Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Strawberry Crumble Muffins (gluten free/dairy free)

Our freezer is broken which is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare...... We keep a lot of stuff in our freezer! I batch-bake bread and cakes regularly because we rely so much on home-baked goods and we still have stocks of fruit and veg that has been sustaining us until the next harvest.

This means that essentially, we are trying to eat our way through weeks of food at break-neck speed, so that it doesn't go to waste and so that we can get the freezer fixed (if it can be fixed).....

In some ways it is a good thing to be forced to clear out the freezer occasionally..... It is amazing what you find, forgotten and abandoned in the depths of the baskets and at the back of the shelves. The flip side, is that your meals become entirely dictated by what comes out and you have to be as innovative as possible in combining ingredients, without creating more food than you need (there's nowhere to freeze the excess). And if you can't eat it all yourself, find some willing victims to bake and cook for....... Nothing will last long once it has defrosted....

One of the things I seem to have stashed in abundance is a variety of fruit compotes, and roasted strawberries...... all in neat little portion pots (when did I ever find the time to be that organised?). With the school summer fair this term, I decided to put some of them to good use making one of my daughter's old favourites..... a fruit crumble cake.

The original (glutenous) recipe came from a pack of Usborne children's recipe cards - '30 Yummy Things to Bake', which we used to enjoy when my daughter was a pre-schooler and before she was diagnosed Coeliac. The other day, she pulled the cards off the shelf and looked longingly at a few of them, so it seemed a good time to revisit and adapt for gluten-freedom.

For the school fair, I made the cake as a tray-bake, but with plenty of fruit left over, I decided to treat my colleagues to a batch of the same, but in muffin form....... Actually, I preferred the recipe as muffins and they certainly went down well in the office.

The recipe can be made both gluten and dairy free, or just gluten free, depending on your needs, by replacing the butter and yoghurt with dairy free substitutes. Either way tastes as good, so there's no missing out on flavour.

The star of the show is the fruity compote layer which is sandwiched between soft sponge and crunchy sweet crumble topping. I used my 'pot-luck' freezer strawberry-raspberry compote which I mixed with extra roasted strawberries....... but you can replace with any flavour thick fruit compote you fancy, or just replace with a good quality jam or fruit conserve, if that's what you have to hand. It is worth using something with bits of discernible fruit for texture and to enhance the fruitiness of the experience.

The sponge base has extra strawberry compote mixed in to enhance the fruitiness even further and you could even try using fruit yoghurt instead of plain in the cake batter...... I ran out of plain yoghurt after my first batch and ended up pilfering from my daughter's yoghurt stash in the fridge........ Handily, she had a nice pot of strawberry yoghurt in there which worked perfectly!

The texture of the sponge is light and moist. The ground almonds add a lovely nutty texture and help to maintain freshness (should you have any left uneaten). Plus, I always think of cakes with almonds as relatively healthy, so there is less guilt attached to eating them.

Either way, these muffins are pretty delicious and as the recipe has already been requested by a couple of the office folk, it seems important to get them posted.....

I am sharing this recipe with the following this week/month :

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.

Treat Petite - this month with Kat at the Baking Explorer (co-hosted by Cakeyboi). This month's theme is 'Let's Get Fruity'....... these muffins certainly have!

Tea Time Treats with Karen at Lavender & Lovage (& The Hedge Combers). June's Tea Time adventure is all about Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cup Cakes, so these are a perfect offering.

Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber, who is asking for cakes which speak of Midsummer Madness...... I have been tearing my hair out trying to use up freezer produce and these cakes (which are filled with summer deliciousness) were perfect for helping reduce my insanity.

I am also offering them as my second entry to the wonderful Dom over at Belleau Kitchen and his Simply Eggcellent 'anything goes' month. Cakes tend to be pretty reliant for the most part on eggs, and these contain a perfect ratio of three large free range ones!

And finally..... The No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I am doing a lot of food salvage at the moment and these muffins used up lots of frozen fruit....

Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Strawberry Crumble Muffins (makes 18 large muffins)


Sponge Base
225g dairy free spread/butter - room temperature 
225g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs - room temperature
6 tablespoons/90 ml dairy free yoghurt/ plain yoghurt/ strawberry yoghurt
1 tablespoon thick berry coulis/runny strawberry jam/sauce
250g plain GF flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch fine sea salt
25g polenta (fine ground)

Crumble Topping
65g plain GF flour mix
40g GF oats
50g dairy free margarine/butter - cold
55g soft light brown sugar
15g ground hazelnuts
extra light brown sugar to sprinkle on top

Strawberry Compote
600g strawberries - trimmed, hulled and cut into quarters
60g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Runny Strawberry Jam/Conserve


  1. Make the  compote first : Put the strawberries, sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer stirring. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the fruit is soft and broken down and the liquid has reduced into a thick compote. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the crumble topping : In a large bowl, mix together the flour and oats and rub or blend in the spread/butter to resemble breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar and hazelnuts and stir through. Set aside in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
  4. Make the Sponge : Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and place muffin cases in a muffin tin ready to fill.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the spread/butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each (don't worry too much if they begin to curdle).
  7. Add the yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of cold compote/runny jam and beat again.
  8. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and polenta. Add to the wet mix and gently fold until just combined (be careful not to over-mix). 
  9. Put a large spoonful of sponge batter in each muffin case (about half-full) and smooth the top.
  10. Mix a couple of dessert spoons of strawberry jam with the compote. Put a heaped teaspoon of the jam mixture on the top of the cake batter in each muffin case and use a knife or fork to swirl through the batter. (If you are using only jam and it is too thick, just warm slightly to make runnier to swirl)
  11. Top each muffin with crumble mix and an extra sprinkle of brown sugar.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes (large muffins) until well risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
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  1. I once came back home to my mums house to find that her chest freezer had given up the ghost over the week we'd been away and basically the inside had turned into freezer soup which was utterly vile so you're lucky to have caught it in time! An amazing creation out of frozen goodies. They look utterly delicious. Thanks for the lovely entry to Simply Eggcellent x

    1. Oh no! That makes my freezer dilemma seem quite over-dramatised! We've done well in salvaging most of it one way or another and the freezer engineer is coming to try and fix it on Friday..... so fingers crossed x

  2. What a nightmare to have your freezer break down but at least cake came out of it! Every cloud etc!

    1. Thanks Ness. Every cloud indeed...... There are always positives with a challenge in life!

  3. Ohhhhh yum! These have to be my favourite muffin I've seen in a long time, chocolate ones included! I feel for you having a broken freezer. It happened to me in my uni house last year, right after I'd packed it with meals I'd made over the weekend. I was lucky enough to get a replacement though so not much went to waste.

    1. Well thank you Laura. I think everyone has a freezer story to tell and none of them are very pretty! The freezer god always picks the worst moments to get angry and you can pretty much guarantee it will be when you've just made a load of food to put in it!

  4. Hope your freezer gets fixed soon. That's only happened to me once but it was a nightmare trying to eat and sort everything.
    The muffins look a great idea to use up the berries.
    Just think of all the space you'll have to re-stock with new goodies now :)

    1. Thanks Katie. I hadn't looked ahead to filling it again..... but you're right! Lots of room for more baking and cooking!!! Yay!!

  5. These look so delicious and I love that you've turned a typical winter treat into something perfect for summer! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

  6. A broken freezer, what a nightmare! It has happened to me as well and it was impossible to rescue all the contents. On the plus side starting fresh with an empty freezer is a good thing... Plus these muffins look so delicious! I bet the traybake was a huge hit too! Thanks for linking with #CookBlogShare

    1. Nightmare indeed! I am amazed we managed to rescue (and eat) as much as we did. Looking forward to filling it back up again. Actually, I had been meaning to try and eat down the contents for a while, so every cloud........

  7. I dread such things - like you, I'm a batch baker/cook.
    Your cakes look beautiful - so pretty, and I love how you've posed them for the pics

    1. I know..... it was pretty frustrating, but I guess these things happen from time to time.
      I have to admit though, the muffins made cute little models!

  8. These crumbly muffins look very good for afternoon snack. Great for the kids too!

    1. Thanks Alida. They did taste pretty healthy and my daughter definitely enjoyed them x

  9. ABSOLUTELY stunning - thanks for adding them to Tea Time Treats for June! Karen

  10. These are wonderful! So perfect for this time of year :-) (or any time, really...) x

    1. Thanks Aimee. I could certainly eat them any time of year!! x

  11. Nothing beats a good freezer clear out, but when it's forced like that! Eek! I hope everything worked out in the end. These muffins are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing with the No Waste Food Challenge :)

    1. You're welcome and thank you Elizabeth. I think enforced freezer clear-outs are the only way to get me to sort stuff. And the muffins were really really good.... I will certainly be making them again!

  12. I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips on this review.


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