Here is the recipe I used:
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/8 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Mix in the milk, 3/8 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, salt, egg and half of the flour. Gradually mix in the remaining flour, turning the dough out onto a floured counter to knead as soon as it pulls together enough.
Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a large greased bowl, and turn the dough to coat. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Make the topping while the dough rises. In a medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour until the mixture is the consistency of thick paste. Divide into two parts, and place one part in a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon into one half, and vanilla into the other half.
When the dough is done rising, cut into 12 even-sized pieces. Shape into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. Divide each bowl of topping into 6 balls, and pat flat. Place circles of topping on top of the dough balls patting down lightly. Use a knife to cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
And here are my comments on the recipe:
First of all, the ingredients list is full of things that are just weird. 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast is 1/4 tsp more than comes in a package. 1/2 cup of evaporated milk is 1 oz. less than comes in the smallest can. And 3/8 cup of white sugar -- I puzzled over that until I looked it up in a reference book and found that that's 6 tablespoons. Who has a 1/8 cup measure?
Also, the recipe never calls for you to do anything with the 1/2 tsp cinnamon listed under the bread dough -- I left it out, but actually the bread is a little lifeless without it, and I like cinnamon, so I might add it the next time I make this.
And some pictures from the process:
(Forgive the crappy lighting; my kitchen is the darkest place on the planet, so the flash was required.)
The topping as I made it (I made it all cinnamon, and added vanilla, too; the topping never pasted up as the recipe said until I added the vanilla).
The dough about to go rise. As you can see, I got a bit impatient with the kneading process. I have to knead in the Kitchenaid because my wrists are so bad, which has not helped my bread doughs at all. Fortunately, the lumpiness of this dough doesn't seem to have hurt the texture of the cakes.
The conchas ready for their second rising.
Right out of the oven. They smell heavenly!
We had to try one out right away. Nice, dense cakey bread, and a crumbly, collapsing topping. My topping was thicker than at the bakery, and a little ungainly; I think doing these again I would make the cakes smaller and put a thinner topping on them, just to get something more manageable in size (these are very large) and less sloppy.
Overall, my take on the cakes is that the recipe is pretty much idiot-proof. I worked on this while tired from a long day and not paying too much attention, and I got impatient with the kneading, but the cakes came out tasting and having the texture of the ones at my local bakery, although they're a little denser (which, actually, I like). I would definitely make this recipe again.