Let me lay a muffin on you, this fine Friday. It’s maybe the one time in my life that I’ll declare something ‘as good as a donut’, when the thing is not actually a donut.
You see, to me, the donut is practically sacred. There are two foods in this world that I can straight up never resist, and those are fries and donuts. To me, they are perfection. And this muffin is about as close as you can get to it, without just making donuts! (I know I’ve used the word donut about 50 times already, mea culpa.)
Let’s break down the anatomy of this treat. You might already be familiar with it? It’s a soft, spiced muffin, filled with a splodge of jam and then dipped in melted butter and rolled in spiced sugar.
My particular donut muffin is spiced with nutmeg, and made with buttermilk, which gives it a definitively donut-y air. The filling is cherry jam into which I stir some vanilla and lemon zest, and the sugar is given a Scandi-inspired twist with a mixture of cardamom and cinnamon.
I hate to use a boring adjective, but yum. You guys? Yum. The actual cake part of these muffins is not just an afterthought – it’s soft and lush and buttery and, yes, donutty!
The jammy centre is delicious and actually packs some flavour punch, it’s not just a sweet fruit goo of indiscriminate origin. And the buttery, sugary crust, with it’s Scandinavian whisper of cardamom is what keeps you eyeing off the remaining muffins as their numbers slowly dwindle.
And what’s more, they couldn’t be simpler to make! The perfect thing for the weekend I tells ya. Whip up a batch of muffins, and then eat one in bed with a cup of coffee. Drag your couch over to the window and watch the sun rise while you read a book.
Whatever you do, make your weekend special, dammit. You only get so many of those guys! What’s your favourite way to ring in the weekend? Is it Brunch? Can I come?
- 1 stick (115g) butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (185g) caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 2¼ cup (340g) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (bicarb soda)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
- ½ cup cherry jam
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- zest of ½ lemon (optional)
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ¾ stick (75g) butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a 12 cup muffin tray with muffin papers.
- Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) and cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and beat until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg to the bowl, and begin mixing them in slowly. Stream in the buttermilk as you go, and continue mixing until everything is incorporated.
- Take about ⅔ of the batter, and divide it evenly among the muffin papers - about a heaped tablespoon in each. Make an indent in the batter for the jam to sit in.
- Stir together the jam, vanilla and lemon and place a small teaspoonful into each muffin. Divide the remaining batter between the muffins, trying to cover the jam, as best you can (don't lose sleep over it).
- Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and springing back when touched.
- Leave the muffins to cool for at least 15 minutes. To top them, stir together the sugar and spices and place in a shallow bowl. Place the butter into a small bowl.
- Dip the top of each muffin, first into the butter, and then coat it generously in the spiced sugar. When all the muffins are done, you can serve them. They're great warm.