Until a few weeks ago, my little Jumpy had never eaten homemade cakes, for the simple reason that I had never managed to find a recipe that catered for her range of allergies. You have to admit it is not common to find cakes with no eggs, dairy or white flour.
Since the start of the summer holidays, I have been determined to develop a chocolate muffin recipe for her. The idea what to make muffins with ingredients I could source easily. I also wanted it to be a quick recipe I could rustle up in five minutes, as time is precious with four little ones.
I first made a few recipes I found on the Internet, but they were a complete disaster so I started again, from scratch. All I knew was that I would use bananas as a substitute for eggs.
I sort of used a ‘touch and go’ technique as I did not have a starting point for my recipe. It was rather experimental to say the least, but after four disappointing batches, we got there!
My first batch looked great. The muffins were nicely raised and had a lovely colour. You could not tell they were ‘free from’. Until you tasted them, that is. They had a rather vile aftertaste. I ate a whole one, but that was only because I had made them! Even Jumpy, who is a chocoholic like me, could not eat more than half of hers.
I asked my friend Vicki at the Free From Fairy for advice and she suggested using plain gluten free flour instead of self-raising. I also bought gluten free baking powder. Two more batches and things were definitely improving.
What I struggled with the most was finding cocoa powder that was guaranteed milk and nut free. I sometimes use Green & Blacks’ Organic Cocoa’, but the warning on the package is as such: “May contain milk, soya, nuts and cereals.” Even though Jumpy has never reacted to the cocoa powder, there is a risk and I was adamant I was going to develop a fully ‘free from’ recipe.
In my last batch, I used Plamil’s ‘Organic Luxury 70% Chocolate Flakes’ in place of the cocoa powder as it is “Manufactured under controlled conditions in” their “own factory in which no nuts are ever used.”
I found that a lot more reassuring and was happy to give Jumpy those muffins without being jumpy myself as she was eating them!
The last batch was the one and I have made those babies three or four times since! I personally think they should always be eaten warm with a nice hot drink, but the children love them warm or cold.
This is what they look like:
They look prettier when you make them with cocoa powder, and Beanie even tried to grab one as I was taking photos! Can you actually believe these muffins contain no wheat, no gluten, no eggs or dairy products?
Beanie: “I love it.”
Crevette: “I really love it!”
Hubby: “It’s very nice.” He does not normally eat cake, so that is a huge compliment!
My foodie friend Cé: “They are better than the banana muffins I usually make!” (she did sound surprised!)
Without further ado, here is the recipe.
‘Free From’ Banana and Chocolate Muffins
- ¾ cup caster sugar 160g
- 1/3 cup vegetable spread 60g, dairy free – I use Pure Sunflower
- 3 ripe bananas mashed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup wheat & gluten free plain flour blend 210g, I use Doves Farm
- 1 ½ teaspoon wheat & gluten free baking powder I use Doves Farm
- ½ cup cocoa powder or ½ cup dairy & nut free chocolate flakes 30g, 45g, I use Plamil’s
- 1 cup dairy & nut free chocolate chips 180g, I use Plamil’s Catering & Baking chocolate drops or 4x45g bars of Plamil chocolate, broken into small pieces
- Preheat your oven at gas mark 4 (180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Mix the sugar and vegetable spread until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the mashed banana and mix thoroughly.
- Add all other ingredients apart from the chocolate chips and ensure they are all well incorporated.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide between 12 muffin cases – an ice cream scoop is the perfect measure.
- Cook for 15 minutes. To check they are cooked, insert a knife. It should come out clean, otherwise give it another three or four minutes.
- Place your muffins on a cooling rack.
- Eat warm!
They can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for a couple of days, or frozen. They are best enjoyed warm, so give them five minutes in the oven to reheat them.
Here is a visual summary: