This Be-Ro bake is a NEW recipe for me, London Buns, or London “Bath” Buns, and I can honestly say that I had NEVER made these before, and I am not sure if my mum or grandmother have made them either; but, I DO remember trying something similar in a café before, as well as a church fête cake stall.
The history behind these buns is interesting; little fruited and sugar topped buns that were produced outside of Bath were sometimes known as “London Bath buns” or “London buns”.
And, I could have made this recipe from several other recipe books of mine; in the book “Good Things in England” (one of my favourite historical cook books) the author, Florence White, gives two contrasting recipes for Bath buns – one from 1904 with peel, currants and crushed sugar, and one from the early eighteenth century with sack, rosewater and caraway comfits.
The Be-Ro version is obviously based on the 1904 recipe, but the currants have been dropped and only the peel and crushed sugar remain. These “modern” London Buns were also though to have originated from the Great Exhibition of 1851, where vast amounts of “Bath” style buns were made, but without the yeast, and in the manner of a scone or rock cake.
But, as I am baking my way through my collection of Be-Ro books, this recipe is the easy and rather “scone” like Be-Ro London Buns recipe…….taken from the 24th million edition of one of my old Be-Ro cookbooks.
I made the recipe as printed in my Be-Ro cookbook, but, in place of lemon essence, I added some grated lemon zest and some fresh lemon juice, as well as adding an ounce more of mixed peel too. These buns reminded me VERY much of Fat Rascals, they weren’t as rich, but the texture and shape were very similar.
These are a cross between a scone and a rock cake or rock bun, and just like scones, I think they are best eaten on the same day, although I popped a couple in the freezer and defrosted them this morning, and they were still lovely and fresh, so freezing them is an option too.
These will make a GREAT treat for the school or work lunch box, as well as family afternoon tea on Sunday maybe, and, the fat and sugar content is MUCH lower than most commercial cakes, scones or buns too.
They would also be great for children to bake along with mum (or dad) in the kitchen, and for a lower calorie count, you can make them smaller of course.
I love historical recipes, and next time, I am going to make a batch from the Florence White book, “Good Things in England”, and see how they turn out.