I love cinnamon. My colleagues will vouch for my penchant for perhaps over-spicing my morning porridge with the stuff. Flapjacks, bakes, stewed autumnal fruits… whatever the recipe, I’ll sneak a pinch or two into it. So when I caught whiff of Cinnamon Bun Day (or kanelbullens dag if you want to show off) – the Swedish celebration of, well, the cinnamon bun – I simply had to get involved…
THE POTTED HISTORY
It turns out the sweet celebration is relatively modern – the first Cinnamon Bun Day was 4 October 1999. It was the brainchild of a group of staff at Sweden’s Home Baking Council, who thought uniting the nation in baking this much-loved treat would be a fitting way to mark both the council’s 40th anniversary and the beginning of the high baking season.
RISE AND SPICE
I’d never made cinnamon buns before – I’m a better cake maker than I am a bread maker – but this bun cake recipe by Miisa Mink, author of the Nordic Bakery Cookbook (Ryland Peters & Small), seemed a happy compromise. The result? Scrumptious. Okay, it was a tad under-baked in the middle, but while Paul Hollywood may criticise, in my house cake is cake and we enjoy it, soggy bottom and all…
A FESTIVE CINNAMON BUN CAKE FOR SHARING
SERVES 8-9. HANDS-ON TIME 45 MIN, PLUS 1 HOUR 15 MIN PROVING, OVEN TIME 25 MIN
FOR THE DOUGH
285ml lukewarm milk
75g caster sugar
22g fresh yeast (or 7g easy blend dried yeast used according to the pack instructions)
½ tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
90g unsalted butter, melted
½ free-range egg, plus 1 extra egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Caster sugar for sprinkling
FOR THE FILLING
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g dark brown soft sugar
1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
1 To make the dough, put the milk, sugar, yeast, cardamom, melted butter and ½ egg in a food processor or stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. With the motor running, gradually add the flour until everything is incorporated into a dough.
2 Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, grease a 20cm diameter cake tin.
3 Punch down the dough, then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 30cm x 40cm rectangle that’s 1cm thick.
4 Now add the filling: spread the 50g butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle over the dark brown sugar and the cinnamon. Starting at one of the long edges, roll up the dough into a sausage shape. Cut it into roughly 4cm pieces, then arrange them, cut side down in the prepared cake tin – they should fit in quite snugly. Cover the tin with the tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C/fan180C/gas 6.
5 Brush the tops of the proved buns with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with caster sugar (and flaked almonds if you like – I didn’t have any). Bake for 25 minutes or until risen and golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (or eat while still warm if you really can’t wait…).