Cupcakes, muffins and friands
Little bakes such as muffins, cupcakes and friands are very popular sweet treats — especially for celebrating Mother’s Day. Over the years the difference between cupcakes and muffins has almost become non-existent. Muffins have become sweeter, more’s the pity.
The first muffin I ever tried was my grandmother’s bran creation. It was heavy, stodgy and stuck in my throat. It almost put me off muffins for life. However, I have developed a really moist version, which I find very moreish. I usually prefer savoury muffins, especially with my morning coffee but Not Nana’s Bran Muffins (see recipe) come a close second.
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Cupcakes are traditionally very sweet and the method of preparation is different to that of muffins. With cupcakes, butter and sugar are normally creamed first then the flavourings, eggs, liquid and flour are added. With muffins, the dry ingredients are combined separately from the wet ingredients then both are combined until just moistened.
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Friands are small oval cakes prepared with ground almonds, butter, icing sugar and egg whites. The latter are for binding the mixture, not aerating it as such. The friand recipe evolved from the French ‘financier’, although this little oval cake includes flour. New Zealand friands are generally gluten-free but people allergic to wheat should check on the ingredients. Friands freeze particularly well.