Wasp nest cakes

14 July, 2006
Sue Davies

The name is fantastic, but the original recipe is rather vague about the method and shape of these buns. It comes from Cakes and Confectionery la Mode by Mrs Harriet De Salis, 1889.

It is worth experimenting with the filling; walnuts and marmalade work well.

Steve Mansbridge of Mansbridge Bakers used coconut instead of pistachios. He said it made the cakes smell good but was too dry and suggests using more fat.

Makes 160 buns


Whole eggs - 10

Yolks - 30

Dried active yeast plus warm water - 100g/4oz

Milk - 1.5 litres/2 pints

Strong flour - 4.2kg/9lb

Currants - 500g/1lb

Flaked almonds - 500g/1lb

Pistachios - 500g/1lb

Sugar - 500g/Ilb

Shredded candied orange peel - 100g/4oz


Mix the yeast with two tablespoons of warm water and leave it to froth up.

Warm the milk to blood heat.

Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.

Add the eggs and yolks, milk and yeast to the flour. Work it into soft dough.

For the first rise, leave it to double in size for 90 minutes.

Next, knock the dough back and let it rise again for 6090 minutes.

Divide the dough into two. Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Scatter the currants and nuts over the dough. Slice it up into strips 5cm/2 wide and roll it up. Put the rolls face up on a greased baking sheet.

Let the buns relax or prove for 30 minutes.

Bake for 1520 minutes at a temperature of 180oC/350oF.

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