Iced London Buns

I’ve made these once before, they were lovely. Not sure why its taken me so long to make them again.

These Iced London Buns are from Justin Gellatly’s excellent book, Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding. You can tell they’re going to be tasty, before you mix the dough. Even the caraway seeds, which at first glance seem a bit odd, smell right when they’re in the bowl with everything else.

Greedy ants...

Both times I’ve made these I’ve not been too happy with the shape of the buns. They don’t turn out like the iced buns you buy from the shops, which are generally touching and have to be pulled apart. This is no bad thing, depending on your point of view.

Proving...

I’m not sure what happened when they were in the oven, as they didn’t colour up very well. Even with an egg wash, they came out slightly anaemic and patchy, rather than the stated golden brown. Maybe if I’d just brushed them with egg yolk, rather than whole egg, they would have been less patchy, who knows.

Out of the oven...

While my icing skillz leave a lot to be desired, I was relatively happy with how the icing on these turned out. I can’t help thinking that the icing would’ve looked better if I’d used a letterbox type icing nozzle, rather than just chopping the end of the icing bag. I might have to invest in some bigger icing bags and some nozzles and try that next time.

Iced buns!

If you fancy making some iced buns, then you could do a lot worse than these. I’d definitely recommend giving them a try.

Millionaire’s Shortbread

I loved Millionaire’s Shortbread as a child. Mum used to make it occasionally and I’d sneak downstairs and nick slices out of the biscuit tin.

It’s a wonder that I’ve not attempted to make it before now. I think I’ve always been put off by making the caramel layer, and the fact that it’s a three step process with gaps between each step. You need to plan ahead, which is something I always seem to forget to do. As I had all the ingredients and I was off work (ill again), I decided I had the time to make it.

Making the caramel...

I’d already decided to follow Felicity Cloake’s recipe on the Guardian website, which was easy to follow. I started with the shortbread, which went without drama. I’ve never used semolina in shortbread before, it certainly made the base slightly crunchier.

When the base was cool, I made the caramel, which as it turns out wasn’t that hard. Although I think it’s one of those things that you get better with experience, as it’s all about knowing when to stop the cooking. Once the caramel was cool, I melted the chocolate and slathered it on top.

Chunks of Millionaire's Shortbread...

I always remember Mum cutting her millionaire’s shortbread into fingers. This was so chunky and rich, that I’m not sure you’d have been able to finish a finger. With the office being half empty again, and the fact that you didn’t need that big a chunk, it didn’t get finished. My wife loves millionaire’s shortbread, as do the kids, so I luckily managed to avoid a tricky situation by brining some home.

If I was to make it again, I would make the shortbread and caramel layers slightly thiner, they were both just a bit too thick. This might require a bit more chocolate on top, which is hardly a problem.

Fridge Cake

Fridge cake isn’t just for summer. I made this back in early February, I’ve just been slack with blogging about it.

I’d originally planned on making fridge cake and millionaire’s shortbread together. A bout of illness had me off work on my usual cake day, and the following week lots of colleagues were out of the office, so I settled on just making the fridge cake.

It wasn’t exactly hard to make, the only issue was getting home to find I’d mistakenly though there was mixed peel in the house. I substituted glacé cherries, no-one complained. The kids complained even less when I came home with a few slices left over.

If you’re after a quick and easy bake for work, you can’t really go wrong with this kind of thing.

Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookies are an easy way to feed a load of work colleagues. As they’re generally a hungry lot, I decided to give them the option and made two different types.

I settled on chocolate chip and peanut butter, both from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I’ve made both of these before, multiple times. My daughter especially loves the peanut butter ones.

I used my ice cream scoop to measure out the dough, so for a change, they were all roughly the same size. Both were tasty, although I think the peanut butter ones went down slightly better than the chocolate chip ones.

Orange and Almond & Lemon Cake

When I started at my current company, I was the tenth employee. We have now doubled in size, so when everyone’s in the office, one cake isn’t enough.

As I had some Seville oranges left over from making marmalade, I decided that I wanted to make some sort of orange cake. A quick look at the The Observer’s The 20 best cake recipes and there was a recipe for Claudia Roden’s classic Orange and Almond Cake.

I didn’t fancy making two of them, so decided to find a complimentary cake. As oranges and lemons are made for each other, I plumped for Rose Elliot’s Lemon cake from her book Fast, Fresh and Fabulous (which has since been renamed the Low-GI Vegetarian Cookbook). The two cake recipes are pretty much identical, except for the citrus fruit used.

There is only one downside to these recipes, which is the boiling of the fruit, it takes ages. Other than that, they’re pretty easy to make. A quick dusting with icing sugar when they’ve cooled and they’re ready to go, accompanied by a pot crème fraîche.

You’ll notice, however, that they didn’t look the same. Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake had way more volume to it before it went into the oven. It promptly collapsed when it came out and cooled, and stuck itself to the side of the buttered and floured tin. Rose Elliot’s went into the tin and came out of the oven at exactly the same level, no rise but no sinkage either. It had come away from the sides of the tin though, so turned out without any issues.

Not much left...

The appeared to go down quite well, with the lemon cake looking like the favourite out of the two. I’m not sure if this was because I’d used Seville oranges, rather than a sweeter variety, or that the texture on the lemon cake was maybe slightly better. Either way, it meant that I had a few slices to have for breakfast on the Saturday and Sunday.

Breakfast...

The Weekly Work Bake

I’ve baked something for my work colleagues, pretty much every week, for the last couple of years. You’d think that I’d have blogged about it, I’ve been missing a trick.

Cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, muffins and pies, they’ve had the whole lot. I’ve used 7UP, mayonnaise and cannellini beans as ingredients, along with the usual staples. Not all of them have been very good, a few have stuck in their tins, or haven’t quite come out the the oven quickly enough, or just been a bit, well, meh.

A few have been stupendous though. The Honey & Co. Chocolate, hazelnut & cinnamon krantz loaf was sublime; so good I made it again the following weekend for a family gathering. Justin Gellatly’s ginger cake was probably everyone’s favourite though, it was absolutely delicious and didn’t last long.

So this year, I decided I should blog about them.