Babies are curious creatures. After having three of them in less than four years, I should know. I remember when Emmett was a baby, I was always hovering over him, sure that he would wake up at any moment demanding sustenance. I tiptoed around, waiting. Unsure of whether or not to try to take a quick shower, have a snack, make a phone call. Most of the time I think I just waited. Now that I’m a more seasoned mama, I know that babies are unpredictable. Sometimes they’ve eaten, been changed, are swaddled tight and less than two minutes into what you are hoping will be a nice long nap, they’re up. Screaming to be burped, for more milk or maybe just the smell and body heat of mama. Each time this happens I tell myself that it’s ok, the laundry can wait, the to-do list can grow longer and longer. My day-job for the next few weeks is to take care of Eve. Just that. Just Eve.
What I don’t do anymore is just wait for her to wake up. When she’s asleep, I get things done, even if I think she will probably wake at any moment. Today was one of those days where she took an extra long nap at just the right time. I had friends over for lunch, we ate and talked, and talked some more, she slept. I thought “Dare I try to get some cooking done?” I made lentil salad, did the dishes and took the garbage out, she slept. “Do I just go for it and try to make the muffins that I promised Emmett two days ago?” I prepared the muffins, slipped them into the oven and cleaned up in the kitchen. Just as I finished washing the mixing bowl she woke up, hungry. My kitchen started to smell like butter and oranges.
Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake
Yield 12 large or 24 regular-sized muffins
⅓ cup Irish Marmalade (I used Mileeven Irish Whiskey Marmalade)
¾ cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) Kerrygold unsalted butter, softened
⅛ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
½ teaspoon orange zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
Coarse sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat your oven to 350F and line either one or two muffin tins with liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugar, butter, oil, orange and lime zest for about 5 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and mix until each one is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.
Scrape down the bowl.
Add marmalade and orange juice and mix. This will make the batter curdle. Don’t worry! Once you add the dry ingredients no one will be the wiser.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder.
Remove wet ingredients from mixer and gently fold in dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined.
Using a spoon or cookie scoop, place an equal amount of batter into muffin tins to make either 12 large or 24 regular-sized muffins.
Sprinkle coarse sugar on top and bake 18-24 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden skewer pressed into the center of the muffins comes out clean. This will depend on the size of your muffins. I made 12 large ones and 24 minutes was just right.
Glaze, either Melissa Clark’s or a simple orange juice and confectioners’ sugar, would be a welcome addition in place of the sugar topping. I plan to freeze some of these and reheat them in the microwave so I left them unglazed for now.
I was not prepared for how much my kids would like these muffins. I only have one muffin tin (regular size) and there was no way I was going to try to bake them in multiple batches. I decided to completely overfill the tin and ended up with HUGE ones. Emmett took down two in seconds (yep, not my best parenting moment) and reached for a third (even I have my limits) and Isla ate a whole one even though it was almost as big as her head.
The sweet finish to a beautiful day.