These oblong buns were famous in the City of London; called Banker’s Buns they were popular in a Victorian bakery in Lombard Street. They were either bought whole, at fourpence each, or cut in half, and sold at twopence. On the second page is an original description of them and a recipe from a Baker’s Trade Recipe Book published in 1910. However, this 1910 recipe actually says the original buns were made and individually enclosed in ‘paste’ but they adapt the recipe to make a tray – we are going to adapt it back to make them as intended, as individual buns using smaller amounts. The original recipe author has this to say about them, ” These buns are not a bit like the filthy rubbish so generally made from crumbs and debris, and will well repay the trouble taken to make them properly” which is good to know, and also very true …
Banker’s Buns Recipe
The recipe was initially conceived in a bakery as a way of using up any of the cake crumbs that were left over from the days baking. We need to use any old plain stale cake which we will grate to make the cake crumbs.
For the ‘paste’
- 250g plain flour
- 150g butter (softened)
- 75ml water (warm)
- 20g caster sugar
- 20g yeast
For the filling
- 125g butter
- 180g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 350g cake crumbs (vanilla sponge cake or another stale cake grated)
- 200g raisins
- 200g sultanas
- 200g currants
- 200g finely chopped citrus peel
- 40ml dark rum
- 70g ground almonds
- 1/4 grated nutmeg
- rind and juice of one lemon
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- a little milk (if needed)
- egg yolk, 2 tablespoons warm milk, tablespoon caster sugar, blended together
Making the paste: this dough encloses the bun filling. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then rub in the butter to make the flour resemble fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar, then make a well in the centre. Pour the warm water into the well in the centre of the flour. Mix in the yeast and a sprinkle of sugar into the water. Leave this stand for five minutes then mix the yeast water into the flour to make a firm dough.
The dough should be silky, smooth and elastic, but not sticky – knead it gently for a few minutes and add in a little extra flour if needed. Place this dough in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave it in a warm room for an hour as you start to make the filling. It should double in size.
Making the filling: In a large mixing bowl beat in the butter and sugar and cream together. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest, the grated nutmeg and the ground almonds. Mix thoroughly together and stir in the baking powder. Grate the cake to make fine cake crumbs, mix this in with the butter and sugar mixture. Mix in the dried fruit.
Grate in the lemon zest and add the lemon juice. Stir everything together. If this mixture is a little dry then add in a few splashes of milk to make a soft filling. Leave this to rest a little.
Make the Banker’s Buns: place the dough, which has risen in a warm room for an hour, onto a floured work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 5mm thick. Cut out smaller rectangles 12cm by 9cm (approx). Egg wash around the edges of each rectangle (to help seal the buns). Use a spoon and spoon into the centre of each rectangle some of the bun filling. Roll up the buns and seal all the edges – form the buns into an oblong shape (like a sausage roll) – tuck any excess dough under the buns.
Place each of the buns (sealed seam side down) onto a greased baking tray. Brush all over with some of the bun glaze. Leave these somewhere warm for another thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven 200C
Bake the Banker’s Buns in a hot oven at 200C for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Serve.