• Rachel Khoo's raspberry jam and chocolate buns (My Little Swedish Kitchen / Michael Joseph Books )Source: My Little Swedish Kitchen / Michael Joseph Books
From sticky buns to celebration cakes, here's why we love firing up the oven on the weekend.
7 Jun 2022 - 4:50 PM  UPDATED 8 Jun 2022 - 1:53 PM

--- The Cook Up with Adam Liaw S2 airs weeknights on SBS Food at 7.00pm and 10.30pm, or stream it free on SBS On Demand. Catch Adam Liaw and guests in the 'weekend bakes' episode on 10 June on SBS Food and then streaming at SBS On Demand. You can also catch 'baking Saturday' sessions, with Bake With Anna Olson and Martha Bakes, in June, July and August, most weekends from 11 June  ---


For those who love to bake, the weekend means more time. More time to slow down and enjoy the process, as well as the result. More time to try something new, something ambitious, or something that needs just that: time. A fruit cake where the dried fruits gets plump and delicious (and probably boozy!) from a long soak. A yeasted bread. A hearty carrot cake where perfection is arrived at via a low, slow bake. 

Here are some of the ways we love to make the most of the weekend.



Two of our favourite baking projects are miles apart, yet linked by their 'roundedness'. We're talking doughnuts (yes, they are often fried, but some are baked) and the glory of babka. 

Cherry and chocolate babka

Many countries have created their own version of babka. This one, from the Feast magazine archives, with fruit, chocolate and rum in the dough, and a rum syrup drizzled over after baking, is a mouth-watering combination of all styles. The cherries for this need to soak for at least four hours (or overnight), and the yested dough needs rising time, so this one can fit in around other weekend projects.

Doughnuts, doughnuts, doughnuts

From classic cinnamon sugar-dusted rings to custard-filled balls, doughnut ice-cream sandwiches and Mexican chocolate doughnuts (a kind of puffy pancake make on the stovetop), doughnuts take many forms. And while some are fried, some are baked, like these cinnamon-coconut doughnuts with berry whip). Dive into the doughnut recipe collection to discover your next weekend doughnut adventure. 

Healthy doughnuts



A rich traditional fruit cake is a joy. Some require soaking, and they often require several hours in the oven - a perfect weekend project. 


This recipe, from popular SBS Food show host, Irishman Donal Skehan, makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. "Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it," he says. 

Cherry and macadamia fruit cake

Dense with brandy-soaked fruit and spices, and with hazlenut or almond meal in the batter, this cake is wonderful for a modern Christmas cake, but it is also lovely at other times, too. The fruit includes dried cherries, raisins, sultanas, currants and prunes, and there are macadamias in the cake as well as on top to decorate. Plan ahead - this one needs overnight soaking time (or up to 2 weeks, so you can easily do this bit ahead of the weekend); 3½-4 hours baking time; and overnight cooling. 

Find more in the SBS Food fruitcake recipe collection




Like fruit cakes, the delicious denseness of a carrot cake often needs a little more oven time. We are big carrot cake fans here at SBS Food and know that every minute of extra time is an investment in eventual deliciousness, best enjoyed under a layer of cream cheese icing. 

American Southern-style carrot cake

"It's heavenly with a capital 'H'," says Poh Ling Yeow of this indulgent version, based on a recipe shared with her by Priyant Pratap. There's an extra element of deliciousness here: each of the three cake layers is covered with a buttermilk glaze before being spread with a layer of cream cheese frosting. 

American Southern-style carrot cake

Masala chai carrot cake

A fantastic twist on the classic here, from Nik Sharma. "Carrot cake is one of my favourite ‘vegetable-type’ cakes to make at home; it’s simple to prepare and rather rustic yet absolutely delicious. I’ve infused this carrot cake with chai (the Hindi word for tea is chai) and used a few of my favourite spices that I use when I have a craving for masala chai (the Hindi word for spice is masala)," he says. This one needs several hours of cooling and then chilling time, so it's a great weekend cake project. 

Masala chai carrot cake

Find more carrot cakes (including a gluten free version) in the carrot cake recipe collection.




The rich, smooth deliciousness of a baked cheesecake often benefits from chilling time - like these beauties. 

Single malt cheesecake

"Cheesecake is possibly one of my favourite things in the world. And this is a stolen cheesecake recipe. Stolen from my wife, who makes it pretty much whenever there's a special occasion cake that needs to be made," says Adam Liaw of this beauty, which he shares in the 'weekend bakes' episode of The Cook Up. A slug of whiskey adds a delightfully boozy, caramelly edge to this take on baked cheesecake. Plan ahead: it's not hard to make, but for it to reach its prime cheesecake perfection, it needs to sit for 8 hours or so after baking, and then be refrigerated for at least 4 hours (overnight is better).

Single malt cheesecake

Japanese soufflé cheesecake

This fluffy baked cheesecake is hugely popular in Japan for its light, smooth texture. Refrigerating the cheesecake overnight improves its texture and enhances its creamy flavour.

