Grow Your Own Cake and Plum Muffins

Sunday 3 April 2016

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I baked these lovely Plum Muffins the other day, using some South African Plums I got on offer from the shops.  I can't wait to bake them again when the plums on our own plum tree are ripe!  (More than a few months off)  It really was a beautiful muffin recipe, one of the best I have ever baked.  I got it from the new cookery book entitled, Grow Your Own Cake, recipes from plot to plate, by Holly Farrell.

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I was really excited about being given a chance to review this book.  We grow all of our own soft fruit in our garden, plus pears, plums and apples.  The idea of actually having a cooking from a book which encourages you to bake from things you have grown yourself really appeals to me!   we are a nation of gardeners and bakers.  It seems only natural that we combine the two!

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It begins with a lovely introduction plus tips for using the book . . .  gardening tips . . .  with a wealthy of information what, when and how to plant, etc.  plus an extensive kitchen section containing pretty much all of the information you need to know if you are going to have a baking kitchen!  (equipment, ingredients, baking terms, etc)  Plus there are Seasonal Chapters (Spring & Summer Cakes, Autumn & Winter Cakes), as well as a chapter on Afternoon Tea (who doesn't love Afternoon tea!), one on Puddings and another on Savoury Bakes.  Included as well stockist information for supplies, and a full index.

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 I am a great proponent of seasonal cooking.  I adhere to the laws of nature which tell me that berries taste better when they are in season as do other things.

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Now that it is Spring I just cannot wait for the Elderflowers to be in bloom along with our gooseberries so that I can bake this stunning Gooseberry and Elderflower Cake . . .

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Not to mention this Pea Cheesecake which is in the Savoury Bake section.

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The photography, by Jason Ingram, throughout the book is quite simply stunning.  With fifty mouthwatering recipes accompanied with easy to follow steps and generous illustrations, taking you all the way from sowing the seeds to cutting the cake, this truly is a beautiful book.  You needn't be a keen gardener to be able to use it either, as none of the ingredients are so outrageous that anyone couldn't get ahold of them.  But it does inspire one to want to get their hands dirty and grow a bit of their own food.  How could it not!  It is just, plainly put . . .  a beautiful and useful book for anyone to add to their cookery book library!  I love my copy!

Of course the proof is in the eating and so I baked a  muffin recipe from the book which turned out beautifully.

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Called "A Muffin for All Seasons," there are variations for the muffin to go with every season, from early spring rhubarb and ginger, to summer berries, autumn plums and winter apples and sweet potatoes.  I just happened to have some plums in the house.

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I should have actually pushed the plum slices down a bit into the muffin batter so that they stayed in the middle, but nevermind . . . these were delicious muffins even if the plums ended up a bit off centre when compared to the ones in the book.

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I cannot wait to try some of the other versions.  The apple and sweet potato sound positively gorgeous!

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*A Muffin For All Seasons*
Makes 12
A delicious muffin with several variations that work for all seasons.  Adapted from the fabulous cookery book by Holly Farrell entitled "Grow Your Own Cake." 

You will need:  1 X 12 hole muffin or cupcake tin, lined with paper liners, or greased 

Basic Muffin Batter :
350g/12 ounces (3 cups) plain flour
150g/5 ounces (2/3 cup packed)  light brown muscovado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100g/3 1/2 ounces butter (7 TBS), melted and cooled
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
300ml/1/2 pint (1 1/4 cups) milk
demerara sugar to sprinkle 

Seasonal Fruit/Veg Versions:
Rhubarb and Ginger:
1 tsp ground ginger
100g/3 1/2 ounces finely diced rhubarb (1/2 cup)

Summer Berries:
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g/8 ounces  (1 1/2 cups) soft fruit
(blueberries, raspberries,  or currants)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large plums, pitted and cut into six slices each

Apple and Sweet Potato:
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g/3 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) grated sweet potato
1--g/3 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) grated dessert apple 

For the basic batter-

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in one bowl, and the melted butter, egg and milk in another.  Pour the wet mix into the dry ingredients and, using a whisk, stir briefly to combine everything, adding any fruit/beg along the way.  Spoon into the prepared cases/tin and add any further fruit.  Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of demerara sugar if desired.  Bake for 25 minutes, until well risen and springy to the touch.  Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool. 

For the rhubarb and ginger - add the ground ginger to the dry ingredients before mixing and stir in the rhubarb halfway through combing the wet and dry ingredients. 

For the summer berries version - add the vanilla extract to the wet ingredients.  Stir in two thirds of the berries halfway through combining the wet and dry ingredients, and stud the remaining berries into the top of the batter once it is in the cases/tin holes. 

For the plum version - add the vanilla extract to the wet ingredients, and set 2 plum pieces into the top of each muffin once the batter is in the cases/tin holes. 

For the apple and sweet potato version - add the ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients.  Stir in the sweet potato and apple halfway through combining the wet and dry ingredients.

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Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell with photography by Jason Ingram

ISBN 978-0-7112-3701-8
Published 3rd March 2016
Copyright Frances Lincoln Limited 2016
More info, including where to buy from
Follow Holly Farrell on Twitter @Holly_E_Farrel

UK £16.99/ US $24.99 / CAN $29.99

Although I was sent the book free of charge to review any and all opinions are my own.



  1. Looks like a winner..that pea cake:) your muffins etc..I am growing peas this summer..I hope..have the seeds.

    1. There s nothing which tastes better than peas from your own garden Monique! I wish you great luck with them! xo

  2. YUM!!! I love baking with plums, but it is SO hard to get good ones around here! I usually have to discover some at a farmer's market. That cookbook looks gorgeous! Totally going on my wishlist :)

    1. You can make the muffins now using other fruits April! They are really very good muffins! xo

  3. In the Basic Muffin Batter recipe, after the salt and before the egg, is that butter that is to be melted and cooled?

    1. Nevermind, I see from the 'Method' section that it is. I'm thinking I need to make some for my quilting group tomorrow.

    2. Sorry Kath, I had left the word butter out of the ingredients! I have fixed it now! Thanks for letting me know! I hope your quilting group enjoy them! xo


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