Category Archives: Baking

Baking: Hot Cross Buns

This afternoon I decided to take a leap into my baking unknown and attempt the lofty challenge of making some fruity, spicy hot cross buns.

Given my lack of experience in breadmaking I naturally turned to New Zealand’s original queen of baking, Alison Holst, for a recipe. A quick Google search proved successful, I made shopping list and after a short trip to the supermarket, immediately got to work on these gorgeously plump Easter buns.

Genuinely shocked at the rather positive outcome – a few eager and compleletly impartial taste testers (Mum, Aunties, cousin, brother all made the right noises – I encourage anyone interested in giving them a go to do so… Immediately!

I think I’ll make another batch and add more cinnamon and mixed spice, but other than those wee changes I think the recipe works a dream.


My delicious hot cross buns.

Alison Holst’s Hot Cross Bun Recipe (via

2 tablespoons active dry yeast, e.g. Surebake active yeast mixture
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk, cold
1 cup boiling water
50 g butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup mixed fruit
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 -4 cups flour

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil
water, to taste

2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar


  1. Measure the yeast mixture, flour, brown sugar and salt into a large bowl. Stir to mix and then add the cold milk followed by the boiling water. Stir thoroughly to mix.
  2. Leave to stand for 3 minutes. Melt the butter and assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once the 3 minutes is up, stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the flour.
  4. Now add as much flour as need to make a dough just firm enough to turn out on a board and knead. [The original recipe suggests 3 cups. I needed 4.].
  5. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and satiny and it springs back when you press it with a finger.
  6. Oil a large bowl and turn the dough ball in this until it is all coated. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and leave to stand until it doubles it original bulk.
  7. Turn out on a floured board, knead lightly and cut into 30 evenly sized pieces.
  8. Form each piece into a ball and arrange the buns in rows in a dish or pan with at least 1 cm between them. A roasting dish works well and takes about 15 buns.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F and when ready turn the heat down to 200°C/400°F.
  10. Put crosses on the buns.Make a paste of the flour and oil and then add enough water to make a dough that can be forced out of an icing bag. Pipe the crosses on the buns.
  11. Put the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until they brown slightly and feel firm. Remove from oven and glaze with a hot syrup made by heating sugar and water.
  12. Cool buns on a rack. Store in airtight containers when cold.
  13. If you want to make a smaller quantity, halve the ingredients except for the egg. You may need more flour.

Note: Makes 30. Serve warm with butter and homemade jam (if your lucky enough!), we had some beautiful apricot jam to crack open and it was divine!

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Baking: Gingerbread Loaf

Having woken this morning with an intense craving for banana bread, I took to the kitchen (post run) to get my bake on. While I didn’t opt for banana bread – due to a lack of over ripe bananas in the house – I decided to take on a much loved and fail safe gingerbread loaf recipe.

Taken from the Chelsea Sugar website, this recipe yields a light, spicy and incredibly delicious loaf that will not last long in any household. I doubled the mixed spice and ginger for a slightly warmer end result, but it’s just as tasty either way.

Gingerbread Loaf Recipe


50g butter
1 Tbsp Golden Syrup
1 egg
1/2 cup Soft Brown Sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger spice
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk


In a large microwave-proof bowl or saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup together.

Add egg and sugar, mix well, then add all other dry ingredients except the soda.

Mix the soda with the milk and stir in. Pour into a baking paper-lined loaf tin and cook at 190°C for 30 – 40 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and slice when cool (if you can wait!).

Serve with lashings of butter and a good old fashioned cup of tea and you’ve got morning tea sorted.

Gingerbread Loaf

My gingerbread loaf!

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