Blueberry Lemon Muffins with Caramel Drizzle

Summer is finally approaching! It feels like I've been waiting for so long. Goodbye dreary mornings and hello Sunshine drenched, birds tweeting, rise and shine mornings! I don't know about you but I have a hard time getting up if it's dark and rainy. If it's warm and bright out though I'll be up (and smiling too)! Another thing I love about Spring and Summer is picnics! Gingham blankets, punnets of strawberries and (occasionally) rose wine. These muffins are the perfect picnic fodder too. Light, moist and delicately flavoured with tangy, sweet blueberry bursts. Summer in a mouthful!

I've been playing around with this recipe for a while now and have finally created the perfect blueberry muffin, with just a hint of lemon and vanilla. The yoghurt adds a lovely creamy taste and helps keep the muffins moist for days. These are so easy to throw together too. Just mix the wet and dry ingredients separately with a whisk or fork and then combine until just mixed. So easy! 

Recipe (makes 12 muffin size cakes):

195g Plain flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
A pinch of Salt
125ml Vegetable/Sunflower oil
160g Brown Sugar (light)
1 Large egg
125ml Greek yoghurt
Zest 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
125g Blueberries
2 tablespoons Caramel sauce

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C or Gas mark 3. Put cupcake/muffin cases in a cupcake tin.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, bircarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In another bowl combine oil, sugar, egg, yoghurt, zest and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the blueberries to the flour and stir.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (try not to overmix).
  6. Pour into your cupcake/muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes. They are cooked when a toothpick inserted comes out clear.

I've drizzled mine in caramel sauce (like you do!) however they are perfectly lovely without. By the way if you're interested in making caramel sauce then go check out my recipe here! It is dangerous though so beware (you won't be able to stop eating it with a spoon) it is extremely high in sugar and fat. You can buy caramel sauce from most supermarkets but homemade has so much more flavour (in my opinion!).

Happy baking!


Home-made Caramel Sauce

Enjoy this sauce responsibly! It is addictive (and quite bad for your arteries too!). I like to smother it over ice-cream with banana slices and chopped pecans. I've used this sauce on cheesecake, apple pie and even used it in buttercream (for yummy caramel cupcakes) and smothered over donuts (just because!) 

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten. This was the most consistent recipe for me (it works like a dream every time I've made it) I added salt as I think it balances the sweetness of the caramel. Can you see the little flecks of vanilla beans? Yum!

Recipe (makes about 500ml sauce):

60ml (1/4 cup) Water
300g (1 1/2 cups) Sugar
280ml (1 1/4 cups) Double cream
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
1/2 teaspoon Salt


  1. Make sure you have all your ingredients to hand and measured before you start as you will be at the stove watching the pan!
  2. In a saucepan combine water and sugar and heat over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir just swirl the pan occasionally.
  3. When the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat up to medium and wait until the colour begins to turn chestnut brown. Be careful to keep an eye on it as it burns very easily.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cream, vanilla and salt and stir. The mixture will bubble and may solidify a little. Just heat it over a low heat stirring until smooth.
  5. Pour into a sterile jar through a sieve.

This sauce thickens as it cools and will keep for several weeks in a cool dry place (mine never lasts that long!). If it thickens too much just heat it for 10 seconds in the microwave. Enjoy!


Super Delicious Secret Ingredient Brownies

Have you got an ingredient lurking in the back of your cupboard or fridge? You know, the neglected, rarely used items? I can't be the only one, surely! I have so many things I've bought on impulse and only used once or twice. Like the jar of tahini paste in my fridge, (I made humous with two tablespoonfuls) It has sat there ever since. Or the bag of chickpea flour (sometimes known as gram or garbanzo flour). I've made onion bhajis a couple of times but honestly it has sat in my cupboard for nearly six months! It got me thinking "can I bake with it?". The short answer is yes! 

This recipe was inspired by Lucillian Delights. These brownies were the most delicious out of all the recipes I tried. They were moist, cakey, fudgy and chewy in all the right places. They are even crispy on top! You really wouldn't know that they were made with chickpea flour!

I made cupcakes but you can make these in a 9" x 9" square baking tin as normal. You can also omit the nuts if you prefer. Add chunks of your favourite chocolate bar to your brownie batter. Add chocolate frosting to the top when cool or perhaps drizzle caramel sauce over the top! Yum!

Recipe: (makes 24 cupcakes)

150g Butter
100g Dark chocolate
1 teaspoon Instant coffee granules
3 Large eggs
200g Brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Cocoa powder
85g Chickpea flour (also known as gram or garbanzo flour)
100g Chocolate chips/chunks
50g Chopped hazelnuts (optional)


  1. Place cupcake cases (I've used muffin sized cases) in a cupcake tin and pre-heat your oven to 170C/Gas mark 3. Or grease and flour a 9" by 9" square baking tin.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate and coffee granules. Stir until the chocolate is melted and set aside to cool.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt in another bowl.
  5. Add the egg mix to the chocolate/butter mix until combined.
  6. Add the flour mix and chocolate chunks/nuts and stir until smooth.
  7. Pour into cupcake cases 2/3rds full (or the square baking tin) and bake cupcakes for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (if using a square baking tin cook for about 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
Print Recipe

Have you found any other uses for chickpea flour? What do you have lurking in the back of your cupboard? I'd love to hear from you!


Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

I've had Strawberry cake on the brain lately. It may be because Spring is in the air and I'm thinking of warm sunny days, ice cold drinks and summer berry desserts. After trying many "from scratch" strawberry cake recipes I actually ended up adapting this vanilla cake recipe. I was so happy with the results that I just had to share. It turned out just how I wanted it to and is definitely a keeper.

Moist, tender and full of flavour (and best of all really easy to make!). With no artificial flavourings just fresh strawberries, these cupcakes are ideal for children (especially little girls who love pink!). I am surrounded by boys in my house but they'll still eat this cake (even the big one!). There's something about pink cake that I find irresistible. Maybe because it's such a fun, whimsical colour. 

I've paired these cupcakes with strawberry buttercream but you could just top these with whipped cream for a grown up version. 

The flavour and colour of the cake will depend on the berries you use (and whether you use food colouring). I recommend using my strawberry sauce in this recipe as cooking the strawberries and reducing them a little increases the flavour, in my opinion, but if you want to just blitz some strawberries in a food processor and use that then go ahead! 

This recipe makes about 20 cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake cases). This mix will also make a 6" round cake instead of cupcakes. Just fill two lined 6" round tins equally and cook for about 35-40 minutes at the same temperature.


Strawberry Cupcakes:
1 and 1/4 cup (160g) Cake flour (if you don't have cake flour then measure the same amount of plain flour and minus two tablespoons then add two tablespoons of cornflour and mix well)
1 tsp Baking powder
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
2 Large eggs
3/4 cup (187 mls) Vegetable/sunflower oil
3/4 cup (95g) Sugar
1/4 cup (62 mls) Strawberry sauce/puree
1/4 cup (62 mls) Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Strawberry extract (optional)
1-2 drops Pink food colouring (optional)

Strawberry Buttercream:
200g Butter (softened)
400g Icing Sugar (sifted)
2-4 tbsp Strawberry sauce/puree

Cupcakes Method:
  1. Fill a cupcake pan with cupcake cases and pre-heat your oven to 170C / Gas mark 3.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl add eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla and strawberry extracts and mix well until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk and strawberry sauce/puree (and food colouring if using).
  5. Add half the flour mix to the eggs mix and combine, then add half the strawberry, buttermilk mix until combined.
  6. Add the last of the flour and mix then add the last of the strawberry, buttermilk mix until combined. (this prevents lumps from forming in the batter)
  7. The cake batter will be quite runny (don't panic, this is normal!) Fill the cupcake cases with your cake batter about two thirds full. (try pouring the batter into a jug first to make it easier to pour into the cupcake cases)
  8. Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Buttercream Method:
  1. Combine the butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer and mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the strawberry sauce/puree and mix again until combined.
  3. Taste it to see if you want more strawberry flavour, if so just add a tablespoon at a time and mix.

Let me know if you give it a go, I'd love to know how you get on!


Homemade Strawberry Sauce

I created this recipe after finding a punnet of strawberries at the back of my fridge, yet again. They were left there, abandoned for about 5 days. I'm the only one in my family that eats strawberries you see. Yes, really! My better half doesn't like them (I've only just found out recently!) and my oldest kid has tried them and declared war and the youngest won't attempt them at all. Now since I've never actively tried to poison my children I do wonder where the paranoia comes from! Still though they both love to eat strawberry yoghurts and milkshakes! To be fair they are good at eating their vegetables so I guess I can't complain. 

I don't know about you but I love strawberries. So red and juicy and sweet! I could eat them as they are with no trouble whatsoever.

This sauce is really easy to make and keeps in the fridge for a few days and can even be frozen. It is so versatile, you can use it over ice-cream and fruit (sundaes) or pour over meringue, topped with fruit and cream for a tasty dessert. Make your own strawberry ice-cream. Create slushies by blending with ice cubes. Add to smoothies or milkshakes for a delicious, refreshing drink. The list is endless! I even use this sauce to make yummy, from scratch, fresh strawberry cupcakes!

This recipe can be adapted to most soft fruits and berries so get creative with whatever you have to hand. You don't need to be too exact with this recipe either. The balsamic vinegar really adds dimension to this sauce and brings out the strawberry flavour (it also deepens the colour) but don't worry if you don't have any as the sauce will still turn out great.

This recipe makes roughly about 1 1/2 cups/375 mls of sauce.

