fitzrovia buns

25 Oct 2020

These buns from Honey & Co have been on my to-make list for ages. Before I could make them I had to source some sour cherries.
My usual supplier, a local health food store, suddenly closed down a few months ago and it took me a few months before I found another source.
I made the buttery dough the night before baking the buns, rolled them before I went grocery shopping, then baked them on my return for a late breakfast. Look at all those gorgeous cherries and pistachios.

The recipe made 8 buns and while they were in the oven I made the honey and sugar syrup with which to douse the buns.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 - 8 buns. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC.
Fitzrovia Buns adapted from Honey & Co


70g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

1½ tsp dried yeast

1 egg

60g caster sugar

80–100 mls milk

300g plain flour

pinch salt


Place the butter, yeast, egg, sugar and 80 mls of the milk in a large mixing bowl, then top with the flour and salt. Use the dough attachment on your mixer or your hands to bring it all together to a smooth, shiny dough, adding the remaining 20 mls of milk if it looks dry. Don’t worry too much if you still have some whole flecks of butter running through the dough; they will make your final bun super-light.


Once the dough has a nice texture to it (after about 2–3 minutes with an electric mixer or 5–6 minutes working by hand), wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours to 12 hours.

Here are a few guidelines to working with this dough:

  • Allow at least 2 hours to refrigerate it before shaping, as it can be very soft when freshly made. Ideally, if you plan ahead, make the dough the day before, place it in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Try to work it with as little additional flour as you dare. The end product will benefit greatly. Work on a cool surface in a cool kitchen, as the dough will soften quickly once out of the fridge.
  • Have all your fillings ready before you start on the dough. It also helps if you have your tray lined in advance.
  • If you are going to bake after shaping, leave the buns at room temperature to prove.
  • If you are preparing in advance, freeze the unbaked buns as soon as they are shaped (to preserve as much yeast activity as possible when you send it to sleep in the freezer.
  • You can shape the buns in the evening, place them on the baking tray and pop them in the fridge to prove slowly overnight and bake first thing in the morning.
  • Filled dough will keep for up to a week in the freezer but after that they start to deteriorate and lose their plumpness.
  • Always freeze unbaked dough uncovered on a tray, then (once frozen) you can transfer to a container or freezer bag or wrap the tray with plastic wrap. When you are ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge before taking out to proof in the morning (or if you only sleep 5–6 hours, simply leave them out at room temperature, and when you wake they should be ready to bake).


50g unsalted butter at room temperature

100g light brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla paste

75g dried sour cherries

60g chopped pistachios, reserving 1 tbs for decoration

a little cream or melted butter

1 batch base sugar syrup (recipe follows)


Mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a small bowl until well combined. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out with a rolling pin on a very lightly floured workbench to a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches. You may need to flip the dough over once or twice to get an even, smooth sheet, but try to work with as little flour as you can so as not to dry the dough out.


Lay the rectangle lengthwise in front of you and spread the spiced butter in a thin layer all over, all the way to the edges, then sprinkle the cherries and pistachios at regular intervals on top, so that each bite will contain a bit of everything.

Lift the long edge of the dough closest to you and start rolling it up away from you, keeping it nice and tight without stretching the dough, until you end up with a sausage about 12 inches long. If it comes out a little longer, push it in from both ends to condense it a little; if it comes out shorter, then use your hands to roll it out a little until it reaches 12 inches. Cut into 6 or 8 even-sized slices, depending on how many buns you want.

Line a 12 x 8 inch baking tin with a piece of baking parchment so that it comes up the sides in one piece, and lay the buns flat on the base, spiral facing upwards. This is the time to freeze the buns if you want to bake them at a later date; otherwise leave them in a warm place.

After 15–20 minutes, preheat the oven to 200°C. Allow the buns to continue rising. The dough should have expanded and should be shiny and taut. Brush each bun with a little cream or melted butter and sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top.

Place in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and then turn the tin for an even bake. Bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and pour over the sugar syrup. Allow to cool slightly before devouring.

Base sugar syrup

75 mls water

75 mls sugar

2 tsp honey 



Place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top and remove from the heat. You can make this syrup in advance — just keep it in a jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I can't even begin to tell you how fabulous these buns are, still warm from the oven. I will definitely be making these again.

2021 update - I can report the dough for these buns can be made in a bread maker. I used the Brabantia bread maker, a gift from Everten.

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

Bye for now,



rhubarb cheesecake crumble squares

19 Oct 2020

I had no intention of making these rhubarb cheesecake crumble squares until I walked into my local fruit shop and discovered that rhubarb was on sale. It's no secret that I adore rhubarb but how best to use it?

I decided to make a rhubarb version of these raspberry cheesecake crumble bars.
Decision made, I picked up some cream cheese on my way home and set to work putting these together.
I made these over the long weekend and with plenty of time on my hand, I baked the crust one day, then prepared the cheesecake filling and the rhubarb topping the following day.
The squares need cooling time before they're cut so it's best to bake them the day before serving.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 16 - 24 squares.For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC.

