Delia Smith v coffee shop – lemon and poppy seed muffins
We had a lot of lemons in the house this week. I’d put two big bags of them on the shopping list because I was planning to make a lemon pudding and I had a cold coming on. The cold came and I failed miserably on the pudding front and, although, I did drink a lot of hot lemon, there were still a lot left over. I had to find something lemony to bake and I decided on the iced lemon and poppy seed muffins from Delia’s Cakes. I used to be a fan of Cafe Nero’s, although I haven’t had one for ages. The children prefer Costa for its giant Belgian chocolate teacakes and, when I’m by myself, I usually go all independent.
Delia’s recipe is for four large muffins. Four didn’t seem enough, so I decided to bake double. As the recipe advises, (advice which I know I should, but rarely do follow) I carefully weighed out all of my ingredients before I started.
I sifted plain flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. There was a bit of a problem with the baking powder measurements. The recipe says use a dessertspoonful, but I’m not too sure how big this is. My measuring spoons are in tablespoon, teaspoon and parts of a teaspoon size. Google says that it’s two teaspoons (a tablespoon is three), but I didn’t think of looking it up at the time – I wasn’t really concentrating on getting my measurements exactly right because my two year old had just come stomping into the kitchen swinging her potty in the air. It was empty thank the Lord, but somewhat distracting.
I whisked lemon juice and zest, poppy seeds, eggs, golden caster sugar, milk and melted butter together in a separate bowl and then sieved the flour mixture into it. Delia says that the second sieve is crucial because, with muffins, you don’t do very much mixing when you add they wet ingredients to the dry ones. In this case, the recipes says that you should fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones in about 15 seconds. It did take me a bit longer than 15 seconds to get all of the flour folded in – I don’t think my spoon was big enough.
I put the mixture into cases in a muffin tin. I found that I had enough for twelve, rather than eight. Delia’s recipe does specify a particular make of muffin tin, so perhaps mine is smaller, or perhaps my muffin cases are smaller, or maybe it’s both.
I baked the muffins at 180° fan for thirty minutes. I let them cool, and covered them with icing made from sieved fondant icing sugar and lemon juice. They ended up looking like this.
Was it worth it?
They do look bit like the picture of the muffins in the book, although the icing isn’t as neat. Taste-wise, they didn’t go down too well with my child testers (they licked off the icing and left the rest). The tasters with false teeth didn’t like them either, “too many poppy seeds”, they said, “they get stuck”. My husband didn’t like them at all. “They’re bitter and flat”, he said, “but they are cakes so I’ll eat them anyway”.
I thought they were fine. The icing was like lemon sherbet, and, the muffins were, as promised, more moist and lemony than the coffee shop versions. They were nowhere near as big though. On the downside, I think my denture wearers were right. There were too many poppy seeds. Three-quarters of the recipe amount rather than double would have been fine.
On the whole, in the contest between coffee shop and homemade, I’d give this one to homemade. Due to my rigorous taste testing though, I’m not sure I’ll feel like a lemon muffin for quite some time.