Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hot Cross Buns




After years of telling myself that I am going to try and make them and my irrational fear of yeast, I finally attempted Hot Cross Buns.  Why, oh why did I wait so long to attempt this?  They are one of the best things I have ever tasted and I am sure that they will become a regular fixture now that I have seen the light.


Crossed and ready to be made hot


I am pretty traditional with my preferences for Hot Cross Buns.  I have seen some in stores here that have lemon or raspberry crosses, and were so spice-less that I couldn't bring myself to buy them.  I know that in Australia you can buy chocolate buns (both milk and dark), fruitless buns, chocolate chip buns, and white chocolate and cranberry buns, and even gluten-free buns.  It has always been the original spicy fruit buns that are my favorite.  One of the best tastes ever is a lightly toasted hot cross bun with a drizzle of honey on top.





My search for a recipe led me in so many different directions. Apparently there isn't just one correct way to make a hot cross bun, there are thousands.  I finally settled on a combination of two recipes that had exactly what I was looking for - a recipe that made about a dozen buns and a recipe that had lots of spice to it.  This hybrid recipe was just right, and produced a fruity, spicy, dense hot cross bun.

Now I have finally made the plunge into the world of yeast breads I see many more attempts in the future.


Hot Cross Buns
Printer Friendly Recipe

Ingredients

  • 310ml warmed milk
  • 60g superfine sugar
  • 14g dried yeast
  • 650g bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice (or allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 375g of raisins/currants/golden raisins/mixed candied fruit (I used mixed fruit from Australia)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 60ml water
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed in a pan (or microwave)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan warm the milk; whisk in the sugar and yeast until sugar has dissolved. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
  2. Mix the bread flour, salt and ground spices in a large bowl of a stand mixer. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until mixed and crumbly.
  3. Stir in the raisins/sultanas, egg, and frothy yeast mixture until just combined.
  4. Attach the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Lightly oil another large, clean bowl, place the dough in and turn to coat the surface with oil.
  6. Cover in clingwrap and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. When ready, remove the clingwrap and use your fist to punch down the dough. Transfer to a lightly floured board and give it a quick knead until smooth and divide into 12 rounds.
  8. Place the buns into a greased 20 x 30cm (8x12-inch) baking tray, cover with clingwrap and leave in warm place to rise for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C (395℉).
  9. Whisk together the all-purpose flour and water to a smooth paste. Pipe crosses on top of the buns and bake at 200°C (395℉) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180°C (350℉) bake for a further 15 minutes. Buns are ready when it sounds hollow when you tap the tops.
  10. Brush with warmed apricot jam while the buns are still warm.
Recipe adapted by All That's Left Are The Crumbs from recipes by Citrus and Candy and Short Street Bakery ©.







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Cake Slice Bakers March 2012 - Honey Bee Cake




The time has once again flown by and it is time for the March edition of the Cake Slice Bakers.  Votes were counted and the winning recipe this month was the Honey Bee Cake.  This is our 5th cake from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson, and I have to say that this is my favorite so far.





I decided that I wanted to use a local honey for this recipe.  After visiting the Kapi'olani Farmers' Market last week, and trying a few different samples, I decided upon an Ewa Kiawe honey from Nalo Meli Hawaiian Honey, which specializes in unique local raw honeys that are fresh from the hive.






It was amazing how quickly this cake came together.  I know the recipe calls for sifting the dry ingredients but to be honest I put them all in a large bowl and gave them a good whisk and that was that. Before I knew it the cake was in the oven and I was getting the honey glaze ready.  After 45 minutes the cake was out of the oven and ready to be drenched in the honey mixture and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

My family raved about this cake - both the texture and flavor - so I know it will not last long.  I think that the only change I would make would be to double the amount of the honey glaze.  After pouring half of the glaze over the cake I didn't feel like it had covered enough of the cake, but I knew I needed the remaining amount to pour over the top of the almonds.  I ended up using a little more glaze on the cake, pouring what was left over the nuts, and then drizzling a little pure honey over the top for good measure.




It is always interesting to see different interpretations and opinions of the same cake so please click here to see the cakes of my fellow Cake Slice Bakers.  Also, the Cake Slice Bakers now have a Facebook page now so make sure you check it out soon.







Honey Bee Cake

Cake
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature

Glaze
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup of sliced almonds, toasted 


Preparation
  1. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350℉. 
  2. Prepare a 9″x3″ non-stick springform pan (grease the pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment).
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk to combine. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla on low speed until blended; increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes, stopping the mixer frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle paddle.
  5. Blend in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop to scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the mixing by hand with a spatula to make sure that you don't over-beat the batter.
  7. Spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Tap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  8. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake will be a deep golden color and be firm on top, and a skewer inserted in the middle will have moist crumbs attached. The cake may crack on the surface as it bakes, but this provides a way for the cake to soak up the honey glaze.
  9. While the cake is baking, make the glaze in a small saucepan by combining the honey, sugar, and butter over medium heat until combined.  Bring the mixture to just barely to a simmer.  Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner to keep warm. 
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. Pour half of the glaze on the cake, evenly sprinkle the cake with the almonds, then pour the rest of glaze over the almonds. 
  11. Place the cake back in the center of the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  12. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour.  To remove the cake from the springform pan, remove the side before gently flipping the cake over onto a plate to remove the parchment paper. Then place serving plate over the cake and flip it back over again.
  13. Serve just barely warm.
  14. Thanks to the honey, this cake will keep for 5 days when wrapped and stored at room temperature.
Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson