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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.


Spiced Sweet Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns for Easter studded with fruit

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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.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Bake Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x


  • 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


  1. Mix the flour, yeast, spices, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and add the drained raisins and finely grated peel.
  2. Mix well. Lightly whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla essence, and butter and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix to form a dough.
  4. Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Knead it for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it loosely.
  6. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours in a warm place, until its volume has more or less doubled.
  7. Knock the dough down and divide it into 12 equal pieces.
  8. 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).
  9. Cover lightly again and leave to rise until the pan is full.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C./350°F.
  11. Mix the cake flour with a little cold water until it is just soft enough to be piped with a piping bag.
  12. Pipe crosses on the rolls.
  13. Bake the buns for about 20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.
  14. Heat the marmalade, water, and whiskey to boiling point and simmer for a minute or two.
  15. Pour through a sieve and use the glaze to paint over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
  16. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.
  17. 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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  • Serving Size: a
  • Calories: 10490
  • Sugar: 33
  • Sodium: 296
  • Fat: 52
  • Saturated Fat: 10
  • Unsaturated Fat: 26
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 2104
  • Fiber: 70
  • Protein: 345
  • Cholesterol: 32

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History of 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.

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

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