Welcome to Florals for Spring month! To start with, I shocked myself by actually liking rose when used delicately. According to colleagues (and me) this cake is well-balanced, delicious, moist and has an unctuous texture. If you definitely don’t like rose, I would urge you to use the vanilla variation. Adapted from Molly Baz.
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 250g caster/superfine sugar (granulated probably fine too)
- 190g vegetable oil
- 235g full fat Greek yogurt, warmed to room temperature in the microwave
- 3 tablespoons earl grey tea leaves (loose leaf or 4-5 high quality teabags)
- 2 tsp rosewater (I used Steenbergs, I think they vary a lot) OR 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
- 250g plain/ all purpose flour (or white spelt flour)
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- Prepare a light-coloured standard loaf pan (2lb/ 900g) and preheat the oven to 160C/ 140 fan / 320 F / gas 3.
- Grind the earl grey in a pestle and mortar until fine.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar until tripled in volume.
- Pour the oil, yogurt and rosewater/vanilla down the side and whisk in.
- Add the flour, salt, tea leaves, bicarb and baking powder and whisk or fold in.
- Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake for about an hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Hot Cross Buns
It’s taken me a while to perfect these. So if it’s too late for this year, sorry! Definitely try them next year. This very enriched dough makes them ultra fluffy. If it’s easier for you to get hold of, you can substitute this spice blend for 2.5 tsp mixed spice and 1.5 tsp cinnamon. I do like my spices on the heavier side, so feel free to pare it down if you like.
Makes 12 generous buns
- 500g strong white flour
- 5g salt
- 70g light brown soft sugar / caster sugar
- 1 tsp mace
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- scant 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 8g instant (fast-action) yeast
- 300ml tub single cream
- 50g butter
- 2 medium/ large eggs (UK medium is c. 50g, UK large is c. 60g)
- 150g currants (or raisins/ sultanas)
- 50g candied citrus peel
- For the egg wash: 1 egg yolk and around 3 tsp egg white
- For the crosses: 60g plain/ strong white flour, 70g tepid water
1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, salt and spices. I use a dough whisk for this mixing stage but you can use a fork if not. Then add the yeast and mix through. (This is to prevent the salt from inhibiting the yeast.)
2. Gently melt the butter in a heat proof jug in the microwave. Tip in the cream and stir well to combine, then pop back in the microwave and heat to around body temperature, stirring well after each short burst. (Too hot will kill the yeast but warm will help it work a bit faster.)
3. Add the cream and butter mixture and the eggs. Mix together well, leaving no pockets of unmixed flour. Cover the bowl with a plate/ cling film/ shower cap and leave for about 30 minutes. This helps the flour absorb more liquid and gluten bonds will then start forming, leaving you with less kneading to do.
4. Add the currants and peel and knead until you can stretch out a few inches of dough and see light coming through them. (The windowpane test.) Ensure the fruit is as well incorporated as possible, but it can be tricky and it’s not your fault! Cover the bowl again and leave until doubled in size and very puffy. (Takes about an hour or longer in a cooler kitchen.)
5. Line a baking tray. Tear lumps off the dough of around 101-102g each and pop them on a plate or clean work surface. Once you’ve got those lumps all weighed, shape each bun. Pull dough from the centre up and over, turning as you go, until you have a taut ball. You could also scoop underneath and round to form even more surface tension. (This helps them keep their shape and puff up beautifully.) Cover with a light tea towel or cling film and leave until puffy. (This takes about 45 minutes or possibly longer in a cooler kitchen. You can also bung them in the fridge overnight as this slows the yeast down.)
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to moderate (I do 180 C to avoid burning the bottoms of my buns, but you may be okay to bake at a higher temperature for less time.)
7. Make up your egg wash and cross mixture. Mix the egg yolk and 2-3 tsp egg white in a small cup or bowl. In a small mixing bowl, mix the flour and water for the crosses. You need a consistency that will come off the spoon easily but not be too runny. Tranfer to a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag. Use straight away, or if you leave it too long you may need to add more water as the mixture will get drier.
7. Brush the egg wash on to the buns with a pastry brush. Once all the buns are egg washed, snip a small hole into your piping bag (or makeshift piping bag). Pipe vertical and horizontal lines over the buns to make crosses.
8. Bake for around 15-25 minutes depending on your baking temperature and oven. I turn mine around halfway through due to my oven being hotter on one side. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a while before transferring to a cooling rack. I just carefully slide everything off including the paper.
Note: These are best eaten within 24 hours of being made. If not eaten quickly, freeze them. Defrost before toasting. (I use my microwave’s defrost function for about 1 minute.) In Britain it’s practically the law to eat them toasted if they aren’t warm from the oven. Spread liberally with butter, clotted cream or lemon curd.
Makes around 18. I found it a great way to use up an excess of chocolate. Feel free to halve or double the recipe. The recipe is from Jane’s Patisserie (very successful recipe, thank you, and will now be my base for no-bake fridge cake things).
- 400g chocolate, broken up (I like half dark and half milk, or all dark)
- 100g butter
- 100g golden syrup
- a pinch or two of salt
- 7 shredded wheats (315g), broken up
- 54 miniature chocolate eggs (3 per nest) or as many as you want
- other springtime/ Easter decorations, if wanted
Line two cupcake trays. Melt the chocolate and butter gently, stirring well. A bain marie or short bursts in the microwave both work well. Stir in the golden syrup. Add the broken up shredded wheats and stir to coat the lot with chocolate mixture. Spoon into cases. Top with mini eggs and any other decorations Leave to set at room temperature or in the fridge.