Bajra apple muffins | gluten free healthy cakes
Cakes are a treat for everyone.
Sometimes the popularity of a food becomes such a case that it starts ruining its food value. Food value is the sum of all the good nutritional and flavour qualities a food has naturally. Once a food become too popular, it becomes the pawn of the market to generate more profits and the food value degenerates. Cheap processed ingredients replace good quality genuine ingredients and the food item has to not just taste good it has to stay on the shelf for longer so there are better chances of it getting sold. Being sold is the prime motive of a processed food that has become a product, a commodity whose utility is just to make money. No need to be nutritional anymore, food value is depreciated.
Same has happened to cakes. The real home made cakes with butter, unrefined sugar, fruits and freshly milled whole grain flour wouldn’t survive on the shelves and it is not seen in the markets ever. The markets are churning out artificially coloured and flavoured cakes made of cheap and shelf stable refined flour and it is not a food anymore, but taste has been made superlative with all the sugar and artificial flavours it packs.
Imagine something that not even food but it tastes great. The kind of taste that becomes addictive and toxic for the body in long run.
The good news is that baking cakes at home is easy and anyone can do it, even if you don’t have an oven. Yes there are ways to bake cakes in pressure cookers and even in frying pans or cast iron Dutch ovens. Just do not be fooled by the common myth that baking is a science and you must follow accurate measurements.
Cooking and baking is a science of course but accurate recipes work ONLY for ingredients that have been standardised by the industry by processing them to an extent that there are no variables in their physical and chemical properties but they have lost all nutrients in the process.
That’s the reason when you choose to bake with whole grain flours the formulae of baking don’t work. But you must know that once you start playing with the whole grain flours and real fruits, real extracts and real butter, you will get the hang of the variables and the process.
Like this recipe of bajra muffins can easily be adapted for a tray bake topped with fresh fruit slices or for a cake that can be dressed for a birthday cake too.
The bajra (pearl millet) and apple cake is something that children and adults both love to eat. Top it with a dollop of whipped cream to make it celebratory or serve it with breakfast or high tea. The recipe is quick, you need a bit of time to slice the apples thinly and arranging them over the muffins neatly but that’s a meditative excercise that the whole family can do together.
Good food brings nutrition and joy of course but let the good food bring families closer too. Making such foods together is a great family bonding exercise. Try that.
(For 12-15 muffins)
2 cups (225-250 gm) bajra flour (freshly milled or fresh stock)
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ cup unrefined sugar or jaggery powder
100 gm salted butter (at room temperature)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract (use the best you can get)
¼ cup grated apples
3 apples to be sliced thinly when needed
You will also need muffin liners
Mix the dry ingredients with the help of a ballon whisk (first 3 in the list) together in a dry bowl. Or just mix them and sieve together to make sure they are mixed evenly.
In another bowl whisk the butter and sugar together till they get creamed and look fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and the vanilla extract and whisk really well to incorporate everything. Add grated apples and whist again.
Now add the dry ingredients to the butter-eggs mixture and whisk again to make a thick batter. Add a bit of milk or water if the batter is too stiff. If the bajra flour is coarse it may need some liquid.
Spoon in the batter into a muffin tray lined with muffin liners. Now slice the apples thinly and arrange them skin side up in whatever pattern you like.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 45 minutes.
The muffins stay good at room temperature for two days, in the fridge for two weeks. You can warm them up again before serving even though they taste really good even when cold or even chilled.