Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Bluffin Loaf

Last week's Big Food Story was that Starbucks launched a new bakery item, a doughnut/muffin hybrid they were calling the "duffin". Only problem is that Bea's of Bloomsbury have been selling duffins for almost three years. Starbuck's described their duffins as "filled with a raspberry jam; we’ve added just a hint of nutmeg to our buttermilk base and then covered it in sugar once baked". Bea's ingredients include nutmeg, buttermilk and raspberry jam - she published the recipe in her cookbook in 2011. Even that seemingly-blatant appropriation wouldn't have been a big deal necessarily, except the factory who supplies Starbucks trademarked the name, claiming they couldn't find a prior use.

The outcry was swift and loud. It got a lot of media coverage (each of those is a separate link). Starbucks adopted the position that they never said Bea's would have to stop using the name. Which I suspect means that they just hadn't got around to sending her the cease-and-desist letter yet, because they definitely have form for going after the little guys. And anyway, why would you register a trademark if you had no intention of protecting it?

So Starbucks manages to look even worse than usual and Bea looks like a plucky but modest hero for standing her ground and wanting the name duffin to be available for use by everyone.

I don't patronise Starbucks, making a boycott from me a bit of an empty threat, but I was pretty keen to be on the side of the angels for this one. I popped into Bea's on Thursday to buy a couple of the controversial cakes. I was actually a bit surprised they had any left, but the young woman who served me said they were on their third bake for the day because they are so hot right now. And I tell you what, they are absolutely delicious. The subtle hint of nutmeg and crunchy sugar coating makes them taste doughnutty, but the texture is like the lightest, moistest muffin and the raspberry jam gives a good tang.

So over the weekend when I felt like baking, Bea's duffins came to mind. I don't actually have her cookbook, but I do have Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess, containing a doughnut muffin recipe. I read Nigella's recipe and was unsatisfied by the lack of buttermilk and nutmeg. I flicked through the rest of the book and saw Nigella's blueberry buttermilk muffin recipe.
Conveniently, I had a punnet of blueberries. I stuck the two recipes together, reducing the raising agents, adding a good grating of nutmeg, and baking it in a loaf tin and created... The Bluffin Loaf. Which was a great success, although I could have been more heavy-handed with the nutmeg. I will not be attempting to register the trademark.

12 comments:

Lisa said...

That looks gorgeous.

Elly McCausland said...

I am SO eager to try one of these duffin things right now. But could happily settle for a slice of your loaf too, it looks so fluffy and delicious!

Cuisine de Provence said...

Yum!

Top Cuisine avec Lavi said...

Looks delicious!!!!
Great recipe!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I would love to try Bea's duffins... and your bluffin, too!

Angie Schneider said...

Bluffin...I love the name and they look wonderful!

grace said...

these have a great name, and your combination of recipes was a wonderful idea! starbucks blows. :)

Marina said...

It looks really good.. and not so hard to make :)

Barbara said...

Funny story...haven't ever set foot in a Starbucks and probably never will. Not nice they stole the idea. either.
Love the name duffin and simply adore your name bluffin....this is a must-make!

Gemma said...

The bluffin sounds delicious - I could happily eat a slice of this with a cup of tea right now!

Choclette said...

Oh blimey, I can't stand these big boys trying to get everything for themselves. Good for Bea. I have her book and am going to look up the duffin recipe right now. Your bluffins look rather good though - are you sure you don't want to trademark .......

Kavey said...

Totally want your bluffin loaf!!!

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