Monday, 15 April 2013

Easter baking

Sarah was really good all Lent and didn't eat any chocolate, so we needed a chocolate-free Easter treat for Saturday and a chocolately reward for Sunday.  So here are the results ...

Christus Victor Cake
I love simnel cake but nobody else I know seems to.  So here's a compromise between simnel cake's lovely marzipan top and a traditional Victoria sponge.  Watch you don't overdo the raspberry jam.  A Victoria sponge isn't the most macho of things to make, so I decided to butch it up and call it a Christus Victor cake ... but then I added some marzipan flowers.

I'm not going to claim credit for the basic recipe, it's Mary Berry's which you can find at  However, I prefer to cream the sugar and butter, and then add the eggs, and then the dry ingredients, for a nice smooth mixture.  Sandwich together with whipped cream and raspberry jam.

On top, spread a little warmed apricot jam, and place a circle rolled out marzipan - as thick as you like!

Chocolately Hot Cross Buns
We made these gluten free, using Dove's Farm gf self-raising flour and adding a teaspoonful of xanthan gum for good measure.  They are not as hard to make as you might think.  I'd need to experiment with some vitamin C powder to try and improve the structure, as the gf version came out a bit dense.

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
3½ cups plain flour (if gluen-free, add 1 tsp xantham gum)
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp mized spice
1/4 cup caster sugar
350ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sultanas
¾ cup good quality chocolate chips
½ cup currants

Crosses and glaze:
½ cup plain flour, extra
1/3-½ cup water, extra
apricot jam, strained and warmed

  1. Combine the sifted flour, cocoa and mixed spice with the yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Add warm milk and eggs to flour mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Add fruit and chocolate. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form soft dough.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Punch down dough to its original size. Knead until smooth then divide into 12, shape each portion into a ball, then place onto a greased tray about 1 cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until buns double in size.
  4. For the crosses: Mix extra flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small resealable bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake in a moderately hot oven 190°C for 20-25 minutes or until cooked when tested. Glaze with strained apricot jam.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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