Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

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Wednesday this week was a truly dreary, dark and very cold day. All types of weather threw themselves at the ground; hail, snow, rain, sleet and it was windy too. Especially as it is March, I want to see evidence of Spring. Most of all flowers and lambs. Finally, I an attempt to cheer us all up I made these very pretty and extremely delicious Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Does the image of pink, raspberry buttercream topped cupcakes, adorned with large daisy flowers and butterflies cheer you up?

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

While the weather was so chilly and dreary, I was also feeling a little blue too, having just received news that a very close friend is extremely poorly. And so baking these cupcakes was therapeutic on both counts.

Do you find baking relaxing?

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

    Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Using Naturally Flavoured Icing Sugar

Although these are called Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes, which is true, the cake part is flavoured with Nielsen – Massey Vanilla Extract, for the buttercream I have used a favourite flavoured icing sugar.

Sugar and Crumbs sell an amazing range of naturally flavoured icing sugars. While making my Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes I used their Raspberry Ripple flavoured icing sugar. Since the day that last cupcake was eaten, in Kylie’s own words “I just can’t get you outta my head” I have wanted more. Especially more of the delicious tasting buttercream and more cupcake to swirl it onto!!

And so these Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes were the perfect excuse to indulge my passion again.

Importantly, this time I wanted to leave the option of using flavoured buttercream as a choice. Also, if you do buy some flavoured icing sugar, you can choose to make the buttercream any flavour you want. Especially, as the vanilla sponge goes well with any flavoured frosting. Alternatively, if you want to stick with vanilla buttercream that tastes awesome as well.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Personally I think the pink icing, along with the decorations, really set these cupcakes apart. Although ‘Springtime’ was at the forefront of my mind whilst creating these beauties, with Mother’s Day being this coming Sunday, they would also make a perfect gift for any Mum.

Recipe: Makes 18 Large Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

For the Cake:

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter at room temp.

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – or you can substitute for Vanilla Extract

3 Large Free Range Eggs

3tbsp Milk – whole or semi skimmed

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

1.5tsp Baking Powder

1/8th tsp/pinch of Salt – I use Maldon

For the Buttercream:

350g12oz Icing Sugar – I used 250g Sugar and Crumbs Raspberry Ripple flavour and 100g/4oz Plain Icing Sugar. (Confectioners Sugar)

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter

Pink Food Colour – I used Wilton pink food colouring gel (available from cake decorating shops, Amazon and similar from Lakeland UK)

2tbsp Very Hot Water

Dr Oetker rice paper daisies, various sprinkles (available from most supermarkets)

Rice paper butterflies – from Amazon

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan oven, gas mark 3, 325F

Making The Vanilla Cupcake Batter

  • First of all, line 2 cupcake tins with 18 muffin or deep cupcake cases – the ones I used were a Christmas present from Lakeland.
  • Into a large bowl add your butter and sugar.
  • Whisk or beat until pale and creamy – approx 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 eggs, milk and Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • Sift into the bowl the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Note: This is called the all-in-one method.
  • Whisk or beat until all of the ingredients are combined – take care not to over mix and this will make the cupcakes tough, not light and springy.
  • Place a heaped dessert spoonful of cake batter into each cupcake case.
NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Baking The Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Place the cupcakes into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes,
  • The cupcakes are baked when they have risen and are a golden colour. They should spring back when pressed lightly on the top.
  • As soon as the cupcakes are baked remove from the oven.

NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Allow to cool completely before icing.

Making The Pink Buttercream

  • Place the softened butter into a large bowl.
  • Sift the icing sugar into the same bowl.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of hot water.
  • Add the food colouring, I use a cocktail stick and simply insert the tip into the food colouring gel and then add to the bowl.
  • Start slowly, whisking the buttercream ingredients until light, creamy and uniform in colour.

NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Fit a piping bag with a large star tip.

Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Piping Swirls Of Buttercream On To The Cupcakes

  • Place the icing bag into a tall sturdy container, I use a jug.
  • Use a spoon or spatula, fill the icing bag with all of the buttercream.
  • Practise on a plate, if piping for the first time.
  • Squeeze the bag so that all the buttercream is together.
  • Keep an even pressure with one hand squeezing the bag and using the other hand to guide the piping tip, pipe swirls onto the cupcakes.
NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Finally add the decorations.
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes 

Gifting Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

I bought some cupcake pods, little plastic containers, perfect for holding one cupcake in and a great way to give individual cupcakes away as a gift. Since they were from Amazon and work out to about 10 pence per pod. Also they can be washed up and used again, which is great recycling and means you can share even more cupcakes with others!

Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes 

Since piping the swirls onto the cupcakes gives them a beautiful, professional finish. means use whatever cupcake toppers and sprinkles that you have to hand. The beauty of these Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes is that they are individual to your own sense of taste and style.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

If you like the Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes you will love these recipes:

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes so pretty.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes the perfect way to say I Love You.

Strawberry Sweatheart Cake

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake swirled with roses and sprinkled with love

Enjoy baking and experimenting with piping different swirls!

Sammie xx

No part of the post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

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Is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy a hot, toasted and buttered Hot Cross Bun, in the run up to Easter? While my previous post shows you how to make the regular version I wanted to make a wholemeal version. Because some people, for various reasons, can only eat 100% wholemeal bread. Since they shouldn’t have to miss out on all the Easter food fun I developed this recipe for 100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns perfect just as they are!

Almost everyone can enjoy these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns, eaten as they are or split and toasted with a light spread of butter. While, the added beauty of these buns is the spicy, cinnamon aroma, filling the house as they bake and then again when they are toasted. Also these buns are packed full of fibre. So, they are tasty and good for you!

FF Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

While I toasted a hot cross bun, there was a knock on the front door. Our postman had a parcel to deliver and as I stood there signing for the parcel, he revealed the smell of a toasted bun was making him hungry!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns a healthy breakfast or snack.

Most importantly, making Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns is as straightforward and easy as for the regular ones. While switching the flour from strong white bread flour, to 100% wholemeal flour, not bread flour, I also upped the yeast content and with a few more tweaks, these gorgeous buns were made.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun
The cross on this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun is there as a reminder.

Why The Cross On Top Of The Bun?

The cross on top of the bun, is there to symbolise and remind us of The Cross on which Jesus died. Two days later His tomb was empty, He had risen from the dead, surprising many people, including some of His own disciples. So, the small symbol of a cross on a bun, reminds us that Jesus came for a reason. To love the unloved, to heal the sick, to befriend those that society cast out. And remember, within His followers, one was a tax collector and the other a prostitute!

So, amidst all the chocolate and bunnies, lovely though they are, take a moment to remember you are loved.

In the bible the book of John chapter 3 verse 16 says:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that who so ever believes in Him shall not be lost (perish), but have everlasting life.”

One small verse packs quite a powerful punch. You and I are the who so ever. Whether you believe or not, know that you are loved. Regardless of your circumstances and the life you have lived, you are loved more than you could ever imagine.

If you would like to know more, please read Important Stuff.

Now, time to show your body some love by making these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Recipe: Makes 12 Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

For the bun dough

500g/1lb 2oz Wholemeal Flour (not bread flour) – I use Duchy Organic from Waitrose

160ml/scant 6fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey – I use runny honey

14g/ 2 Sachets Fast Acting Dried Yeast – I use Allinsons

10g/ approx 1.5tsp Salt – I use Maldon 

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temp. – plus extra for greasing the baking tray.

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Wholemeal flour

60ml/2.5fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer. Alternatively you can make these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns by hand.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

Making The Wholemeal Bun Dough

  • First of all, add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

As soon as the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky, don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours. As soon as the dough has doubled in size it can be tipped out and shaped.

Shaping The Buns

  • Grease a large baking tray  (40cm x 28cm x 2.5 cm) with butter.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and weigh. Divide the weight by 12 and this will give you the weight of dough needed for each individual bun.
  • Alternatively, cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even portions.
Form the dough into a ball.
  • Cut the dough in half using a large knife or metal dough scraper.

 

Dividing the dough into 12 portions.
  • Roll each portion into a ball. Tucking the seam at the bottom.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Place each dough ball on the baking tray, spacing evenly apart.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving make the paste for the crosses. Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl and then spoon into a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • As soon as the buns have doubled in size, snip the end off of the piping bag (corner of a sandwich bag) to leave a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan gas mark 7, 425F.
  • Pipe crosses on to the buns.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
 

Baking The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns are baked when they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Once baked remove the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Place the apricot jam into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt.
  • Brush the warm buns with apricot jam using a pastry brush.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns ready to be shared with loved ones!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns packaged into a tin, ready to be given away.

Split in half, toast and spread with butter or eat as they are.

Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month.

If you have the capacity, why not bake a double batch of these delicious Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns and give some away?

If you enjoyed this recipefor Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns you may also like these: then you may want to take a look at these:

Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Easter is a time when our family comes together and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour. And sitting together, around the table, giving thanks before a meal is important. Giving thanks for the food we share and the provisions we have however is not only for Easter. Rather, it is an important daily practise in our lives. So is sharing the love that Jesus shows us. Whether it be through words, or more practically. And that is why I am so passionate about sharing food outside of our normal circle on this blog.

So whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Hot Cross Buns

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It is that time of year when the spicy scent of Hot Cross Buns hits you as you enter the supermarket. Somehow though, I’m always a bit disappointed with the slightly squished, supermarket Hot Cross Buns. Yes they may be convenient, but, I’m here to persuade you to try the homemade version.

FF Hot Cross Buns

The Benefits Of Making Hot Cross Buns At Home

The beauty of making and baking your own Hot Cross Buns is that you can add exactly what you like to them. Oh and leave out all the additives that you don’t need.

Our eldest daughter and myself are both allergic to orange, in any form. It brings on really nasty migraines (see here if you’d like to know more). So although orange is a traditional addition to these buns, by making them at home I can leave it out.

Hot Cross Buns

Not Just For Easter?

Speaking of our daughter, for one entire year, when she was a toddler, a Hot Cross Bun would be what she ate for breakfast. In fact she suffered very badly with tonsillitis and had to undergo a tonsillectomy when she was two and a half. We already had another little ‘un and I’d just found out I was pregnant with our son. Times were busy!

Anyway, her operation was during her Hot Cross Bun phase. So I buttered one, wrapped it up and took it to the hospital. I honestly didn’t think she would eat anything after undergoing her procedure, but sure enough, chicken nuggets and chips for tea. Then, the very next morning she devoured her Hot Cross Bun!

She is 16 now and has just shared a bun with me. It got 10 out of 10 which, from a life-long lover of Hot Cross Buns, was all I needed to hear.

Sharing This Recipe

I really do enjoy making food that my family and friends love. It was one of the reasons that I started feastingisfun, so I could share my own recipes with others.

Traditional Easter bread bake, small rolls filled with plump vine fruits, spice and baked with a piped cross on top to represent how Jesus died.
Hot Cross Buns

Now I never actually believed anyone, other than family, would read this blog. But it seems you do and you enjoy it. Not only that but it has helped people, in a number of ways. Last Sunday I know of two people who specifically made recipes from this blog – and they turned out well. That puts a huge smile on my face.

Also others have been able to connect with me, as I understand, due to my own health issues (see Living With Seizures) and have found comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Sharing recipes, fun, love, encouragement and always a hug when ever needed.

The inspiration for this Hot Cross Bun recipe comes from both my daughter and the great baker Mr Paul Hollywood. I did actually start by looking at his recipe. However, me being me, I wanted to add some bits, change others, adapt the recipe for a bread maker/stand mixer. So in fact the recipe and method are mine, but thank you Paul for getting me off the starting blocks.

Recipe: Makes 12 Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast – I use allinson dried fast action yeast in the green tin or sachets

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Plain flour

50ml/2fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making The Spiced Fruit Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Buns

Grease a large baking tray with butter.

  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Hot Cross Buns
Shape the dough into a ball and using a dough scraper or large knife, cut the dough in half.
  • Roll each half into an even log shape.
Hot Cross Buns
Cut each half into 6 equal pieces.
  • Using your hands form each portion into a ball with the seam underneath.
  • Place the dough balls onto the greased baking tray, evenly spaced apart.
Hot Cross Buns
Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving, mix 50g of white flour with 50ml of water.
  • Spoon into a small piping bag, or a small plastic sandwich bag.
Hot Cross Buns
When you are ready snip the end/corner off to give a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the Hot Cross Buns are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
  • As soon as the buns have doubled in sized snip the end of the piping bag and pipe crosses on them.
Hot Cross Buns
When the buns are double in size pipe the crosses on.

Baking The Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle.
Hot Cross Buns
The smell that fills the air whilst these Hot Cross Buns are baking is wonderful.
  • Immediately transfer the Hot Cross Buns onto a cooling rack.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoon of apricot jam, in a microwave proof bowl, on medium stating, in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Brush the hot jam over the buns whilst they are still warm.
  • Leave to cool completely.
Hot Cross Buns

These are absolutely THE best Hot Cross Buns I have ever tasted, let alone smelt whilst they were cooking.

Although there are a few steps, most of the hard work is done for you by kitchen machinery. I for one, would not be able to bake the quantity of bread and other items, if it weren’t for a little help in the kitchen.

Hot Cross Buns

We ate one of these Hot Cross Buns split and buttered, not even toasted and they tasted AH-MAZE-ZING. Please try, just this once, to make your own Hot Cross Buns.I am available via the comments section of this site or alternatively over on Twitter @sammiefeasting. It is true, I have been known, whilst on holiday in Devon, with a really dodgy signal, to give advice to someone baking these Crusty Baguettes so please don’t worry, ask.

Who will you share your homemade Hot Cross Buns with

If you have enjoyed this recipe you may also like these:

Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Sammie xx

Traditional Easter bread rolls baked with vine fruits and piped crosses on top.

 

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