Pecan & Maple Spelt Bun Cake

I made these buns as an attempt to make a slightly more virtuous version of my cinnamon buns. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with allowing myself a treat, or 10, of an afternoon. But I thought I’d try a wholegrain, refined sugar free bun to see if it could hold it’s own in the taste stakes. I also wanted to make something that could conceivably be eaten for breakfast without guilt – we’re always being told we should eat whole grains to start the day, right?

Enter these Pecan and Maple Spelt Buns. I really like the taste of spelt flour, it has a kind of nuttiness which I thought would go well with toasted pecans and a maple glaze in these buns. I thought about adding maple syrup to the dough too however experience has taught me that that lovely maple-y flavour is an elusive thing which is easily lost in baked goods, unless you add syrup in huge quantities. So I saved it just for the final icing drizzle where you’ll actually be able to enjoy the taste. These buns are sweet and cinnamonny, with a light but chewy dough, filled with crunchy toasted pecans and topped with the sweet maple glaze – it’s bun heaven. Healthy (kinda) bun heaven!

The filling of these bus is simply vegan butter, cinnamon, toasted pecans and coconut sugar. I used coconut sugar simply because I thought I’d try making these free from the usual refined sweeteners, and because I bought some coconut sugar years ago that I’ve never used. But just the same you could use any light or dark brown sugar and they will taste quite as good. I, for one, do not have a fear of the refined, or processed as I believe everything thing is ok within a balanced diet (plus if I ban myself from eating something I’ll just be good for two days then go on a crazy bread/sugar/{insert banned food here} binge) but I thought I would try using something different, seeing as it was there gathering dust in my kitchen!

I hope you’ll give these buns a try and do let me know how you get on if you do! Leave me a comment or #kindstateofmind on Instagram.

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Pecan & Maple Spelt Bun Cake

Ingredients:

  • 250ml non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 4-5 tbsp vegan butter, softened
  • 1 packet (7g) fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350-400g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 75g pecans
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut sugar (or soft brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

To decorate:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 25g pecans

Method:

  1. Heat the milk and 2 tbsp of the butter in a saucepan on a low heat until the milk is warm and the butter has melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile measure out 350g of the flour into a bowl, add the yeast and salt and mix to combine. Check that the milk mixture has cooled to body temperature and then add to the bowl with the flour, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon into a dough. If it looks too wet add in a few more tablespoons of flour until it comes together into a loose dough. It will be very soft in texture – not like a bread dough. Turn out on to a floured surface and give a few gentle kneads to bring together. You’re not trying to stretch it out – just a few turns to combine.
  3. Give the bowl a quick wipe and place the dough inside, cover with cling film and put in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, 45 mins – 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile toast your pecan nuts. Spread them out evenly on a baking tray and place under a low grill, turning after a few minutes to make sure they cook evenly. Keep a close eye on them as it’s very easy to think they’re taking ages so you leave them unattended and then they end up burning (I speak from experience!) Once cooled crumble them up with your fingers into pieces.
  5. When the dough has risen dust your work surface with flour and tip out the dough. Knead it gently together, knocking the air out of it. It will be very soft and a little sticky, add a little more flour as you need to. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle around 35cm x 50cm and don’t worry too much if it doesn’t have perfect corners.
  6. Spread the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of vegan butter onto the dough and sprinkle over the cinnamon, 75g of the pecans and the coconut sugar.
  7. Starting on the long edge nearest you, start to tightly roll the dough up gently into a long sausage. Cut the dough into slices using a sharp knife, or even better – dental floss (pull it underneath the long roll of dough and bring the ends over each other at the top to ‘cut’ off a slice). I make about 11 slices, including the ends (I bake these separately in ramekins). Place the buns into a greased tin, leaving a little space between each bun so they have room to rise. I use a round cake tin to make this bun cake (and smooshed the spare end pieces into the gaps in the tin) but you can use a square tin or anything else you have.
  8. Cover and leave to rise for 25-35 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  9. Once the buns are risen (they should have puffed up so they’re touching) place the tin in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time they should be lightly golden on top and feel slightly soft in texture underneath when prodded.
  10. While the buns cool, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the maple syrup, adding in a little more icing sugar or syrup as needed. You are aiming for quite a thick consistency so it will be a thick drizzle.
  11. Once the buns have cooled, cover with the glaze and scatter over the rest of the pecans.

They are best eaten fresh but will keep for about 3-4 days in an airtight container. They are also great cut in half and toasted under the grill then spread with butter like a tea cake… yum!

 

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