I’ve run out of oats so couldn’t make flapjacks for this week’s breakfast, and I wanted to have something to take in to keep me away from the lure of rolls and sausage or toast and bacon. Something moderately healthy, for preference. I had oat bran, an ingredient I’ve only used once and bought for a particular recipe, so I was keen to make something with that. It’s like a coarse flour, and it’s made of a bit of an oat. The outer shell of an oat, according to the internet, and the part which is highest in fibre. It is made of combined aleurone and pericarp. No, I don’t know what they are either – have left the links in in case you’re interested in learning more about oat bran. It’s different from Allbran, for example, or bran flakes, which are made of wheat bran. I am just fuuuuuuuull of bran related knowledge today.
I searched the web for an oat bran muffin recipe, and there were plenty, but this one caught my eye – Banana Oat Bran Muffins. I happened to have four ripe bananas in the kitchen, which I inherited from the G man before he went off to work away for a week. I say inherited – bananas aren’t one of those things that are really made for inheriting. Imagine being contacted to say you’d been mentioned in someone’s will, and then it turned out they’d left you a bunch of bananas. Already ripe bananas, at that. It’d be hard to appear thankful for those. I suppose the plus side of that situation is that you wouldn’t have to worry about offending the person by being ungrateful, what with them being dead and all. The reason that I took the bananas at all was that I am intending on making three cakes this week, one of which will be banana and caramel based, so it was pretty good timing. However, I wasn’t going to need four bananas for one cake, so using one in these muffins was ideal. I also really love cake with banana in – the natural sweetness is more satisfying and kind of more filling that using sugar alone, and the mashed-in fruit keeps the sponge really moist. So, banana and oat bran seemed like an excellent breakfast time combo. I followed the recipe but halved it, though in the end I wish I’d added more baking powder and more banana, as the cakes didn’t rise at all and the banana flavour wasn’t as strong as I’d have liked. I also stupidly, and out of habit, used cake cases instead of muffin cases so I still ended up with ten cakes, even though I’d only wanted four or five.
All in all, not my finest baking moment, since I also over-baked them ever so slightly. The inside of the cakes is still fluffy and soft, and flavourful, but the tops were a bit on the burnt side for my liking. There is the mystery of them not rising, too – maybe there wasn’t enough by way of acid to react with the baking powder? Or the other thing could be that I used a whole egg instead of just egg white, just so I didn’t waste an egg yolk, maybe that made the dough too heavy. They would have been nice with some citrus in there, too, a bit of orange rind or lemon essence maybe. Either that or swapping the raisins for some dried blueberries would work too, I think. A pretty good start to the day, I think… Though I’m just going to work out the calorie content so I could be completely misleading myself.
Woo! The cakes I made were 68 calories each, I am pleased to announce. So even two is less than 14o calories, and I had one this morning that kept me full until lunch. Huzzah!
Now to think about the cakes for the rest of the week. Spoiler alert! If you are one of the girls and don’t wish to know what cakes may be available on Thursday, please look away now. I’ll tell you about the non-girls night cake first, to give you time to screw up your willpower. My good friend and colleague Miss R (who is on leave this week, and who we are missing very much) is taking part in a 10K run/walk/stroll/wheelchair push on Sunday as part of Team Mairead – I only mention Mairead’s name because I’m now going to give you a link to their sponsorship page, should you have a spare couple of quid: Sponsor Team Mairead. I’ve never met Miss Mairead but I’ve heard loads about her and she sounds like a right laugh. I’d like to meet her in person one day but, until then, I’m going to content myself with baking all my regard and best wishes into a cake. I ordered an edible photo to go on the top – I didn’t take a photo of it, foolishly, but will do so tomorrow after checking with Miss R if it’s OK to post it, in case it’s to be a surprise! Anyway, I want a nice, moist sponge as it’s to last from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, so not positive what I’m going to do as yet. Possibly something boozy – coconut cake with added Malibu, mayhap, and that ace cream cheese/buttercream/coconut icing I made before. I know that Miss R is partial to a bit of coconut…
For the girls night birthday cakes, one is a banana toffee number, that’s for sure. For the other I’m thinking a wheatless chocolate and raspberry sponge. I have this recipe for a chocolate cake that uses almonds instead of flour, and it’s so soft and rich that it’s almost like a mousse, a really dense, amazing mousse. I’m thinking I could just fire some raspberries through it, like the chocolate, pistachio and raspberry cake, although it might be best to puree them and strain to just give a sort of syrup… I’ll think it over tomorrow and Wednesday, as I’ll be baking them both on Wednesday night and then will be baking the Team Mairead cake on Thursday before I head out to girls night, so I’ll have to be careful not to settle on an over-complicated recipe.
Enough thinking out loud, I’ll be off for now.