Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Getting ready for Easter with hot cross buns…if there will be any left tomorrow. Soft spicy buns that taste even better if you warm them up and add some jam or butter.

Hot Cross Buns Toasted

I love food traditions as they mark celebrations and symbolise community and heritage.

Eating them only once a year makes us aware of the passing of time. They offer us a chance to reflect on what the past year has been while allowing us to embrace a specific point in time, now back once more.

Of course, you can break the rules and enjoy these special treats whenever you want. It’s one of the fun parts of being a grown-up!

However, I personally follow food traditions with devotion. I feel lost in a society without seasons and rituals. Preparing and enjoying this special food makes me feel anchored and connected with others.

They make me accept what the past has been and be grateful for what will come next.

You can imagine how happy I was when I discovered the spicy hot cross buns! One more tradition to celebrate!

I saw hot cross buns for the first time when a colleague kindly brought them to the office. No one could believe that I have never heard of them before! They were even more astonished when I started eating them without toasting them and putting some butter on top – how was I supposed to know?!

I love buns with raisins and have a long-lasting love affair with cinnamon and butter, so hot cross buns + me was love at first bite.

After many tasting sessions (or stuffing sessions, if we want to get real), I was ready to bake!  I joined the ritual mixing eggs, butter, milk, and flour.

I then approached the infamous crosses…and what a disaster. I thought I did a good job but the crosses always disappeared in the oven, leaving me with no hot cross, just buns.

I searched the world wide web determined to unveil the ultimate secret. Annoyingly all recipes say “mix water and flour” until you get a “not too liquid and not too sticky consistency”. What can I do with this piece of information? “Yeah, I like a guy not too short, not too tall, blonde with brown hair, adventurous but reassuring”. Same same.

I continued to bake hot cross buns every year trying to find the perfect ratio. And one day, when I was about to give up and settle on my ‘no hot cross, just buns’ results I found the perfect balance.

It’s 1:1, as simple as that. I wanted to tell everyone and shout on the streets “same quantity of water and flour, you fools!” But as I am still working on that British citizenship, I thought to keep quiet and shout it here on my beloved blog only.

You guys, this is the secret: 1. Mix the same quantity of flour and eggs. 2. Use a piping bag and cut it so as to have a very thin line. 3. Do first a vertical line on all the buns and then a horizontal line on all the buns so as to have straighter lines.

Just do me a favour, make sure to tell everyone, no more ‘no hot cross, just buns’ from now on!  

Hot Cross Buns and flowers

Here is my version of hot cross buns with ginger stems for an extra spicy flavour.

Hot Cross Buns

Course: BAKINGDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time



Getting ready for Easter with hot cross buns…if there will be any left tomorrow. Soft spicy buns that taste even better if you warm them up and add some jam or butter.


  • 500 g flour

  • 500 g sugar

  • 7 g yeast

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp mixed spice

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tsp lemon zest (2 lemons)

  • 30 g butter

  • 300 ml milk (any kind)

  • 10 g salt

  • 150 g sultanas

  • 60 g stem ginger

  • Optional: Maple/Agave/Golden syrup to brush the buns

  • The recipe is easier if you use a stand mixer and a piping bag.


  • Add the flour, sugar, yeast, egg, lemon zest, and spices to a big bowl.
    Mix all the dry ingredients and slowly stir in small pieces of butter.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients and slowly stir in small pieces of butter.
  • Once the first half is absorbed, add the rest of the milk and salt to form a soft dough.
  • Move the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand doing circular movements: move the dough up with the palm of your hand, roll it down, rotate the dough, repeat. Keep going until you have a smooth dough! It’s a tough but soothing task. This round takes 5min.
  • Gently flatten the dough in a rectangular shape with the help of a rolling pin.
  • Evenly distribute the sultanas and the chopped stem ginger on top of the dough. Roll the dough – this is a trick to easily incorporate them (you don’t want sultanas and stem on the surface of your buns as they will burn).
  • Form a bowl and gently knead until you have a silky ball. This round takes 10 min.
  • Place the dough in a big bowl, cover with a towel or beeswax wrap and let it rest for three hours.
  • Tip the risen dough onto a lightly flowered surface. Knead for a further minute, divide it into two equal parts. Create two long sticks – like a sort of two fat baguettes.
  • Divide each stick into 6 parts and form a total of 12 balls with the help of a scale (each ball should weigh around 100 g).
  • Place the balls on a baking tray, cover with a towel or beeswax wrap, and let them rest for an hour.
  • Now it’s Go Time! For the topping, add some flour to a bowl, slowly pour water, and keep mixing with a fork. I find the 1:1 ratio always works but still be careful as you can always add more water if needed.
  • Put the sticky mixture into a piping bag. Cut 0.5 cm of the tip of the piping bag.
  • Pipe first vertical and then horizontal lines to form even crosses. Be brave and decisive. You got this. If your crosses are not straight enough: it’s okay, let it go. They get worse if you try to straighten them up and I think there is more beauty in imperfection.
  • Bake for 15-20 min at 200C. Keep an eye on them as cooking times always depend on the oven. They are ready when you start to see white crosses and golden buns.


  • Optional: you can make the buns even prettier by brushing them with maple/agave/gold syrup while still hot out from the oven. They’ll shine like the sun!
  • I advise you to use a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, this recipe is still doable! Just allow more time for kneading (around 15 minutes) and keep focusing on the end result: soon twelve delicious buns will be all yours!

Do you have any other tricks to make perfect hot cross buns? Let’s stop the secret hot cross buns society and share here our tips!

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