Daring Bakers Challenge June 2014: Cinnamon Buns

My second daring bakers challenge! A really fun one this week, I’ve been looking forward to making these for ages but haven’t really been brave enough. And oh my were they lovely. I used a pouring fondant for the icing, which I’ve made often. These were a huge success with the rest of the family, including the retriever puppy, who ate 3 rolls during the proving process while my back was turned for 5 minutes.

Anyway here they are!

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!


90g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated lemon zest
450 g unbleached bread (or all-purpose/plain) flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast (active dry worked as well)
1 1/8 – 1 ¼ cups (270-300 ml) whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
½ cup (120 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) cinnamon sugar (6½ tablespoons (100ml) (3 oz) (90 gm) granulated sugar plus 1½ tablespoons (20 ml) (1/3 oz) (10 gm) ground cinnamon)


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar, salt and shortening (though it is not difficult to do by hand, using a strong spoon).
Add the egg and lemon extract to the creamed sugar and shortening and mix together until smooth.
Add the flour, yeast and milk to the mixer and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form a ball.
At this point, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for 10 minutes (if kneading by hand, you will probably need to do so for closer to 12 – 15 minutes). The dough will be silky and supple, but not overly sticky. You may need to add a touch of flour if your dough is too sticky – that is okay.IMG_9844
Lightly oil a bowl, turn the kneaded dough out into it, turning to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rest (ferment) until it has doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.
Once the dough has rested and risen, you are ready to shape the cinnamon buns. Prepare your a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Spray your work surface lightly with cooking spray and turn the dough out onto the work surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough, into a rectangle about 2/3 an inch (15 mm) thick, 14 inches (350 mm)wide and 12 inches (300 mm) long (for large buns) (or 18 inches (450 mm) wide by 9 inches (230 mm) long for smaller ones). You may need to sprinkle the dough and/or work surface with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking. This is okay.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the surface of the dough.
Starting with a long end, roll the dough, creating a spiral, into a log shape, making sure to end with the seam side down.
Cut the dough into pieces approximately 1¾ inches (45 mm) thick (for large buns) (1¼ inch (30 mm) for smaller buns).

Place buns approximately ½ inch (15 mm) apart on the prepared pan. They shouldn’t be touching at this time.




Allow the shaped buns to proof at room temperature for 75 – 90 minutes until they have nearly doubled in size. They will now be touching each other. If you are not planning on baking the buns the same day as you are preparing them, you can place them into the refrigerator after they are shaped (before this rise) for up to 2 days. If you do so, you will need to allow them to return to room temperature prior to baking, which means removing them from the refrigerator about 3 or 4 hours before baking.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 degrees at the end of this proofing time.
Bake the buns for 20 – 30 minutes, until golden brown
Allow the buns to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then drizzle with glaze. Remove the buns from the pan to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes before eating.IMG_9852


Lemon Meringue Birthday Cake

 Ok so this post is a little old, but too pretty not to share. I decided to make a birthday cake for an amazing friend, who loves lemon. Lemon meringue is always a hit with her. After seeing this amazingly cute cake from Sweetapolita, I knew I had to do a version. Image

In general, I was pretty pleased. I used a smaller tin than the original recipe because I wanted a tall small cake. This is four layers tall, 2 lemon layers and 2 vanilla. I also tried an ombre effect, that could have used with a bit more definition. Image

The cake was filled with lemon curd, iced in lemon curd italian meringue buttercream,  Image

And topped with swirly meringues.Image

So cute! Also this was a learning experience for me. I finally completely understand buttercream (though this icing wasn’t brilliant as the revelation was a bit late), I have become a lemon curd convert, and I made super pretty meringues. I’ll share Sweetapolita’s lemon curd recipe, my buttercream and meringue recipes, but any basic vanilla or lemon cake can be used.

Lemon Curd

4 egg yolks

2 eggs

1 cup (200g) sugar

160ml lemon juice

60g butter

Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in the top pan of a double boiler.

Place over simmering water, stirring with a wooden spoon, adding the butter. 

Stir until thick and coating the spoon. 

Strain and store. Or just eat.


3 egg whites

150g sugar

30g water

Place sugar and water in a pot, bring to softball stage (114-117˚C). 

Start whisking the egg whites when the sugar reaches 100˚C until foaming

Gradually stream the sugar syrup into the egg whites, whisking on high until stiff and cool.

Paint 2 strips of colouring down the inside of a piping bag

Fill the bag with meringue, pipe as desired and bake at 100˚C for 1 hour. Dry out for 40minutes at 40˚C.


1 1/2 c sugar

1/2 c water

2 egg whites

340g butter

lemon curd to taste.

Simmer 1/2c of water and 1 1/2c sugar in a saucepan until 115˚C. Whisk egg whites until foaming, gradually add the sugar syrup. Continue to whisk until the bowl is cool. Add the butter to the meringue gradually. Then the lemon curd.

If your buttercream curdles its too cold, I warm the bowl with a blow torch because I’m inpatient. If it goes soupy it’s too warm. Refrigerate and then keep beating. I also like using a paddle attachment, not a whisk when adding the butter. 



Daring Baker’s May Challenge: Pão de Queijo

So I decided to take a stab at the daring baker’s challenges, partially to make sure I post at least once a month and mostly because it would force me out of my comfort zone and to learn new things. So far, I have learnt that even though I was meant to post this on May 27th, I seem to be largely incapable of adhering to deadlines. However, this delay was due to the impending deadline of my final folio for this semester, and the tragic and sudden passing of my Macbook. So I spent a fair bit of time depressed over the loss of my hard drive, until it was returned to me. So I have all my photos back and everything else, which is the silver lining to the fact that I am still computerless. Anyway, on with this challenge! It was interesting, fun and delicious. Also a wonderful gluten free recipe.

This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of “Testado, Provado & Aprovado!” taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!

Yields about 20 small balls


250 gm (2 cups) tapioca starch
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
20g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste depending on how salty your cheese is)
1 1/2 cups 125g Monterey Jack Cheese (or another cheese of your liking, or a mix of cheeses), coarsely grated*IMG_9769
1 large egg

*I used gouda, parmesan and cheddar


  • Heat milk, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as it may boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Sift tapioca starch into a large bowl.
  • Pour the boiled (hot) mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork. The milk mixture will not be enough to form a dough yet. You will have a lumpy mixture, that’s what it is supposed to be
  • Keep stirring with the fork, breaking down the lumps as much as you can, until the mixture cools down to warm.
  • At this point, preheat your oven to moderately hot 400° F/200° C/gs mark 6
  • Add the grated cheese to the tapioca mixture and mix well, now using your hands.
  • Add one egg at a time, mix with your hands until dough comes together. I suggest you lightly beat the egg with a fork and add little bits until the dough comes together into a soft but pliable dough. You only have to knead it a bit, not as much as you knead a yeasted bread. It’s OK if it is slightly sticky.
  • Form balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat or lightly greased with vegetable oil. If necessary, you can oil your hands to make shaping easier. The size of the balls may vary from small bite-sized balls to the size of ping pong balls. They will puff up quite a bit after baking.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until they just start to brown on the bottom. You may have golden spots of cheese on the crust. Don’t over-bake as they will get hard and bitter.