iced pink finger buns

8 Apr 2024

I've always loved an iced pink finger bun so when I saw a photo of the 
pistachio and lemon iced buns from Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice by Natalie Paull in the latest issue of Delicious Magazine, I knew it was time to make a batch. When I found some freeze dried raspberry powder in the baking aisle of my local supermarket on Saturday, I knew the time had come.

These finger buns were not made using Natalie's recipe, but they were inspired by the pictures. I used my ever faithful bun dough recipe, much adapted from a Sarah Keiffer recipe, with the addition of dried fruit and citrus rind as suggested by Natalie. I used orange syrup to glaze the buns, which was already lurking in my fridge but I used Natalie's cream cheese icing recipe. 

You can't make these finger buns on a whim because the dough needs an overnight rise. However, both the icing and syrup can be made ahead of time or while the buns are proving. As I'm an early riser, the buns were baked, cooled and iced by 10.00 am on Sunday morning and devoured by 10.15 am. They are so good!

Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 finger buns. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Iced pink finger buns - Inspired by the recipe for pistachio and lemon iced buns from Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice by Natalie Paull, a copy of which has been on order from my local library for quite some time.

Fruit soak
100g dried fruit (I used a mix of sultanas, currants and dried cranberries)
½ cup boiling water
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange

1 and 1/8 tsp yeast
125 mls lukewarm milk
30g honey
1 room temperature egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour 
½ tsp salt
75g room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 

40 mls orange juice or water
40g caster sugar

Fluffy cream cheese icing
125g full fat softened cream cheese
125g unsalted butter, squidgy soft 
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
40g yoghurt powder or dried milk powder
125g icing sugar
10g freeze dried raspberry powder

To finish
¼ cup flaked coconut 
1 tbs freeze dried raspberry pieces 
60g butter of your choice

Fruit soak
Place the dried fruit into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for an hour before draining thoroughly and patting dry with paper towel. Stir through the grated rinds and set aside until needed.

Grease a large plastic container and set to one side. Combine the yeast, milk and honey in a large liquid measuring cup and rest for 5 minutes or until foamy then stir in the egg and the vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been incorporated (about 10 minutes) increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, and the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Transfer the dough to the prepared container. 

The dough will be sticky and you might need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl or container. Cover the container with a lid or with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Distribute the fruit soak over the dough and gently push it into the dough using your fingers. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the container and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the container and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Replace the lid or tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

Place the cream cheese, butter and yoghurt or milk powder, vanilla and salt in the bowl of electric stand mixer. Sift the icing sugar over the top. Beat with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes on speed 4 (below low) until pale, and fluffy. Store covered in the fridge until needed. If refrigerated, rewarm in the microwave in 20-second bursts until softened.

Spray a shallow 20cm 30cm 5cm deep baking tray with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper. On a lightly floured counter, divide the chilled dough into six, approximately 105g portions and gently shape into balls. Leave on the counter with a tea towel over the top and rest for 10 minutes. This little pre-shape will relax the dough so you can roll evenly shaped with extra flour as possible.
Roll the balls into smooth, even diameter cigars about 15cm long. Place the dough cigars in parallel lines on the lined tray. Space them apart by 1cm so they'll touch during baking. Free-range, far apart buns won't puff as much without support from their bun buddies. Spray the tops with cooking oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for the final proof  (around 1 to 1½ hours depending on room temperature) or until they're a little puffed and snuggling one another. 

Towards the end of the proof, preheat the oven to 220°C, conventional. While the buns proof, finish the icing by stirring in 10g of dried raspberry powder. Set aside at room temperature, or refrigerate if it's a warm day. 

Combine the juice or water and sugar in small non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 seconds, until viscous like oil. Turn the heat off and set the syrup aside to cool at room temperature.

When the buns bounce back lazily when poked, put them in the oven. Turn the heat down to 190°C conventional and bake for 18-20 minutes. The bun tops will be a light tan colour, springy to touch, and the internal temperature will be 95°C. As soon as the buns come out of the even, brush the syrup all over the tops and sides. Leave the tray to completely cool on a wire rack for around 1 hour. If your icing is chilled, take it out of the fridge now.

To finish 
Pull a bun away from its buddies. Using a small, sharp serrated knife, split the cooled bun lengthwise like a hot dog bun, keeping the base intact, and smooth a good smear of softened butter on each cut side. Press the halves back together.