1 Punnet of strawberries (about 400g)
3 tsp Sugar
2-4 tbsp Water
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar


  1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut each one into quarters.
  2. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat over a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until the strawberries are very soft.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir, remove from heat.
  5. Cool slightly then place in a blender (or use a hand-blender if you have one) until smooth.
  6. Use a sieve to remove pips (optional) and place in a clean air-tight container.
  7. Use immediately or store in the fridge until required (3 days maximum) or freeze for up to 6 months. 

Do you ever have any leftover strawberries (or fussy little ones!)?


DIY Easter Chocolate Bar

The kids really enjoyed making (and eating!) this treat. It's the perfect activity when you have little ones as they love getting messy with food and they get to eat what they've made! Make sure you don't do this right before teatime as they won't want to eat their dinner (lesson learnt!).

It is amazing too how pretty this looks. (I do love pink though!) 

You can use pretty much any sweets, nuts, dried fruit pieces, whatever takes your fancy really. I wanted to use up some leftover smarties and cake sprinkles and it ended up reminding me of Easter/Spring. Which is just around the corner (well about 8 weeks away!) so it's quite relevant don't you think?

When I was trying to take pictures my boys were right under my feet, hovering around! (their tiny hands and mouths only inches from the lens!) The joys of blogging with a six and three year old! Still this was one of the more enjoyable posts I've made.

This chocolate bar can be cut into triangles or squares and given as gifts (quite inexpensive really considering the price of Easter eggs these days). Try tying pretty ribbon and labels on for extra thoughtfulness!


300g Bar of chocolate of your choice (I used Cadburys)
1 tube of smarties (I omitted the red and orange ones just for aesthetics but really there's no need!)
1 Bag of mini eggs
A handful of cake sprinkles (I used Asda's butterflies and flowers sprinkles)
Pink candy melts

  1. Break up the chocolate and place in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on a low heat setting for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after every 30 seconds until melted. Alternatively you can melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water on the stove (bain marie).
  2. Melt a handful of candy melts using the methods above.
  3. Pour the chocolate into an 8" square tin that has been lined with grease-proof paper.
  4. Pour the melted candy melts on top of the chocolate and use a toothpick to swirl it around until it looks agreeable!
  5. Sprinkle on the sweets and sprinkles and let it set in the fridge.
Using up leftover sweets has never been so fun (or tasty). I hope you give it a go!


Moist White Chocolate Cake Filled With Luscious Raspberries

I must apologise for posting a cake like this in January. If you've made New Year resolutions or you're on a diet you need to look away right now!

I did warn you!
I never make New Year resolutions. I think putting too much pressure on yourself to make changes never works (for me anyway). Too many times I've disappointed myself. If I really want to make a change and I put my mind to it then 9 times out of 10 I will achieve it no matter what time of year it is. So now I just relax in January and eat cake occasionally too! How about you? Have you ever made any resolutions and stuck to them?

I've been wanting to make a white chocolate mud cake for ages and of course you can't have white chocolate without raspberries! They go so well together don't you think? This recipe is so easy too and using ingredients that most people will have in their cupboards.
This recipe is adapted from here and makes a 4" round cake. Enough for two to four people (depending on how generous you're feeling!) Of course you can make cupcakes instead or even double the quantities to make a 6" cake.

This is a dense fudgy cake with a definite white chocolate flavour. So many recipes I've tried produce dry overly sweet cake but this one is just right. This cake actually gets better with time, which is great if you need to make it in advance.
White Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
150g White chocolate
100g Salted butter
125ml Milk
80g Caster sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 Large egg
125g Plain flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160C / Gas mark 3 and line two round 4" cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. Place chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a pan on a low heat until everything is melted. Allow this to cool.
  3. Whisk egg and vanilla together and add to the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. In a separate large bowl mix flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda until combined.
  5. Pour some of the chocolate mixture into the flour bowl and stir until smooth. Add a little more of the chocolate mix in batches and stir until smooth. This prevents lumps in the batter.
  6. Pour into two 4" round cake tins evenly and bake for approximately 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean when it is cooked.
  7. Allow to cool in the tins.
Raspberry Buttercream Ingredients:
75g Butter (softened)
150g Icing (powdered) sugar sifted
1 tablespoon Raspberry jam
1 Punnet of raspberries
  1. Combine the butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Add jam and mix until combined.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients:
50g Butter (softened)
100g Icing (powdered) sugar sifted
2 tablespoons white chocolate (melted)
1 tablespoon Cream cheese
  1. Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Add cooled chocolate and mix until combined.
  4. Add cream cheese and mix by hand until combined.
Cake Assembly:
  1. Cut each cooled cake in two and set aside.
  2. Fill with raspberry buttercream and raspberries.
  3. Use a spatula and cover the cake sides and top with the white chocolate buttercream.
  4. Store in the fridge until needed. Leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
I don't know if anyone will notice but that is a sugar gumpaste rose. I've been practising and thought it would look lovely next to this cake!

Happy January!

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