Honey buns

Honey buns

I received an unexpected Amazon voucher from work a few weeks ago. I don’t really buy books from Amazon any more, simply because I would rather support actual bookshops, but I thought it would be rude not to indulge just this once! I got quite a few baking books, including Paul Hollywood’s British Baking, which contains this rather fine recipe for honey buns (you can find it online here).

Despite the name, these aren’t the yeasted variety of buns; they’re more like mini cakes. As you might expect, there’s a fair bit of honey in both the cakes themselves and the wonderfully sticky cream cheese icing. The cakes also contain chopped pecans and cinnamon.

Honey buns
The cakes were very straightforward to make. The only issue I had was trying to divide the mix equally between 18 cases, when I could only bake them in batches of 12! As a result, I ended up with some buns that were much bigger or smaller than the others.

The icing was also really easy to make, although I suspect mine was a little runnier than it should have been. For once, I seemed to make the right amount of icing and didn’t end up with any left over, which is always nice. I ran out of pecans after making the cakes, so I topped the honey buns with walnut halves instead.

Honey buns
I had two of the buns straight away, and was very pleased with how they turned out. The cakes themselves were lovely – spicy but with a strong honey flavour. The icing was delicious, too – I almost wished there had been some left over so I could have eaten it from the bowl with a spoon!

Honey buns
This is a brilliant little recipe and one I would highly recommend. It’s worth investing in some good quality honey for baking purposes, but I managed to make these with supermarket own-brand honey and it was perfectly fine. I’d love to try making these again with orange blossom honey or another flavoured honey – I suspect they’d be divine!

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Chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake

Chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake
I nearly forgot to blog about this one! It was my fiancé‘s birthday at the end of July, and I decided to make him a cake involving his all-time favourite combination: chocolate and hazelnuts.

I found a recipe for chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake on the Dolly Bakes blog and attempted to do my best with it. It was a little bit involved and made a LOT of cake mix – I actually ended up with a fair amount mix of all over the bottom of the oven. I assume my bundt tin is smaller than average, so be warned!

The best thing about the cake is the layer of Nutella running through the middle – you make this happen by putting some of the mix in the tin, then throwing some Nutella in and topping this with the rest of the mix. I also chucked in some roughly chopped milk chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips – I just think they’re so much nicer.

Chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake
Unfortunately, I had a bit of a disaster when turning out the cake thanks to the annoying nature of bundt tins, even when they’re very well greased and floured. Luckily, I could hide the cracks with lots of icing!

Despite the cake’s somewhat messy appearance, it went down extremely well with my fiancé – he said it was one of his favourite cakes out of all the ones I’ve ever made (and I’ve made A LOT). I don’t know if I’d make this again just because it seemed to take ages to get to grips with, but I suppose I better had for the sake of good future marital relations!

Chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake

Bakewell slices + an epic afternoon tea

Bakewell slices
A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I hosted a celebratory afternoon tea for some friends to belatedly mark our engagement. If you know us, you’ll know that we do love to throw a bit of a do, and this was definitely a do and a half! One of the many things we made was these Bakewell slices.

Before I go on, I do apologise for the quality of the photos – I’ve never been great at taking pictures, but in my defence, we did happen to have a magnum of prosecco on the go at the time!

Anyway, the Bakewell slices were the one thing I hadn’t made before, so I suppose it was a bit of a gamble. However, I used a Mary Berry recipe for these, and she rarely puts a foot wrong, so I was pretty confident that they’d turn out well. And turn out well they did!

It basically just involved making some pastry, lining a tin with it and topping it with a layer of raspberry jam, some almond sponge mix (flavoured with almond extract rather than ground almonds, which surprised me a bit) and flaked almonds. Then the whole thing went in the oven. And that was it!

They were truly scrumptious, and got thumbs up from the guests. They’re great to make if you want to impress with something easy to make, and are easily made in advance (I made mine the day before and they kept well in the tin).

Afternoon tea
So, what else did we make? We also had the following on the menu…

  • Finger sandwiches (savoury cheese and beetroot; egg mayo and cress; cucumber, dill and cream cheese)
  • Plain and fruit scones (recipe from BBC Good Food; I made two batches and put sultanas in one of them)
  • Viennese whirls (recipe from the Hairy Bikers and previously blogged here)
  • Victoria sponge (recipe from BBC Good Food and previously blogged here)
  • Lemon tart (recipe from The Best-Ever Mediterranean Cookbook)
  • Dark and white chocolate eclairs (recipe from Raymond Blanc)
  • Assorted afternoon cocktails (hic!)
Viennese whirls, scones and finger sandwiches

Viennese whirls, scones and finger sandwiches

Victoria sponge

Victoria sponge

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

All in all, it was a great do and all of the food was lovely (even if I do say so myself). We made far too much as usual, but it’s always better to make too much than too little. Especially when it means you can basically have afternoon tea for breakfast AND lunch the next day…

Spiced teacakes

Spiced teacakes
A few weeks ago I asked my fiancé whether he had any baking-related requests, and he mentioned that he’d been enjoying toasted teacakes of late. After a quick search online I found a recipe for spiced teacakes that didn’t look too difficult to make, so I decided to have a go.

Spiced teacakes
At least, I thought they were easy until I realised I didn’t have quite enough strong white flour, so I had to substitute half of it for strong wholemeal flour and cross my fingers!

Spiced teacakes
They seemed to rise okay the first time, but didn’t rise very much at all the second time. I put them in the oven anyway and continued to cross my fingers…

Spiced teacakes
They were a tiny bit underdone in the middle, but otherwise, they tasted really nice thanks to the spices and orange zest. The teacakes were a tad heavy and became more so after a day or two, so if you make these and also use wholemeal flour, do bear this in mind!

I think I wouldn’t make these with wholemeal flour again, but I’ll definitely give them another go with the correct amount of strong white flour soon – they really were delicious warm with lashings of butter.

The recipe

Can be found on the BBC Food website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/spiced_teacakes_29429