Load the softened icing into a piping bag with a medium plain nozzle in place (I used my home made St Honore tip). Pipe a tight squiggly spine down the top of the bun and sprinkle with flaked coconut and a few freeze dried raspberry pieces. Serve straight away.

Now I can't wait to make a batch of the pistachio and lemon iced buns.

Easter has been and gone and hard as it is to believe, Passover is almost upon us. I've been baking Passover treats since the end of January and next week I'll be sharing 5 bakes with you for Passover week 2024

See you all again next week.

Bye for now, 


chocolate ricotta cake

1 Apr 2024

It wouldn't be Easter without chocolate. As I'm sure you know, I don't really like chocolate in baked goods, although I do admit to a deep fondness for chocolate Tim Tams. I'm known at work as the girl (shock, horror) who doesn't like chocolate, however my workmates are huge fans. With my workmates in mind and with some leftover ricotta in the fridge I decided to try my hand at making the 
chocolate ricotta cake I saw 
Julia Busuttil Nishimura whip up on the Good Food Kitchen cooking show.

Raspberries were on special at the supermarket and I had everything else on hand I needed, so I put the cake together on Sunday morning. Once cooled I veered away from the recipe a little and topped the cake with some espresso flavoured chocolate ganache.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Chocolate ricotta cake – Julia Busuttil Nishimura
100g self-raising flour
30g Dutch process cocoa powder
pinch salt
125g unsalted butter
135g caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
125g fresh full-fat ricotta
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache
75g 50% chocolate, finely chopped
75ml pure cream
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp espresso powder
Fresh raspberries, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 190°C conventional. Grease and line a 17cm round cake tin. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream the butter and sugar on a medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes or until very pale and fluffy, scraping the bowl down with a spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next. Once the eggs have been fully incorporated, add the ricotta and vanilla extract and continue to mix until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix very briefly, only for 10-15 seconds, or until it is just incorporated. Finish mixing the cake batter by hand with a spatula, being careful to not over-mix. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the mixture.

Bake in the preheated 190°C conventional oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to cool briefly in the tin then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside.

For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate 
in a medium bowl. In a small pan heat the cream with the maple syrup and espresso powder, stirring until the espresso powder has dissolved and the cream is until simmering. Immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. Whisk or stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter have melted and combined with the cream, to form a rich and glossy mixture. 

Allow to sit at room temperature until it becomes a spreadable consistency (about 20 minutes). Spoon the ganache onto the cooled cake and spread it to the edges of the cake in a swirling motion. Top with the raspberries before serving.

I'm pleased to report that every-one 
at work loved the chocolate ricotta cake.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


tuscan rosemary buns

24 Mar 2024

Last year I saw some delicious looking Easter buns on the Flour and Stone
IG account. They were Nadine Ingram's adaptation of pan di ramarino, or Tuscan rosemary buns. Nadine in turn had been inspired by an Emiko Davies recipe, so I went straight to the source.

I do love hot cross buns but they are a little time consuming and this recipe was not. I was also intrigued by the use of savoury rosemary in a sweet bun, so I went to work slightly adapting the recipe along the way. Firstly I had to buy some rosemary as my rosemary plant died some time ago. I didn't have quite enough sultanas so I used some currants as well. I have to say that combination worked out so well, I would do that again.

I made the dough and did an overnight rise and the dough rose very high and handsome. When it came to scoring the dough, the razor blades I'd purchased for the task went missing, so I used a sharp knife instead. 

As orange and rosemary are natural partners I topped the buns with orange flavoured syrup. I was very keen to try one of the buns still warm from the oven. The buns were lightly sweet, fluffy, gently flavoured with rosemary and best of all delicious. I've made the buns a second time, using a combination of sultanas and dried blueberries, because I'd run out of currants, and they were equally delicious. I also purchased another pack of razor blades so I could score the buns. So much easier than using a serrated knife.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes 8 buns. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Tuscan rosemary buns - makes 8
80g sultanas or currants or a mix of both
1 Earl Grey teabag
100 mls boiling water
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
180 ml lukewarm milk or water or a mixture
30g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg lightly beaten, for glazing
Butter, to serve

Orange syrup
55g caster sugar 
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
20 mls water
60 mls orange juice

Place the sultanas, tea bag and 100mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until fruit is plump. Drain well before using.

