Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Bare with me as I get back on track with my posting schedule, but I must warn you once again that I may or may not be travelling back to the Philippines, and as you already know, Internet connection will once again be disrupted, but hopefully for only a week or so. I am aware that it is a Sunday, and on amcarmenskitchen it should in fact be a Review Sunday! But not today for I have a special post for you guys tonight as it is Easter Sunday! I will sort out my reviews from various places that I visited during my month-long trip to the Philippines and get working on them to have one up for next week.

I remember how every bakery in Sydney, be in along the streets, inside a shopping centre, or supermarket, smelled of freshly baked hot cross buns. I definitely miss those chocolate chip flavoured ones from Baker’s Delight! A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in most parts of Europe, the United States, and Australia/New Zealand. Apparently, hot cross buns may go on sale in Australia and New Zealand as early as New Year’s Day or even right after Christmas.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

To be honest, I was quite reluctant on whether or not I should post this up because a few things went wrong even though I followed the recipe from Taste very carefully. My buns did not at all look like the photograph and I think it because I under baked the buns (even though I followed the recipe). Okay, I technically didn’t quite follow it because the dough was very wet and quite sticky so I added probably the equivalent of about 1/2 or 3/4 more cups of flour. Maybe this is where it went wrong? I don’t know. Half of the buns deflated when I removed them from the oven (this is why I mentioned that I may have quite possibly under baked them), and they were still pretty pale when they had an extra 15 minutes in the oven. The crosses ended up appearing the same in terms of colour as the bun and didn’t look as evident. Oh the many mishaps; and now you see why I was hesitant to show my fail buns. Anyway, I deserve an A for effort as this is my first time making bread ever! And even still I am showing you my result!

When I reheated the buns again our small electric oven for about 6-8 minutes (for our afternoon snack), the tops browned nicely; and it was only then did I decide that maybe I should post it on my blog even if they don’t look that appetising. However, by this time, having been in the oven for quite some time since the initial baking, the bottoms and even the outside became quite crusty, however, the inside remained soft and dense. The 6 that are missing from the photograph were the deflated ones that we ate, and so I only managed to photograph the remaining 6. I will definitely give this recipe another go some other time.

Easter Hot Cross Buns Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | MAKES 12 BUNS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of raisins (or currents/sultanas)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 sachets (7g each) dried yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp mixed spices (I used cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg)
  • Pinch of salt

For the flour paste

  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 3 tbsp water

For the glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Butter to serve

METHOD

  1. Bread Dough: Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spices, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and then add in the milk. Heat for about a minute, or until the mixture is lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to flour mixture. Then, using a flat-bladed knife, mix until the dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  4. Punch the dough down to its original size and add the raisins to the dough. Knead with the raisins for about a minute on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto a large tray lined with baking paper, about 1cm apart, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C.
  5. Flour Paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag and snip off a corner of the bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
  7. Glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and let it boil for about 3-4 minutes. Then, brush the warm glaze over the hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Hello Everyone and welcome back to reading another blog post! So this recipe was actually made (and consumed) yesterday, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all what the cake was for. Basically last week when Jialing and I were having our lava cake bake off session, Lydia asked if I was free next week (which was yesterday), to make a chocolate cake for her birthday (which is today, Sunday). So first off, Happy 21st Birthday once again to my housemate and friend, Lydia! So on Thursday, I was going through chocolate cake recipes to make, and I came across this one on Taste. Chocolate and Salted Caramel – the ultimate flavour sensation! Jialing, and most specifically the birthday girl, were happy with this selection. So Saturday morning, Lydia and I met up with Jialing at Kingsford, had a gigantic lunch, and then headed over to Maroubra Junction to do our grocery shoppings, and also of course cake ingredient shopping. While shopping – may I just point out, we saw a tub of ready made salted caramel. We debated over whether we should just buy one, and I made the call to just make our own caramel – I mean why not? We were already making the cake from scratch!

Got home and immediately started on the cake because we knew it was going to take a while. Of course, Lydia was on dry ingredient duty, Jialing took over the wet, while I helped Lydia with the dry. Popped the mixture in the oven, and then it was onto the salted caramel. Seriously, so many problems with this, but nonetheless, it tasted #amazeballs. Also, while I was working on this, Jialing and Lydia started to prep the frosting for the cake. Also, somewhere in-between all that, Vidhya, our acting supervisor (not really) sat around and watched the chaos unfold in the kitchen – okay she did help a little bit as well before going back to sleep again (after having just woken up from her slumber). It was then more or less time to take the cakes out of the oven, left to cool, and then assemble! We assembled the first two layers and then, disaster struck. Our top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through so we had to pop it back into the oven. Once we got it out of the oven, we still had to wait for it to cool down. While that was happening, we left everything to where it was and headed out to get a take out dinner. We were so engrossed in our cake making session that we totally forgot about dinner! So went to the Indian place nearby and got dinner for 6 – by then Abdullah, Marissa, and Vidhya (when she woke up) joined us.

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

We then assembled the cake. Once that was done and over with, we had Vidhya distract Lydia so that we could put candles on her cake (which by the way she was not expecting). It was hilarious because whatever Vidhya needed doing was basically a one-man job turned two/three person job just to keep Lydia distracted and away from the dining room for a bit. When she finally walked back into the dining room, she was SO happy and even had a little jump/skip when she saw the candles on her cake. Priceless moment. We then took photos, sang happy birthday, had more housemates join us, ate cake, drank wine, and had a good time. So yes, if you took the time to read all that, thank you! And if you are just here for the recipe, fear not, it begins here…


Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 395g can caramel*
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp if using concentrated extract)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp sea salt rocks
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Sea salt rocks, to decorate (optional)

For the chocolate frosting

  • 400g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cocoa powder, sifted

*If you read all of the above before scrolling down to the recipe, I actually made my own salted caramel which I will be uploading the recipe to tomorrow (hopefully), so stay tuned for that!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease three 9″ round disposable aluminium tins (we didn’t have cake pans to work with so we bought these instead, and since they came in a pack of three, we made a three-layer cake instead).
  2. Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, baking of soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and 1 cup cold water. Combine using a spatula. Then, using and electrical mixer, beat the mixture over medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, gather ingredients for your salted caramel while waiting for your cakes to cook (if making from scratch).
  5. Chocolate Frosting: Whisk the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl until the cocoa powder has dissolved. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate, then cocoa mixture until combined.
  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes. Then, transfer the base of 1 cake to a plate. Spread with 1/3 of the caramel. Top with another cake layer and spread with 1/2 of the remaining caramel. Repeat layering with 1 cake layer and remaining caramel mixture. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with chocolate frosting. Serve!

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

You can’t really see the layers of caramel in-between because while we were assembling we realised that the top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through. So while waiting for that to bake away in the oven, on top of getting take out and eating dinner, the caramel that was on the other layers of cake either seeped into the cake or dripped over the sides. Sad times, but still oh so decadent in flavour!

Happy Birthday Lydia

Once again, Happy Birthday Lydia! ❤

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com