Find more creamy baked cheesecakes in the cheesecake recipe collection.




Weekends not only give us more time to enjoy baking - it's also a time to catch up with family and friends. And there's something so lovely about making, and then sharing, food baked with love.

Coffee and chocolate bundt cake

The weekends are a great time to try something new - like a bundt cake. This stylish coffee and chocolate bundt cake is another from the 'weekend baking' episode of The Cook Up, shared by pastry chef Lauren Eldridge. 

Iced VoVo mousse cake

This recipe by Grace Angel is described as "a baking marathon not a sprint" - it takes several days - but just look at the result: an epic layered dessert. Some of the elements can be made ahead and frozen.

Ice VoVo cake

For more cakes with the wow factor, take a look at the Cakes for crowds recipe collection




The weekend is the perfect time for baking with yeast, whether it's a sticky bun, a celebration sweet loaf or your daily bread. 

Raspberry jam and chocolate buns

"Swedes just can’t get enough of buns, and neither can I," says Rachel Khoo of these glorious chocolate buns, which are made with a rich honey-sweetened, buttery spelt pastry, and come from her book The Little Sewish Kitchen.  The main rising takes four hours, but you can leave the dough in the fridge overnight after this stage, making this easy to fit into a weekend. After that, shape, allow to rise for another hour, then bake, for deliciously sticky indulgence. These, she says, are best eaten slightly warm on the day of baking (but you can also freeze your baked buns). 

Mastering sourdough

Bakeproof columnists Anneka Manning has drawn together everything you need for making five-star sourdough, from a detailed, step-by-step guide to starting and caring for a sourdough starter to recipes for basic sourdough bread and seeded wholemeal sourdough

This staple is a symbol of survival.

Find more delicious yeasted breads and cakes in the homemade bread collection and the yeasted recipe collection




There's a world of pastry waiting for you to explore, from Middle Eastern spinach and pinenut rolls and Singaporean chicken curry puffs to English eccles cakes.

Bosnian baklava (ružice)

This dessert is a syrup lover's dream. "If you love syrupy baklava then this is the dessert tray for you! Ruzice gets its name because once you cut and turn the layered pastry pieces onto a tray they resemble the rose bud. Traditionally, these are made with walnut and tirit filling but if you are running low on time you can skip the tirit and use only walnuts as your filler, this works just as well," explains SBS Food's Farah Celjo. This recipe uses purchased filo; if you're after a recipe where you can try making your own, try this spanakopita or these individual cheese and silverbeet pies (kloropita).  

All-butter puff pastry

Want to dive in the deep end and make your own puff pastry? Anneka Manning takes take you step-by-step through the process (her recipe also includes freezing instructions so you can have some ready to use another weekend). Then use it for her Portuguese chai-spiced custard tarts

Chai-spiced custard tarts

Whether you want to make your own pastry, or make something delicious with bought pastry (mmmm, vanilla slice), you'll find plenty of ideas in the pastry recipe collection




From picnic fare to something hearty for a winter family meal, there's a pie for every occasion.

Spanish chorizo and egg pie 

This is the sort of recipe you can do while getting other things done around the house, as there are four 'fold and chill' stages in making the pastry. This beauty can be served warm or at room temperature. 

Custard apple and apple pie

The classic apple pie gets a tropical twist with creamy custard apple. This is very easy to make; the pastry needs 2 hours of chilling time, so this is a good one to do on a weekend.

Custard apple and apple pie

Find more in the pie collection and the handpie collection




Coconut cake

One final suggestion: a wedding cake from baking expert Anna Olson. A moist and tender coconut cake is covered with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. This one serves 40 or so as a plated dessert, more if you are serving small tastes. (She also has a very different, casual idea for a wedding: a stacked s'mores cake.)

More weekend baking
Water pastry with feta and kale (su böreği)

Making your own water pastry for this Turkish savoury slice helps keep it light and crisp, with a gorgeous golden top. 

Sausage plait

This is either a poor man’s Wellington, or a posh sausage roll, depending on how you look at it. The sausage filling is spiked with black pudding, enhanced with a savoury mushroom base and topped with caramelised onions. Wrapped in crisp, buttery ‘plaited’ pastry, it looks really impressive but is easy to make.

Bee sting cake (bienenstich)

I’ve eaten Bienenstich for years, not realising it’s really just brioche baked in a round cake tin with a caramel nut topping and custard in the middle! 

Asian-Aussie meat pies

The addition of allspice, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and oyster sauce give these good old Aussie pies a subtle, but truly delicious, Chinese twist.

Wasp nest buns (osyne gnizdo)

I’ve always loved the name of these, and there has always been something dangerously attractive about the whole wasp element of this dish. Also, these buns looked very much like the stuff we’d see in foreign films. Were there Swedish cinnamon rolls in Ingmar Bergman films? Maybe not. Were they in the incredibly popular Astred Lindgren Karlsson-on-the-Roof cartoon adaptations? The Moomins?! Either way, they looked exotic and fed my fantasies of living somewhere abroad when it was still a risky and unrealistic thought.