sweet treats for the long cold nights

It’s mid-winter here in New Zealand, and the best way to stave off the soul-crushing depression of a dark, dreary Wellington winter is by getting busy in the kitchen.  And by getting busy I mean baking, though of course, what you do in your kitchen is up to you!

I had been wanted to try baking both Afghans and Pumpkin muffins for sometime.


I finally remembered to buy corn flakes at the supermarket, and spent a Friday night at home, making  these delicious chocolate treats. The basic recipe is shown below:

I followed Alexa Johnston’s recipe from “Ladies a Plate” and they turned out really tasty.  Throw everything except the cornflakes in a bowl and mix it a bit, then massage in the corn flakes.  I had to add some water as my mixture was too dry.  These don’t really change shape (expand or rise) during baking, so how they look on the baking sheet before baking is basically exactly how they will look when they come out of the oven.

Pumpkin Muffcakes

My second baking project was a batch of what I have dubbed “pumpkin muffcakes”.  Sounds appetizing, huh? After reading Cameron’s post about Pumpkin-bran muffins, I decided to adapt the following recipe:

From the Tin Goose Cafe Cookbook and made some amazing Pumkin muffins with a chocolate icing.

I following recipe instructions as above, however, I used the following  ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • 2 cups mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbs wheat bran
  • 3 tbs oat bran
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Since we didn’t have any dark chocolate, I instead made a chocolate icing similar to the Afghan’s icing recipe, however, I substituted about 1/2 cup of  tapioca starch for icing sugar because I found the Afghan icing to be way too sweet.

So, since they are muffins with a sweet icing, I figured they were like a cross between muffins and cupcakes… hence, muffcakes!  This recipe made about 18 bright orange muffcakes, plus enough left over to fill a very small bundt pant.

Just a warning – this photo is deceiving!  Yes, it looks sunny, and it was for about 20 minutes this morning, but it’s raining now and we have 75 km/hour gusts. It’s even supposed to thunder… something that has only happened once since I have been in New Zealand!


2 thoughts on “sweet treats for the long cold nights

  1. Hey, I will trade some of my relentless 45C and sun for your 16 and rain. The afghans sound good, no eggs! except I don’t like walnuts in desserts… do you think those are essential?

  2. Did that original recipe really call for 1 1/2 cups of chocolate? That seems like quite a bit of chocolate.

    I think you made the right call to go with iced pumpkin muffins.

    And you are right, afghans are great. I can’t recommend them enough.

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