Ok fine. I admit. I can cook, but I can’t quite bake baking isn’t my forte. As they say, cooking is an art, but baking is all about science. Science and me aren’t exactly best friends. When I was still in Malaysia, I used to bake cheesecakes that my colleagues seemed to have loved. I made the occasional cookie, banana cake and whatnot. But I never really BAKED.
But now. Now that I’m in Italy, baking ingredients may be a lot more confusing and daunting to figure out, but they’re readily available. I have a beautiful Smeg oven in a beautiful little kitchen, what more can I ask for? I have discovered my love for cooking and the slow but steady arrival of my love for baking. The hubs has no electric mixer when I first moved here. So whenever I had to bake, I used the biggest bowl I could find and lots of elbow grease. The thing with baking is that it’s all about precision; getting air in, mixing with the right tools to incorporate ingredients. Winging it just doesn’t work, as I have learnt the hard way. Last week, I discovered what may turn out to be the biggest reason behind my unsuccesful baking ventures. An inaccurate measuring cup. I had been using this cheapo dubious looking measuring cup that the hubs has had from eons ago. I bought a better looking one recently and thought that I would compare it just for fun. Armed with a 250ml can of coke and the two measuring cups, I whooped in joy when the old cup gave wrong measurements while the new one was correct. I pray that THAT’s the reason behind my baking flops 😉
I was craving for something warm and cinnamon-y and chanced upon Joy The Baker’s Cinnamon Roll Muffins. Crossing my fingers, I made them and seeing them rise in the oven, I knew it was a success.
And this was right out of the oven.
Good Lord, these were sooooooo gooooood eaten warm.
Adapted from Joy The Baker
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (40 celcius ; low fat is fine)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)
Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 175C.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.
Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.
1. You want to “poke” the filling/topping so it gets into the dough. If you leave bits on top, some may fall off while eating, but if you like it crumbly, leave some filling on top of the dough.
2. I took pictures of the muffin BEFORE I drizzled icing on it. I’ve made it twice since, once without and once with icing. If you like it less sweet, you can always do away with the icing on top.
I made these for some friends and they seemed to love it. The hubs gave me “full marks” for this. He tells his mum that I can cook like a pro but cannot bake to save my life. Let’s see if I can blame it all on the stupid measuring cup henceforth. And oh I will be getting some AID in the KITCHEN pretty darn soon too. The order has been placed, now I’m waiting for the shipment. 😉