If you've visited us before you'll have seen our Focaccia crown recipe. The idea of the little 'tear-and-share' rolls got me thinking about whether a sweet version would work. Sort of a big iced bun! As the festive season was also creeping inextricably towards us, I thought, 'Why not make a big iced, Christmas-spice infused bun?'
And here it is ...
For the dough
Handful of flaked almonds to decorate
250g strong white flour
25g caster sugar
20g soft butter
7g dried yeast (Instant or Easy Bake)
75ml warm milk (infused with a couple of cloves and lightly crushed cardamon pods)
zest of an orange
half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
For the icing
100g icing sugar
squeeze of juice from the orange you zested
Grease a 20cm shallow cake tin with butter.
Mix all the dough ingredients together in a bowl, I sort of squeeze it together! Be careful with the milk, it needs to be warm, not hot, or it will kill the yeast (oh and make sure you throw away the whole spices you used to infuse in the milk!). Once you've bought it all together knead on a floured board for 10 minutes. As this is an enriched dough it's sticky, so the smug people with dough hooks will come into their own here. The rest of us, if you keep going it will eventually stop being sooo sticky!
When the dough is nice and elastic, pop it in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave for one hour.
After the hour it should be nicely risen. Knock it back and divide into 12 pieces. Try and get them roughly the same size, but don't go to the effort of weighing them. Roll each piece into a ball until you have 12 balls of dough.
Place the dough balls into the cake tin, fairly regularly spaced out.
See mine really aren't even sizes to say the least! Once you've got them in, squash them down a little with the palm of your hand, so they just start to touch each other. Cover with a cloth and leave for 40-60 minutes until they are well risen. Before you say bye bye to them though, pop the oven on to 160 degrees to get it warmed up.
Once the dough balls have risen pop them in the oven for around 7 minutes. They cook very quickly and it's wise to keep an eye on them. They'll probably need another 4 or 5 minutes after this, but you'll be able to see how cooked they are and if any side is colouring more than the other.
Once you are happy they are cooked, take them out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before you try to get them out of the tin. Then leave to completely cool.
Mix the icing sugar with some of the juice of the orange until you have a drizzling consistency and 'drizzle' over the cake. Frankly all my icing is of a drizzle style. That's the way I roll! Sprinkle with the almonds.
You'll want/need to eat this cake fairly soon after you have made it, it dries out very quickly.
The pics above are actually for the first version I tested with a cinnamon and vanilla icing. This was nice but the consensus was that the orange icing worked better on version two. However, I didn't get around to photographing that one!