By Frances


I started out wanting to make lemon poppyseed muffins. A quick flick to the index of Marian Keyes’ Saved By Cake (Penguin, 2012) didn’t have what I wanted but I saw these muffins under M - mmm, tamarind, interesting. Indeed, Marian says tamarind is her ‘thing’ and these muffins have a ‘wonderfully intriguing sourness’. I used cranberries instead of sour cherries but they still tasted yummy and tangy.


100g dates

100g dried sour cherries (I used cranberries)

125g butter

30g tamarind paste (2 Tbs)

2 eggs

50g dark muscovado sugar (Marian uses 75g but I think 50g is enough)

140g plain flour (I used white spelt)

1 tsp bicarb soda


For the icing:

300g icing sugar

4 Tbs water or lime juice

orange food colouring (or use 1 part red, 2 parts yellow)

20g dried cherries, optional


Preheat oven to 180C and grease 12-hole muffin tin or 24 mini muffin tins.

Chop the dates and cherries finely, then place in a saucepan with 150ml water and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 min, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until melted, then add the tamarind and leave to cool for at least 10 mins.

In a separate bowl whisk the sugar and eggs. Add cooled fruit mixture, then sieve in flour and baking soda and fold through. Pour into tins and bake for 15-17 mins (or 12-15 for mini muffins). Cool tray on wire rack.

Make the icing by gradually adding water or lime juice to the icing sugar until you’ve achieved your desired runniness. Then add the orange food colouring. Ice your muffins and scatter over some chopped cherries if you like. Marian's look much more dainty than mine but they were still tasty.