Rhubarb Cheesecake Crumble Squares – adapted from the Raspberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars recipe from One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber

225g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
350g plain flour
200g caster sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
5 tbs rolled oats
1 tbs raw sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

500g cream cheese, at room temperature
cup Greek yoghurt, at room temperature
200g caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbs plain flour
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs

Rhubarb topping
1 bunch rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths
3 tablespoons caster sugar mixed with 1 tsp finely grated orange rind


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 9 x13 inch brownie tin, (I used the Le Creuset non stick rectangular tin from Everten) then line with a strip of parchment paper that overhangs the two long sides of the tin. Secure the paper in place with two metal clips.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 9 x13 inch brownie tin, then line with a strip of parchment paper that overhangs the two long sides of the tin. Secure the paper in place with two metal clips.

For the crumble, mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Gradually drizzle in the melted butter, stirring with a fork to combine until the mixture has formed clumps, then tip about two-thirds (try ¾) of the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Use a glass to compact it into a flat layer. Dock all over with a fork and then freeze for 10 minutes. Mix the remaining crumble with the oats, raw sugar and cinnamon then refrigerate until needed.

Bake the base for 10-15 minutes, or until just starting to brown, then remove and set aside to cool. 

To make the cheesecake, place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until smooth and evenly combined. Pour the cheesecake mix evenly over the base. 

For the filling, arrange the rhubarb pieces decoratively over the cheesecake and then sprinkle with the caster sugar mixture. Strew the reserved crumble evenly over the top then bake for 50-60 minutes or until the crumble is lightly browned and the rhubarb is cooked through.

Leave to cool in the tin for an hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, before cutting into squares to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving. The squares can be store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4 days.  

I gave some of these to my neighbours and they were declared 'magnificent'. High praise indeed. 

See you all again next week. 

Bye for now, 




flour bakery famous banana bread

12 Oct 2020

Whilst looking for banana bread recipes I discovered this one by Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery. I made a loaf using the US cup measures and whilst it tasted quite nice, it contained too much flour and as it was made with oil, I found I missed the flavour of butter.

I decided to revisit the recipe but used the metric version and instead of a neutral flavoured oil, I used cooled melted butter.

Instead of using pecans in the cake mixture, I used them to top the cake. I couldn't help myself and suddenly the cake was topped with some extra banana slices and a sprinkling of raw sugar for a bit of crunch. I went to Dungog for the weekend and took the banana bread with me.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a medium loaf. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC.

Flour Bakery Famous Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (340g mashed bananas)

210g plain flour

1 tsp bicarb soda

¼ tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled or 120 mls neutral flavoured oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs yoghurt

1 extra banana halved lengthwise

2 tbs pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin.
Sift together the flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside. With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Switch to low speed and slowly drizzle in the cooled butter or oil, taking your time. Add the bananas, yoghurt and vanilla, and continue to mix on low speed just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible. 
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the banana halves, the chopped pecans then sprinkle over the raw sugar. Bake for 1 to 1 and 1/4 hours for a 9×5-inch loaf. The loaf should be golden brown on top and the cake will spring back when you press it.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

I had my slice topped with a little bit of butter and I can report that the cake is very moist and packed with flavour. 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 
Bye for now, 


apple ricotta cake

5 Oct 2020

Not everything I bake turns out. Last week I made an apple buckwheat ricotta cake. It tasted delicious but it failed to rise so I decided I couldn't post the recipe. Instead I went back to the drawing board. I knew I wanted the cake to contain both apples and ricotta so I went back to a recipe I'd used in the past and adapted it.

This cake is a butter cake with grated apple folded through. Inside there is a layer of lemon scented ricotta, an idea I pinched from Julia Busuttil Nishimura. The cake is topped with a layer of thinly sliced apples and a few flaked almonds.
Apart from the ricotta I already had everything I needed either in the pantry or the fruit bowl. Make sure you buy the best ricotta you can find from the deli counter.
The cake does take some time to cook but as it baked, it filled the house with the scent of lemon, almonds and baked apples.

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake, then double the ingredients. The cake should take the same length of time to bake.

Apple and ricotta cake 
125 g well drained full fat ricotta 
1 egg yolk  
20 g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ tsp lemon rind 
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbs lemon juice 
110g butter 
110g caster sugar 
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 eggs 
75g plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
Pinch salt 
50g (1/2 cup) almond meal 
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
2 tbs flaked almonds 
1 tbs caster sugar 
For the ricotta filling, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line a 17cm tin with baking paper. 
In a small bowl, mix the apple slices with the lemon juice and set to one side. 
Beat the butter, sugar and rind together until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat together. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a small bowl then add the almond meal. Stir to combine. Add to the butter mixture in two or three lots alternating with the grated apple. 
Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared pan and then spoon over the ricotta filling, spreading it almost to the edge. Gently top with the remaining cake batter before smoothing the surface. 
Top with reserved apple slices and flaked almonds and gently press into the cake batter. Scatter the sugar on top of the cake and bake for 1 to 1 and 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out moist but relatively clean. If the apple slices brown too quickly, then cover with a piece of foil whilst the cake finishes cooking through.
Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature. Store the cake in the fridge, covered, but bring to room temperature before serving.
I had a slice at home for my dessert and it was delicious. The ricotta layer added a special touch. 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 
Bye for now,
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