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Spiced Sweet Hot Cross Buns

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It’s almost Easter and I miss my favorite treats. Spiced Sweet Hot Cross Buns were baked yesterday. This is my friend, Arina’s recipe. She is the food editor for a weekly agricultural magazine in South Africa. I made some changes of my own though.

History of a Hot Cross Buns

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in historically Commonwealth countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and some other parts of the Americas, including the United States.

The bun marks the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial and may also include orange peel to reflect the bitterness of his time on the Cross.

Yield: 12 buns

Spiced Sweet Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns for Easter studded with fruit

It’s almost Easter and I miss my favorite treats. Hot Cross Buns were baked yesterday. This is my friend, Arina’s recipe. She is the food editor for a weekly agricultural magazine in South Africa. I made some changes of my own though.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Knead & Rise Time 3 hours
Bake Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes


  • 4 x 250 ml (4 k) white bread flour (all-purpose works)
  • 1 packet (10 g) instant yeast
  • 5 ml cinnamon
  • 10 ml mixed spices (pumpkin spice works well)
  • 3 ml nutmeg
  • 3 ml fine cardamom (I left it out)
  • 45 ml caster sugar (regular US sugar is fine enough)
  • 5 ml salt
  • 100 g raisins or sultanas, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Finely grated peel of 2 oranges
  • 250 ml warm milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 3 ml vanilla essence
  • 60 ml melted butter
  • 60 ml cake flour
  • Coldwater
  • 100 ml marmalade (I used apricot jam)
  • 30 ml boiling water
  • 45 ml whiskey


Mix the flour, yeast, spices, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and add the drained raisins and finely grated peel.

Mix well. Lightly whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla essence, and butter and add to the dry ingredients.

Mix to form a dough.

Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Knead it for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it loosely.

Let the dough rise for about 2 hours in a warm place, until its volume has more or less doubled.

Knock the dough down and divide it into 12 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball and pack the balls in a medium-sized oven pan (loosely next to each other, not tightly against each other).

Cover lightly again and leave to rise until the pan is full.

Preheat the oven to 180°C./350°F.

Mix the cake flour with a little cold water until it is just soft enough to be piped with a piping bag.

Pipe crosses on the rolls.

Bake the buns for about 20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Heat the marmalade, water, and whiskey to boiling point and simmer for a minute or two.

Pour through a sieve and use the glaze to paint over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.

Makes 12 buns.


Prepared, tried, and tested owner, Christl Honiball-Aucamp from The Recipe Hunter: Tried and Tested Recipes from Home Chefs

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 10490Total Fat 52gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 32mgSodium 296mgCarbohydrates 2104gFiber 70gSugar 33gProtein 345g

EsmeSalon provides approximate nutrition information for your convenience and as a courtesy only. Please note that all nutrition data is congregated by online calculators. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe, and we strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but can not guarantee or provide any assurances regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own estimates based on the ingredients used, and by using your own and preferred nutrition calculator. The author(s) of EsmeSalon are not dietitians or nutritionists. Any recommendations shall not be construed as medical or nutritional advice. You are fully responsible for any actions you take and any consequences that occur because of anything you read on this website. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease. Please consult your health care provider regarding any health-related decisions.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did. Please share a picture with me on Pinterest and leave me a note on the pinned post and tell me how it went! It will also be highly appreciated if you wish to leave a rating and review on the blog post. Thanks in advance

You may also wish to look at the South African style Pickled Fish, another delicacy enjoyed at Easter Time.

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