Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Cakes with Zingy Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Some time ago I’d seen this blueberry muffin recipe from Paul Hollywood; I was intrigued by the overnight standing time for the batter and wanted to adapt the recipe to see how a gluten free version turned out.  I had some blueberries that needed using up and I quite fancied something cakey, so now seemed as good a time as any to try it.

I was also hankering for some lemony frosting, the addition of which may well be the thing that tips this from muffin to cake.

Blueberry muffin cakeUltimately, I’m unable to work out where the dividing line comes between a muffin and a cupcake, unwilling to work my way through the fine (and not so fine) detail on the subject that can be found all over the place on the internet, and reluctant to accidentally be drawn into the debate through the misplacement of a name; hence the somewhat unimaginative decision to call them muffin cakes.

Whatever they’re called, they’re delicious – give them a try and I’m sure you’ll agree.

110g butter
65g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
110g plain gluten free flour mix (I always use Dove’s Farm)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 hands full of fresh blueberries

For the frosting
35g butter, softened
100g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
1 lemon – finely grate all of the rind and squeeze out about half the juice


Before you start, make sure you’ve allowed for the fact that your batter needs to rest overnight, or at the very minimum for an hour.

cream butter and sugarCream butter and sugar together – no need to go as light and fluffy as you would for a regular cupcake.

add eggs and vanillaSlowly beat in the eggs and continue to mix for three minutes. Add vanilla extract.

add flourFold in flour and baking powder, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Rested over nightYou will end up with a really thick, slightly crumbly paste (think pastry just before you draw it together into a ball).

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400°F.

Line a baking tray with 8 or 9 paper cases.

Place a small spoonful of muffin mixture into each paper case, add three or four blueberries, then top with another small spoonful of the mixture; your cases should be filled to around half way.

Gently press another three or four blueberries into the top of each cake.

golden brown and well risenBake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until they’re well risen, golden brown and spring back when gently pressed with a finger.

Naked blueberry muffinRemove from tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

If you want to eat them naked, please do so – still warm is spectacularly good.

If not, keep going and make the frosting…

The cream cheese needs to be very cold, so drain any liquid from the top then pop the pack back into the fridge until you need it.

Beat butter until soft and lightYour butter needs to be a bit warm and very soft so that it combines properly with the cream cheese in the next stage; beat it until it’s light and soft enough.

Beat in cream cheeseAdd the cream cheese, most of the lemon rind (keep a little back for decoration) and the juice of half the lemon then beat together until combined. Don’t over beat it as the more you beat the more runny the cream cheese will become.

mix in icing sugar, lemon zest & juiceSift in half of the icing sugar and lightly beat; add the remaining icing sugar and mix well.

If your mixture is a bit runny, stick the bowl in the fridge for a while and it should firm up.

Frosted muffin cakesPipe swirls on top of your muffin cakes and finish with the reserved lemon zest.

Blueberry muffin cake with lemon cream cheese frostingIt would be nice if you shared them with friends and family, but I totally understand if you don’t 😉



Mini Smoked Salmon Terrine

smoked salmon

Barn’s been away working so I took the opportunity to indulge myself in foods he doesn’t like.  Prime example, this beautiful organic smoked salmon, snapped up on a half price deal.  Snapped up with no idea what I was going to do with it, and with flagrant disregard for the rules of a cupboard challenge.

Having snagged my booty I felt I should at least apply the principle of a cupboard challenge by purchasing no further ingredients – whatever was at home would have to do.  Fortuitously, what was already in my fridge enabled me to make this delicious terrine 🙂

This recipe makes a decent lunch sized portion for one; size the recipe up according to the number of people you wish to serve.  If you have smaller moulds and wanted to do this as a starter, the quantities below should serve two.

Smoked salmon terrine with oatcakes

Ingredients per serving
100g thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 heaped tablespoon cream cheese
1 dessert spoon crème fraîche
A squeeze of lemon juice (about a dessert spoon)
Freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing
3 dessert spoons olive oil
3 dessert spoons lemon juice
A pinch of caster sugar
A few sprigs of fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Thinly sliced cucumber and green salad leaves, to serve

Remember – this is a per person recipe!

line ramekin with cling film and salmon slicesPrepare a small ramekin by lining with cling film, making sure you leave plenty of excess overhanging the dish.

Use slices of smoked salmon to completely line the ramekin, again, making sure there is an overhang.  You should have around ⅓ of the salmon left.

add cream cheese and creme fraichePut remaining salmon into a food processor and blitz to a fine mince.

blendAdd cream cheese, crème fraîche, a squeeze of lemon juice and the black pepper then blend. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth, a little texture is fine 🙂

fill ramekin with cheese mixPour the salmony cheesey goodness into the prepared ramekin.

If there’s any left over it makes an awesome dip. Or just scoff it with a spoon.

Cover topBring up overhanging salmon edges to completely cover the filling.

wrap tightlyWrap reasonably tightly with the overhanging cling film – not too tightly or you risk having your filling splurge out.

Wrap the entire thing again with a double layer of cling film – this is going to be refrigerated overnight and you don’t want to imbue everything else in there with salmon flavour.

When you’re ready to serve, make the dressing by putting lemon juice, olive oil, caster sugar and a little chopped dill into a small jar with a tight fitting lid; shake vigorously (shake the jar!).  Add salt and pepper according to taste.

salad leaf & cucumber bedMake a bed of salad leaves on a plate, with a ring of sliced cucumber on top.

Smoked salmon terrineUnwrap the salmon terrine and carefully turn out onto the plate.  Drizzle with dressing and garnish with a sprig of dill.

Served with oatcakesServe with gluten free oatcakes…or ordinary ones…or crackers…as your tastes and dietary needs dictate 🙂


Hot-smoked salmon fish cakes

I made these to use up the trimmings after making some mini hot-smoked salmon en croute but off cuts can be bought, really cheaply, either from a fishmonger or pre-packaged in supermarkets.Ingredients

To make 4 standard or about 10 mini fish cakes

250-300g hot-smoked salmon broken into flakes (to be clear: the salmon should have been hot-smoked but the fish you are using should be cold!).
150-200g cold cooked potato
Juice and rind of half a lemon
Approx. 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper
For coating
1 beaten egg

MashedIn a medium sized bowl, use a fork to lightly mash the potato.

Add all other ingredients and combine well.

Naked cakes

Use your hands to shape the mixture into patties.  Chill for 20-30 minutes (or bung in the freezer for 10).Breaded cakes

Put your breadcrumbs into one bowl and the beaten egg into another.  Dip each patty, one at a time, first into the egg and then the breadcrumbs.  Make sure they’re completely covered.Oven bakedBake in the oven at gas mark 6/200°C/400°F until they are piping hot and golden brown.  That would take a little less time than these particular mini ones were baked for…so probably about 15-20 mins.

Serve with proper chips and rugged peas.

Perhaps you can help to pin down the timing a little more precisely…how long did yours take? 😉