Orange hot cross buns

Orange hot cross buns

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Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross buns, and they are the perfect thing to bake on Easter Saturday: leave them to prove during the day, bake them in the evening, and they’ll be ready for Easter Sunday breakfast!  When I was little I used to call them ‘hot scone buns’, but now I think they’re much better than scones – especially flavoured with orange and cinnamon and studded with raisins and citrus peel like these ones.

These are best eaten freshly baked from the oven, but are just as good up to 3 days after, lightly toasted and spread with butter. Image

For the buns:
  • 300ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 200g mix of raisins, sultanas and mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the glaze

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Bubble the honey and sugar in a saucepan until syrupy, then brush over the buns to glaze.

Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood

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Mini coconut cake

Mini coconut cake

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This little cake is perfect if you’re having a tea party with one or two other people, and you don’t want too much left over cake (although I can’t see why that would be a problem…!) However, it’s also small enough to be eaten by one person, should the need arise! This little cake is made out of one single sponge, which means you can have a three layer cake without using too many eggs.

You can buy the coconut cream for the sponge mixture in a block, near the coconut milk in the supermarket. I makes the sponge lovely and moist, while the desiccated coconut topping adds a layer of crunch. You could also add a layer of raspberry jam between the layers to give a colour contrast.

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Mini Coconut cake

100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
30g coconut cream, grated
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g desiccated coconut

50g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
30g coconut cream, grated
1 tbsp milk

60g dessicated coconut, to decorate

20cm cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper
preheat oven to 180

  1. For the sponge, cream together the butter, sugar and coconut cream until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and beat well, then fold in the flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread out, then bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the icing by combining the butter, sugar, coconut and milk to form a smooth icing.
  6. When the cake is cool, cut out 3 circles with a cookie cutter and level off with a serrated knife. Layer the cakes on a cake stand or plate, with the icing in between.
  7. Then spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake, and press on the dessicated coconut to decorate.
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