In the style of an English tea loaf, these Boston Buns will fast become a favourite with family and friends. Perfect for picnics, bake sales or a morning tea these soft, fruity buns topped with clouds of icing and coconut can be sliced and buttered in advance or placed on a paper doilly, wrapped in cellophane and sold whole. Best of all, this recipe makes two buns making them suitable for a crowd or honouring the generous tradition of making one to give away.
This recipe is based on the traditional recipes that use mashed potato as a base, rather than adding yeast. The advantages of this are a longer lasting bun and reduced preparation time. It does make for a shallower bun, but once finished and iced, I can assure these buns are nothing short of stunning!
For the dough
1 cup of mashed potato
¾ cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ cup sultanas
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup currants
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the icing
2½ cups icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
2-3 drops red food colouring
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
The potato needs to be boiled, mashed and cooled in advance. Peel, dice and boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and mash them well while they are still warm. Do not use any milk, butter or additional water to mash the potatoes. When cooling the potato, if pressed for time, spread it around the edges of a metal bowl and pop it in the freezer for 5-10 mins.
Make sure the butter and milk for your icing is at room temperature. If it’s a cool day, pop the milk in the microwave for a few seconds so that all the chill is off of it before adding to the icing.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c. Grease and flour two 20 cm/8 in round sponge tins. Sift the self raising flour, baking powder and salt together.
2. Add the mashed potato and sugar to a bowl and beat it on a medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Fold in the flour mixture, the milk and then the mixed fruit and zest.
3. Divide the mixture evenly among the tins and smooth the tops with a flat bladed knife, wet the knife slightly with warm water if necessary.
4. Bake them for 30 minutes. If possible, place the buns on the same rack. Rotate each tin and swap the two tins around after 20 minutes, giving both equal heat. Cook the buns until they are springy to the touch and golden brown. Once removed from the oven, let the buns rest in the tins for a few minutes before you turn then out onto a cooling rack.
5. To make the icing, cream the butter on its own on medium to high speed. Add a cup of icing sugar and beat until combined. Add a second cup of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and the colouring and beat well. Add the remaining icing sugar and another tablespoon of milk then beat for 2-5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy, adding the last tablespoon of milk if necessary.
6. When the buns are still very slightly warm, divide the icing among them and smooth. Sprinkle each generously with coconut to cover the icing and press it in gently.
7. Serve sliced and buttered to a delighted crowd.