Sunny days with blue skies in February are so uplifting after all the greyness that has been hanging around for too many days in a row! Inspired by the sunshine I felt like using colourful ingredients and making something sweet to make up for the freezing temperatures !
Blood orange chia&polenta cupcakes are too good and there is only really a short time blood oranges are available each year, so try and get in as many as you can. Don’t they just have the most gorgeous colour ?
Sicilian blood oranges are the best as the mineral rich volcanic soils around Mount Etna are the perfect rich grounds for them to grow. Deeply blushed, they are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C , so just perfect for keeping those colds at bay and our skin will love the extra boost. When selecting in store go for the ones that are firm and sort of heavy, they often have blushed skins as well. Keep them refrigerated, so they stay fresh and keep their nutrient content up. Other than using them in cakes and deserts, they are delicious just eaten fresh as a snack or with yogurt and they make a rich addition to salads. The juice is a great morning kick starter and can make a salad dressing something special.
Chia&polenta cupcakes are going in very high on my favourite list of afternoon break cakes. To give them some extra goodness I used coconut oil instead of butter and coconut sugar instead of normal brown sugar. Coconut oil is an old time favourite but the sugar was new to me. It turns out that coconut sugar is rich in minerals, non the less it is still sugar, so best only to be consumed in moderation. As for flour I used kamut flour, an ancient wholegrain wheat variety with a buttery flavour.
Chia & polenta cupcakes – serves 3-4
Method: Preheat the oven at 160C and prepare the cupcake tin and paper cases. Mix coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy ( if you are using a glass bowl put it in the oven for a few minutes, the coconut oil and sugar will start melting and it will be easier to mix them together). Add one egg at the time and mix very well. When the mixture is well combined, add the zest, all the dry ingredients and the juice. Mix well until you get a nice cake dough texture. The chia seeds might make the mixture slightly thick, in which case just add some more juice. Then transfer the mixture into the cupcake paper cases, trying to get equal amounts in each case.
Transfer cupcake tin into the preheated oven and bake for around 30-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven leave to cool down.
Whilst the cakes are cooling down, start making the glaze, putting juice and sugar in a small size saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for approximately 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once the glaze has cooled down drizzle over the top of the cupcakes and serve with vanilla or lemon ice cream or coconut ice cream are also delicious. If you don’t have ice cream, you can make lemon & chia yogurt – just add the juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tsp of honey and 1 tbsp of chia to 150g of yogurt, mix well, leave to set for a 10minutes and enjoy !!