Monthly Mystery Munchies #29: Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese and Buttermilk Glaze

Whoop whoop! Back in the land of the living! (Although I am often zombie-esque, so I’m not really sure how accurate that statement is, but it’s all relative.) To make a long story short, I had an accident which resulted in a few surgeries and bed-rest for six weeks. After two months, I rejoined society. This annoying and frustrating situation threw a spanner in the works of, well, everything. However, I was totally ready to go ahead with Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme: Cinnamon. Anything with cinnamon. Now, you might say “oh, that’s so easy”, but it was actually quite tricky. The very first idea that popped into my mind was cinnabuns. I mean, yassss.

Google was my trusty friend, but I was daunted by the recipes I found online, until I found Once Upon A Chef’s cinnamon bun recipe. “Let’s just try it and see what happens”, I thought. And so I made it, and it was amazing AF. Jenn Segal, food guru from Once Upon A chef, tried a few recipes before perfecting this one. And perfect it is! I’ve adjusted the frosting by increasing the portions and adding vanilla, which I am permanently ‘sessing over. I am also obsessed with cinnamon. I’ve had a love affair with it for years. I put it in everything. Like, everything. It goes into my smoothies, I sprinkle it over my All Bran and bananas every morning, I put it in curries and chilli dishes… Any opportunity and I’m down.

Baking is something I haven’t done for quite some time. The price of butter has skyrocked in South Africa. FML. No, seriously, it saddens me. Baking is something that’s an instant mood enhancer, and I’m not just talking about the finished product. In fact, I think I enjoy the actual process and preparation more than the reward that comes out of the oven! Okay, maybe not more, but definitely on par.

Cinnabuns. Cinnamon buns. Cinfully delicious. Crisp, not too sweet, and the icing melts, literally melts, in your mouth. It’s like little fairies moonwalking over your tongue. I am so amped to see Ann’s creation. She always pushes the boat out. She’s a serious foodie and her recipes are beyond impressive, inventive, imaginative and delicious. Please visit her site for the most amazing food, adventures, humour and more.

It’s important to note that these portions have to be measured precisely.

Cinnamon buns

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Supplies:

For the buns:
7 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon + ½teaspoon salt
3 cups spooned flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ cups buttermilk

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temp
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1¼ cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making it Happen:

In a 9-inch cake tin, place a piece of tin foil at the bottom, covering the sides too. Preheat your oven to 220°C (440°F).

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon salt salt in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand.

In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining dry ingredients together. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter and buttermilk and stir using a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed, 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Sprinkle flour over a work surface, transfer the dough and knead until it’s smooth, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Sprinkle more flour on your surface, lightly dusting it. Form a rectangle with the dough, then roll it into a 9 inch x 12 inch rectangle with your rolling pin. Dust the rolling pin lightly with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Brush the dough with a tablespoon of butter and evenly spoon the brown sugar mixture over it, pressing it down firmly with your hands. Roll the dough into a tight log, pinching to seal it. (You might need to use a tiny bit of water to help seal the seam.)

Turn the log over so that the seam is at the bottom and slice into 9 pieces. Place the buns in the cake tin, flat side down, and brush with the remaining butter. Bake for 23 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Using the foil overhang, transfer the buns to a wire rack. Allow to rest for five minutes, then separate the buns (you might need to use a knife.)

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix the buttermilk, cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar, and drizzle over the buns.

Serve warm, or refrigerate and reheat later. (15 – 20 seconds in your microwave.)  

 

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Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

Upside down cake 10It’s time to go retro! It’s nearly Spring in the Southern Hemisphere which naturally calls for a fruity cake. I use my basic vanilla cake recipe for this upside down cake and I always use buttermilk as it ensures the cake is moist and fluffy.

Let me give you a rundown of my most recent attempt. Off I go to the supermarket, taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the warmer weather. I get there and start cruising the aisles for ingredients. For some reason I’m in a bit of a daze so I’m standing at the tinned food section, see a large tin of pineapples and grab it without reading the label properly. Perfect. Right next to the pineapples is tinned cherries. Again, I grab a tin and carry on with my shopping. I get home, filled with excitement (it doesn’t take much, baking does that to me), and open the tins. Crap. I’ve bought chunks of pineapples instead of rings. Oh bother. Not to worry, we’ll carry on as usual. I open the cherries and I’m like, these aren’t glacé cherries. Really? Double crap, double bother. Now, I’m so excited to bake this cake so I soldier ahead, cut the cherries in half, remove the pips and make the batter. The reason I’m telling you this is because traditionally, pineapple rings are used, be they tinned or fresh, as are glacé cherries. But no, I had to complicate things. You can use pineapple chunks, they work beautifully, as do regular tinned red cherries, just remove the pips. However, you can substitute the chunks with rings and red cherries with glacé (I recommend this to avoid the schlep).

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Upside Down Cake 1Supplies:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pineapple rings or chunks
  • Glacé cherries

 

  • For the cake:
  • ¼ cup pecans, crushed in your hand
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Upside Down Cake 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Once it’s melted, add ½ cup of brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it starts bubbling. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a 25cm (10″) cake tin.

Upside down cake 112. Layer the pineapple pieces and cherries in the melted butter syrup and sprinkle the hand-crushed pecans over them (give them a decent hearty squeeze to crush them).

 

 

Upside Down Cake 53. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir/whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly mixed.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 64. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 180 for 40 minutes, until a toothpick instered in the middle comes our clear. If the toothpick is still wet, back for another 5 minutes until the toothpick passes the test.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 9 15. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Hold a plate or cakestand upside down over the cake tin, pressing down firmly. Flip over, tap the cake tin gently and slowly remove. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have a very good sweet tooth. Very. It’s good at demanding cake, cupcakes, tarts – anything sugary. The problem is that it’s just The Husband and I so when I bake, we end up eating ourselves into near-diabetic comas. I will look for any excuse or reason to bake. Oh look, it’s sunny, I should bake. The Stormers won the rugby, let’s bake! (I don’t follow rugby at all and have no idea who our captain is but it’s as good an excuse as any.) Do you see where I’m going with this? So when, last week, my step-mom was planning The Father’s 60th birthday, I jumped at the opportunity to provide the cake. I have a bit of a love affair going on with red velvet – I love it and, in turn, it loves my hips. No lies. Now, at the risk of sounding rather obnoxious, these red velvet cupcakes are the superlative choice for special occasions. They have a mild chocolatey flavour and the buttermilk provides a creamy taste and keeps them perfectly moist.

If you’re wondering why vinegar is used – it’s actually quite a common practice in baking. Vinegar, when used with baking soda, acts as a raising agent. Don’t worry about the cupcakes tasting weird, there are so many other flavours so you can’t taste it at all.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

Red velvet cupcakes ingredients120g/½ cup butter
1½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
250ml/1 cup buttermilk
2½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Red velvet cupcakes 1 1Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high for about 2 minutes until it’s well blended and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each addition, until fully blended.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 2 1In a large bowl, sift the cocoa and pour in the food colouring, mixing with a spoon until smooth. Add into the batter, scraping down the sides with a spatula and beat on low for 10-20 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Stop beating and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, loosening the batter at the bottom.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 3 1In a separate bowl, sift the flour and sprinkle half of it into the mixture, beating on low. Pour in half of the buttermilk, mix, sprinkle the remaining flour, beat, and finally add the remaining buttermilk, beating until fully mixed.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 4 1Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar and stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixed. Beat on high for 30 seconds – 1 minute until fully mixed.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 5 1Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them ⅔. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clear.

 

 

 

 

For the frosting:

Red velvet cupcakes 7200g butter, room temperature
230ml plain cream cheese, also room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 10Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and give the frosting one last beat. Decorate as desired. I used a large piping nozzle (thicker than my thumb) in a large plastic piping bag to make thick swirls, then sprinkled some edible glitter and hearts, but you can decorate the cupcakes however you like!

 

Red velvet cupcakes 8 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 9

 

Banana Muffins

I don’t believe in wasting, so when I ended up with two overripe bananas and half a bottle of buttermilk, I decided to make muffins. Because I don’t like wasting. Possibly also because I can’t resist them! This recipe is easy and so versatile. You can add cinnamon, pecans or walnuts and adjust it to your liking.

Prep time: <10 minutes     Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes     Yields: 12 medium muffins

Banana muffins 1 (2)2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
100g softened butter
1½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ baking soda

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Banana muffins 2 (2)I never sieve sugar unless it’s lumpy so pour the sugar into a mixing bowl and add the softened butter. Beat, using an electric mixer on low, for 20 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully mixed into the rest of the batter. Add the mashed bananas beat until thoroughly combined. Remember to occasionally scrape down the sides throughout the preparation.

 

 

 

Banana muffins 3 (2)Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl, add the vanilla and mix well. If you’re adding cinnamon, sprinkle it in now.

 

 

 

 

 

Banana muffins 6 (2)Pour in the buttermilk and mix on low until fully combined and smooth. If you’re adding nuts, now is the time to do so and remember to scrape down the sides.

 

 

 

 

 

Banana muffins 8 (3)Pour the batter into greased muffin cups and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clear. You can freeze the muffins, serve them at room temperature or heat them up in the microwave for about 10 seconds, cut them in half lengthways and spread some butter over them. Oooooh!