Chef Leylie Hayes kindly shares some of Avoca’s tastiest baking recipes

It seems like the nation has been swept up in a desire for baking – we can’t count how many banana bread recipes we’ve seen online this past week – and it’s great to see. Baking is a wonderful way to pass the time, get little helpers into the kitchen and take our minds off the news. And at the end we have a freshly made loaf of bread or something sweet to enjoy with a cup of tea.

Avoca knows a thing or two about good baking – it’s a go-to for tasty cakes and hearty loaves. So we asked its Executive Chef, Leylie Hayes, to share some of Avoca’s most-loved baking recipes. Try your hand at delicious hot cross buns, indulgent banoffee cheesecake or Avoca’s famous multiseed bread.

AVOCA’s Hot Cross Buns

Makes 10-12 buns

Ingredients:    

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 20g fresh or 7g dried yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 30g melted cooled butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 125g sultanas
  • 275ml luke warm water or milk
  • 1 egg optional

Pipable dough for cross: Make a stiff but pipable paste by mixing plain flour with a couple of tablespoons of cold water until smooth.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 fan assisted
  2. Start by dissolving the yeast in either 250ml of lukewarm water or milk along with the melted cooled butter.
  3. Place the flour, spices, salt and sugar into the bowl of a food mixer with the dough hook, mix on a low speed for a minute to incorporate ingredients. Then slowly add the yeast liquid, and egg if using (this will give you a slightly richer dough) until the mix comes together. Then add your fruit and mix on a low speed for 5 – 8 minutes or until dough is springy to touch, (it should hold a thumb indentation for a minute or two).
  4. If your mixture is sticky simply add a little extra flour. Once your dough is ready, remove to a floured surface and divide into 10/12 equal size balls approx 100g in weight each. Roll each ball into a circle then place onto a parchment lined baking tray, allowing enough room for each bun to double in size.
  5. Make a cross on top of each bun with your thick flour and water paste, you can pipe it on or use a teaspoon to drizzle it across. Allow the buns to rise in a cosy place this will take between 25 – 45 minutes depending on your kitchen’s temperature. Once they have risen place in the hot preheated oven for 18 – 22 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  6. Remove the buns from oven and whilst still hot brush with a little honey or golden syrup.
AVOCA’s Frozen Banoffee Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams dark chocolate 70%
  • 300 grams oaty biscuits (digestives)
  • 8 bananas, very ripe 
  • 500 grams cream cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 225 grams dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce (reserve 50 grams for drizzling after frozen)

Method:

  1. Grease & line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Melt 50 grams of chocolate & mix with biscuits. Pulse in a food processor until well combined & crumbs are fine. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil & pulse again. 
  3. Tip crumb mix into cake pan & press firmly & evenly to create a biscuit base. 
  4. Using a stand-up mixer, add the peeled bananas, cream cheese, vanilla & dulce de leche. Blend with a paddle until completely combined & smooth. 
  5. Pour the banana mix over the biscuit base & spread evenly. 
  6. Put in the freezer & freeze overnight. 
  7. Take the cake out of the freezer 1 hour before serving. Decorate with shaved chocolate & drizzle extra dulce de leche over the top.
AVOCA’s Famous Multiseed Bread

Ingredients:

  • 175 g plain white flour
  • 300 g extra coarse brown flour
  • 50 g wheat bran
  • 25 g wheatgerm
  • 3 tablespoons Avoca multiseed mix
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon treacle
  • 450 – 525 ml milk

Method:

  1. Pre- heat the oven to 230 fan assisted.
  2. Oil a 2 lb non-stick loaf tin with tasteless oil.
  3. Place all dry ingredients in large bowl, mix well. Make a well in centre of mix, add in the egg, treacle and most of milk, using your hand in a claw like position in a circular movement until you form a thick porridge type dough consistency, adding a bit more milk if required.
  4. Place in an oiled tin, make a deep incision along centre of loaf, sprinkle a few extra seeds on top and then place in hot oven, bake for 15 – 20 minutes until bread is well risen then reduce temperature to 180 and cook for a further 40 – 50 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clear.
  5. Cool on a wire rack.