You will see the Bhaji coming together at this stage. Turn off the flame when the bhaji is of a consistency that does not spread when placed in the plate. It should not be too dry either.
Serve hot with toasted pav buns. Pav-buns are usually cut in half and toasted with butter.
Verdict: Enjoy home-made pav-bhaji, and eat to your heart's content. Pav-buns can be made at home too if you are used to baking breads.I did not have a good experience with Pav-buns, as I had bad yeast. But I plan to try it sometime with good quality yeast.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lemon Pickle

A trip down memory lane definitely stirs some fond memories. Be it some pranks we played on friends in college or the great times at cultural rehearsals at school. With regards to home front, I remember the summer vacations with my grandmother distinctly. I specifically remember, spicy pickles that were stored in jars for consumption until the next season and the large buckets of rice vathal and javvarisi vathal. Vathal refers to sun-dried rice/sago mix. Will write more about the vathal in subsequent posts. This is about the spicy, tangy lemon pickle.

Lemon - 10-12 numbers
Salt - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 10 (spicy variety)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida (perungayam) - 1/2 tsp
Gingely Oil (nallennai) - 2 tbsp 

Glass/Porcelain jar: Wash the jar thoroughly with warm soapy water. Pour a cup of boiling water inside and shake the jar well. Pour the water out and let the jar dry out completely, preferably leaving it in the sunlight. Keep a piece of dry and clean cotton or muslin cloth to tie the mouth of the jar.

Cut each lemon in four pieces or eight pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared jar and add the salt. Shake the jar well. Close the jar with the cotton cloth, tightly tied to the opening of the jar. 

Leave the jar out in the sunlight all day, shaking it sporadically to evenly distribute the salt over the lemon pieces and allowing the lemon to marinate in salt well. Repeat this for a week until the lemon soaks well in the salt. The lemons should have softened to touch by then. If not, leave it on for a couple of more days and check again. The sunlight will take care of keeping the lemons from spoiling. 

When the lemons are ready, heat the oil wel and cool it down completely. Dry roast the mustard, asofetida and red chillies seperately. When the masala ingredients have completely cooled down, grind them to a fine powder. Add the powdered masala to the marinated lemon pieces. Pour the oil over the lemon pieces. Shake the jar well, to distribute the oil and masala evenly over the lemon pieces. Lemon pickles are ready to consume, just keep shaking the jar sporadically for the first few days to evenly distribute the spices.

Verdict: Lemon pickle is so delicious with a variety of dishes. Dosa, Paratha, and most notably with curd rice. Moreover, these pickles are guilt free indulgences, since it is homemade without preservatives and vinegar, unlike their store-bought counterparts.

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kaara Kozhukattai

In most cases, when the sweet kozhukattai is made, we might be left over with some rice flour dough and all the stuffing would have been consumed. What do we do with that excess dough? Kaara Kozhukattai is one simple savory starter, we make with the left over rice dough from the sweet kozhukattai. We do not require any pooranam (stuffing) for this. Some onions and chillies will do. Sounds simple doesn't it?

Recipe for Rice dough from sweet kozhukattai

Assuming we have 1 cup of rice dough, use the following:
Onions - 1 medium, finely chopped
Green Chillies - 1, finely chopped 
Oil - for frying 
Salt - to taste
Urad Dal - 1/2 tbsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 6-8
Oil - 1/2 tbsp

Heat oil in a frying pan; Add the chopped onions and chillies and fry until the onions turn transparent and a lovely shade of pink. Add the salt to the onion, chilly mix. Empty the onions and the chillies into the rice dough. Mix the dough well. Now the kaara kozhukattai dough is ready. Form small balls the kaara kozhukattai dough, the size of a lemon and keep aside.

Heat oil for the tadka. When hot enough, add the urad dal, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard starts spluttering and the urad dal turns golden yellow, add the kozhukattai balls and fry until slightly browned on all sides.

Serve with either coriander or mint chutney. It tastes awesome by itself too.
Verdict: This can be made any day as a healthy tea-time snack for kids. Do try it sometime and let me know how it turns out.
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Friday, 8 February 2013

Low Fat Orange Cranberry Muffins

I bought a packet of "no-name" dried cranberries on my visit to Canada last year. I would have loved to purchase the whole range of dried and candied fruits, only the lack of luggage space discouraged me from doing so. We consumed most of the packet as such with dried fruits and nuts, but since this makes a wonderful ingredient in cakes too, I decided to try out orange muffins with cranberries. I had decided to make this the low-fat version using oil instead of butter.


Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 4 tbsp
Egg - 1 
Freshly squeezed orange juice - 3/4 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Cranberries - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Orange zest -  1 tbsp
Curd - 1/4 cup


Preheat oven to (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease and line cupcake moulds.
In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg with the orange juice and vanilla extract. Add the curd and baking soda and keep aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Blend the oil into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir in the chopped cranberries. Pour into the prepared cupcake moulds and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. 
Verdict:  As with most muffins, these are super quick and easy to make. The cranberries give and added dash to the whole baked goodie :)
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