Easy peasy cheesy maize muffins

Being gluten intolerant means that you must forego the pleasure of enjoying a muffin with your tea or coffee at your favourite coffee shop.
Some years ago, we used to visit a coffee shop in Somerset Mall which served the most enormous spinach and cheese muffins, and for a knock-down price. It must have been a considerable time back, because I remember paying the princely sum of R16 for said cheese muffin, and about the same for a cappuccino.

The ubiquitous Mugg & Bean coffee shop chain serves enormous muffins, including as I recall, a cheese version, but what’s a gluten intolerant man to do?

Well, he can rely on his dear sweet Elspeth if he is fortunate enough to have one. A couple of weeks back, Elspeth crafted a recipe which makes for the quickest, easiest muffins, using either gluten-free or wheat flour, half and half with maize meal.

I know she did this, because of the soulful looks which I’d direct at her whenever she baked conventional muffins, which of course I could not enjoy. So, I guess she either felt sorry for me, or wanted to avoid the soulful looks.

Either way, her research (what would we do without Google?) and experimentation yielded a cracker of a muffin-recipe-for-all-seasons.

The gluten free flour mix is the standard one we use for all our gluten free baking, and will be repeated here.

This time around, I baked them under Elspeth’s supervision.

Ingredients, Selection and Preparation

1 cup (250ml) flour: gluten- free or wheat

1 cup (250ml) maize meal: if you can get yellow maize meal, use it, otherwise white will do. Tip: polenta is yellow maize meal, and although considerably more expensive than white maize meal, is freely available at upmarket supermarkets.

2 cups (500ml) grated cheddar cheese: as much as yellow cheddar fosters colour, I have an inbuilt dislike of eating cheese that is deliberately coloured, so white cheddar it is for me

1 tsp (5ml) dry mustard powder

2 tsp (10ml) salt

4 tsp (20ml) baking powder

350ml milk: add a little extra if the batter seems too dry, says Elspeth.

Paprika: for colour

(Gluten free flour mix)

1 cup and 1 tbsp (265ml) tapioca flour

1 1/8 cup (280ml) potato flour

1 cup (250ml) corn starch (Maizena)

2 1/2 tsp (12.5ml) xantham gum

1/4 tsp (1.25ml) cream of tartar


Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix together in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the milk and mix the ingredients until just combined. Do not overwork the batter.

Grease two muffin trays (12 muffins), or preferably use silicone muffin cases which work really well.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases, and finish with a sprinkling of paprika.

Bake in mid-oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn out on to a cooling rack, and eat while still warm, with your favourite jam – mine is homemade apricot – and extra grated cheddar cheese.