To infuse the oil, remove the leaves from one rosemary sprig, you should have about 5g, and chop finely. Place the olive oil into a small saucepan with the rosemary leaves and gently heat for a few minutes. Allow to cool completely.

ln a small bowl, combine the yeast with 60 mls of the warm milk and 1 tsp of the sugar. Leave covered for 10 minutes or so until a sponge has formed. Place the remaining sugar, the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture, the cooled oil and leaves and the remaining milk and using the dough hook mix until a soft dough has formed, about 5-7 minutes. Cover and leave for 20 minutes before doing a series of stretch and folds. Leave for a further 20 minutes covered in the bowl.

Place the dough onto a floured board and flatten into a rectangle. Remove the leaves from the second sprig of rosemary. Pat the sultanas dry and sprinkle over the dough along with the fresh rosemary leaves. Gently press the sultanas into the dough. Fold over corners of the dough to enclose the sultanas and rosemary and knead until evenly distributed. Form into a round, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and rest in a warm, draught-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour). You could also cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for an overnight rise.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured board, then divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape into fist-sized buns and place on a lined baking sheet with 5cm or so space between each bun. Score the tops of the bun with a noughts-and-crosses grid using a very sharp knife or a razor blade. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place, for a further half hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, conventional. Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg and bake at 200⁰C for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. While the buns are cooking, prepare the syrup. Place the sugar and orange rind in a small saucepan with the water and stir to dissolve. Add the orange juice then simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. When the buns are ready, brush the tops of the still warm buns with the syrup, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter.

Like most breads, these are best eaten the day they are made but are excellent the following day toasted and served with butter and apricot jam.

Have a great Easter break and I'll see you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



raspberry bakewell slice

17 Mar 2024

Do you remember I made a cherry bakewell slice a few months ago. The bars were very tasty but they were topped with icing and I found them to be very sweet. I put the slice in the freezer and I did polish off the whole thing by myself over the course of some months, cutting the slice into tiny morsels.

I wanted to remake them in their original form, using raspberry jam in the filling and topped with flaked almonds. I adapted another Claire Ptak recipe I found here and made a smaller batch in a square 17cm tin. Claire suggests using a mixture of raspberry and strawberry jam in the filling however when I hunted through the fridge I found a pot of homemade rhubarb and raspberry jam which I used instead.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 8 bars. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Raspberry bakewell slice - makes 8 bars
125g plain flour
45g icing sugar
pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup berry jam

100g softened unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg and 1 yolk
50g ground almonds (I used a combination of blanched and natural meal)
50g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder

25g flaked almonds
75g fresh/frozen raspberries (optional)

Heat the oven to 180°C conventional. Grease and line a 17cm square tin with baking paper.

For the shortbread base, combine all the ingredients, except the jam, in a food processor and blitz until the mixture has just come together into a ball. Press the pastry evenly into the prepared tin then bake 
on the centre rack for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the base cool for 10 minutes before gently spreading the jam over the base.

For the topping, beat the butter and sugar well. Once creamy, add the extract and eggs, then beat well. Add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder just to combine. (I made the topping in the food processor).

Spread the topping evenly over the jam, top with the raspberries if using and then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes and bake until golden and set. Cool for an hour to allow the base to firm before removing from the tin using the baking paper as handles. 

When completely cold, slice into bars. The bars will keep well in an airtight container for up to five days.

They were everything I'd hoped they'd be and so easy to make in the food processor.

See you all again next week with a little something for Easter.

Bye for now,



plum ricotta cake

9 Mar 2024

So you know how I am about plum cakes. Well Danielle Alvarez's strawberry ricotta loaf was so delicious, I figured it would taste great made with plums. 

I was meeting some friends and with plums readily available in the fruit shop, I decided to make a plum version of the ricotta cake. I baked the plum cake in a round tin and to prevent the plums from sinking to the bottom of the cake, I put a layer of plum slices in the middle of the cake then topped the cake with some more plum slices. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch cake. 
For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Plum ricotta cake
1 tbs sugar
8 plums, pitted and sliced
165g plain flour
60g wholemeal plain flour 
1 and 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
60ml milk
100g ricotta
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g room temperature unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 tbs lemon rind (about 1 lemon)

Preheat the oven to 175°C conventional. Grease, and flour an 8 inch cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Sprinkle the tbs of caster sugar over the sliced plums and set to one side. Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and ricotta. Set both bowls aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl (do not whisk) and add the vanilla extract. Set aside. 

