Family Easter bake alternatives

Easter weekend in South Africa falls in autumn and we are just starting to get a taste of that weather now. I am not a big hot-cross bun fan, so I will take any excuse to come up with delicious alternatives that the kids and I can create together and enjoy over Easter.

For me, nothing makes better sense than taking advantage of the seasonal change by making my house warm and smelling like a treat. I hope you enjoy experimenting with some of these recipes and make the most of this special family time.



For the bread:

1 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 sachet yeast (10g)

120g butter, cubed and at room temperature

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon salt

4 ½ cups wheat cake flour

For the filling:

90g butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the icing:

1 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons water


Heat milk in the microwave until lukewarm (it must be lukewarm and not scalding hot as this will kill the yeast).

Pour milk into a bowl (if you have a stand mixer pour the milk into the stand mixer bowl), add sugar and yeast and stir.

Cover with a cloth and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until the yeast becomes foamy.

Once yeast is foamy, add dough hook attachment to your stand mixer.

Add butter to the bowl and start mixing on low followed by one egg at a time and then the salt.

While on low gradually add the flour.

Once all the flour is added, increase speed to medium and knead dough until it starts to pull away from the sides.

If you don’t have a stand mixer then whisk butter, eggs and salt into the yeast mixture. Then gradually add flour, stirring with a wooded spoon.

Once well mixed tip dough onto a floured surface, then knead with hands until elastic.

Cover dough in a lightly greased bowl and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size.

Line a baking tray with flour. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface, then flatten with rolling pin until evenly thick.

Butter the dough using a brush and softened butter for the filling. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and evenly drizzle to coat the dough.

Roll into a sausage. Cut into rolls but be careful not to cut all the way though so that the rolls are still attached to each other.

Attach the ends together, then turn the rolls on their side so they are facing up.

Cover with cling wrap or loosely with a cloth. Set aside and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Whisk icing sugar together with water until smooth; drizzle over the cinnamon roll.



For the dough:

¾ cup warm milk

1 sachet yeast

½ cup sugar

3 ½ cups wheat cake flour

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, cubed


¼ cup butter

200g dark chocolate

½ cup demerara sugar

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 egg lightly beaten


To make the dough place milk in your stand mixer’s bowl, add sugar and yeast, and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

Add eggs and vanilla, then gradually add flour and mix on low with the dough hook attachment in place. Once dough starts to form add butter a few pieces at a time.

Once all the butter is incorporated, knead on medium for 6 minutes.

Divide dough into two equal portions; place into greased bowls then set aside to proof until double in size.

In a small pot melt butter and chocolate over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; add sugar and cocoa powder.

Line two bread loaves with baking paper.

Roll out each piece of dough onto a lightly floured surface into even thickness.

Spread chocolate mixture equally between rolled dough. Spread evenly, then roll into a log.

Using a sharp knife cut along the length of the long in half exposing the filling, then twist the two halves together. Pinch the ends tightly.

Place in loaf tin, cover and set aside to rise.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Mix egg with a little water and brush onto each loaf. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before slicing



Packet of frozen puff pastry

500g frozen strawberries

250g mascarpone

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar


Roll out puff pastry onto a floured surface. Grease a 20 x 15 cm loose bottom tart tin with butter. Place puff pastry onto this and trim ends. Cut out various shapes from remaining trimmings and set aside to use as tart tops.

For the filling, cream eggs and ½ cup sugar until fluffy. Add mascarpone and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Fill this into tart shell, place in pre-heated oven at 180°C and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Defrost strawberries and drain out excess liquid. Drizzle with remaining sugar. Add on top of baked mascarpone filling and top with pastry trimming cuts.

Egg-wash pastry tops. Increase oven to 200°C and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from tart tin. Serve with whipped cream.