bull’s eye muffins

Happy August! It’s now or never. I feel like there are a few recipes I’ll lose if I don’t write them out. One of the downfalls of only allowing one post per month is deciding what to post for a specific month. And there were a few things I made over the last few months that took precedence. But now it’s time for these! This was actually done back in April, but placed in the “for later” file, because I couldn’t decide if it was good enough just the way it is. But sometimes you gotta just let things be the way they are.

This is based on a Mexican sweet bread called Ojo de Buey, which literally translates to bull’s eye. The only difference really is that they’re in muffin form and that the outer bready part of the muffin should really be more like puff pastry. Still, they impress, although they are a little more work than a muffin quick bread recipe.

So I basically made the outer part to be more like a cinnamon roll dough, then lined strips of the dough around each muffin mold and filled it with cake filling! Pretty snazzy, huh? You can make these without a muffin tin, it’s just that I’m sort of a fan of uniformity, and making them without the support of a muffin tin might mean that they’d all be somewhat different in size and shape. Also, I’ve seen other recipes that call for the cake part to be a darker color, sometimes using dye to achieve that, but I kind of like them almost the same color since the texture difference is definitely there, anyway. I’ve seen usually an orange flavored cake, but for me, I really like lemon and decided to make them lemon and to boost the lemon flavor by adding lemon extract and lemon juice.

bull’s eye muffins (adapted from this video)


for the bread part:

1 cup lukewarm water

2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dredging

10 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized slices

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting counter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water, to moisten dough as needed

for the lemon cake part:

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

zest of one lemon

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Add the water and a pinch of sugar from the 1/2 cup to a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir just to wet yeast, then leave along for about 5 minutes for the yeast to bloom; it should get foamy and bubbly on the surface of the water; if not, you will need to throw it out and start over.

Into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the flour, the 1/2 cup sugar and the salt.

After the yeast water is bubbly and foamy, add on top of the flour and mix with the paddle. As you are mixing, add the butter slices, a few slices at a time. Keep mixing on low with the paddle until all the butter has been added and the dough starts to form. Stop the mixer periodically to scrape the bottom if there is dry flour to get it mixed in. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if it looks too dry. Add just enough water to mix into the flour without getting it too wet. If it looks too wet, add a little flour, but try not to add more flour. Keep using the paddle until a dough forms and gets smoother, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a floured work surface and knead for a few minutes, then shape into a smooth ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the whole surface of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap tightly and let sit in a warm part of your place for about an hour until it has increased in size.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 24 muffin mold tins.

Make the cake batter. (Since this doesn’t take too long, start making the cake part when the dough has been already sitting for awhile and is almost double in size.)

Mix the flour and baking powder and salt together by placing into a bowl and stirring with a whisk to combine all the ingredients.

Place the butter and sugar in a medium bowl and cream together by using a hand held electric mixer, until the butter and sugar have blended together and it is light and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, then the extract and zest of lemon, then add the oil, and continue to beat with the mixer until all is thoroughly mixed together. Set aside. You will complete making the cake pat after setting up the dough rings in each muffin mold so you can quickly add the cake batter right before baking.

After the dough has about doubled in size, punch down the dough in the center of it to deflate, then portion out about 24 pieces, one for each muffin mold. One way to do this is to weigh the dough and then divide the weight by 24. Another way to do this is to divide the dough into two, followed by dividing each piece into two more pieces, then dividing each of the four pieces into  six pieces. Personally I like to weigh the dough and divide them equally based on weight, for more uniformity of size. I calculated that I can use about 2 ounces of dough per muffin, and had 24 pieces of dough for each muffin.

For each piece of dough, flatten it to a rectangle about 7-8 inches in length by one inch wide. Form into a band about the size of a wrist watch and press the ends together by flattening the corners of one end and folding each corner over their respective corners of the other end. Basically making a wrist band by pressing the ends together. Dredge both sides of each band in a small bowl of sugar. (optional.)

Place along the inside of each muffin mold so that the wrist watch is hugging the walls of each muffin mold, and there is a gap in the middle for the cake batter. It’s okay that the bottom is not covered with dough. The cake part will fill this space and will be the bottom when baked.

Finish making the cake batter. Add a third of the flour mix to the batter, then mix on low until combined.

Add half of the milk, then mix again and scrape down the sides and bottom, if needed.

Add half of what’s left of the flour mixture followed by mixing again on low until it is incorporated into the batter.

Add the rest of the milk, mixing once again on low until it is absorbed into the batter, scraping down the sides and bottom, if needed.

Add the rest of the flour mixture and once again mix until all the flour is incorporated into the batter.

Add the lemon juice into a small cup and add the baking soda to the lemon juice. It will bubble and fizz. Stir to dissolve and scrape into the batter, mixing the batter with the beater for about 20 seconds.

Add two tablespoons of cake batter to the center of each muffin mold lined by the dough ring. Cake will expand and rise to fill each center when baked.

Place the tray or trays in the center rack of a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until slightly golden brown on tops of cake and edges. Remove from heat and let cool on a wire rack for several minutes. Serve warm or after it has cooled. Can store for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container.

2 responses to “bull’s eye muffins”

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