Place the butter, sugar and lemon rind in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on a high speed until the mixture is light, fluffy and almost white in colour. This will take about 5–7 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides as needed. With the machine running, add the eggs, letting one slide in at a time, and waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding in the next.

Stop the machine, add in half the flour mixture, and turn the machine on to low speed to just combine. Add in the milk-ricotta mixture and mix until combined. Finally, stop the machine again and add in the remaining flour mixture. Return the machine to a low speed and mix until it all just comes together. 

Spoon half the batter into the tin and top with a layer of plum slices. Gently spoon the remaining batter over the plums and top with the rest of the plum slices. Bake on the centre rack for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack. 

It came out of the oven looking and smelling pretty good. 

I'm planning to make another version of this cake using raspberries and nectarines and almond meal instead of wholemeal flour. Hopefully the nectarine season will last a little while longer, otherwise that version might have to wait until next year.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


brown butter rye chocolate chunk cookies

4 Mar 2024

Disaster struck the other day. The biscuit tin was empty and needed to be filled quickly. I looked through my copy of 
'Love is a Pink Cake' by Claire Ptak and it opened up at the Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. I checked my cupboards and apart from the condensed milk, I hadeverything I needed. Saturday morning I bought a tin of condensed milk and by lunch time I'd made the cookie dough and it was resting in the fridge.

American style cookies are sugar heavy and quite large so I reduced the quantity of brown sugar a little and I made slightly smaller cookies. I'm a firm believer that all cookies taste better using aged dough, so I refrigerated the dough overnight then baked the cookies on Sunday. The cookie dough was quite firm so I was worried they might be a bit dry when baked. The cookies rose up rather than out, so I tamped them down halfway through the bake time after which they baked into a perfectly round chocolate chunk cookie. I was meeting a friend for lunch so I waited until I came home and had half a cookie after dinner. It was so good I scoffed the other half before I went to bed.

I normally bake cookies for my biscuit tin so I rarely bring cookies into work. I just knew my workmakes, who are chocolate fiends, would love them so I took them into work with me on Monday. The cookies were chewy and delicious and they disappeared in a flash. I promised my colleagues I'd make another batch soon.

If you'd like to make my version of the cookies, here's the recipe for you which makes 12 cookies. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Brown butter rye chocolate chunk cookies
110g dark milk chocolate (50%)
112g unsalted butter
100g rye flour
87g plain flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp baking powder
A slightly heaped ½ tsp of bicarb soda
135g soft light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
40 mls sweetened condensed milk
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Chop the chocolate into chunks, reserving 12 chunks to top the cookies. Set to one side.

In a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to sizzle and foam. The white milk solids should settle to the bottom of the pan and start to turn golden brown (if it goes black, you have gone too far and must start again). Swirl the pan a few more times then remove from the heat to cool slightly. Weigh out the flours, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate soda and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter (including any brown bits from the bottom of the pan) and sugar until well mixed. You can also mix by hand with a wooden spoon. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and condensed milk and mix well. Scrape down the bowl and mix again, then add the flour and mix until just combined. Finally mix in the chocolate chunks. You will have a fairly firm cookie dough.

Use a scoop or spoon to portion out 12 cookies (approx 46g) into a container that fits into your fridge or freezer. Chill or freeze for at least 30 minutes although I prefer to chill the cookie dough overnight.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Towards the end of the chilling time preheat the oven to 190°C, conventional. Place the number of cookies you want to bake onto the lined baking tray, spaced well apart as they will almost double in size. Top the cookies with a sprinkle of flaky salt and bake in the oven for 8 minutes. 

Remove the tray from the oven, 
then top each cookie with a chocolate chunk before tamping the cookies to flatten them a little. Rotate the tray then bake for another 7-8 minutes or until the cookies have set and are golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Once cool, store in an airtight tin.

I thought Claires' blonde peanut butter cookies couldn't be bettered but these brown butter rye chocolate chunk cookies sure give them a run for their money. They were so good one of my work colleagues asked me for the recipe, a rare event.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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