happy easter: hot cross buns with cinnamon icing


I grew up eating hot cross buns at Easter. My mom would come back from the grocery store with a bag filled with a double layer of 8 hot crossed buns. We’d heat them up in the oven for a few minutes and then eat the warm buns for breakfast. The only thing I hated about the buns was that they were always studded with candied fruit, which I’d pick out and leave on my plate in a little heinous pile. Candied fruits are the roots of all evil and I had no idea why someone would sully a perfectly good treat with those little bites of raunch.


I haven’t had a hot cross bun in years and while strumming through an old Betty Crocker kid’s cookbook that I had thrifted ages ago, I came across a perfect recipe. Why was it so perfect? Well, truth is, I’m intimidated by baking with yeast. I don’t know why, but somehow I associate baking bread with serious devotion….an undertaking I didn’t feel quite ready to tackle. Until now. I mean, this recipe is meant to be made by children, so really, how hard can it be? I felt perfectly at home trying this recipe instead of one I had been eying for years which seemed too complex and frightening for a newbie like me.

For a greenhorn, I chose right. It may not be as authentic as Delia’s, but my hot cross buns were delicious (my husband called them delectable) and I was able to get over my fear of baking with yeast in one fell swoop. They were light and crispy on the outsides just out of the oven and the icing I doctored with vanilla and cinnamon was the perfect accompaniment. Plus, the best part was that I subbed out those nasty candied fruits with fresh orange zest to wonderful effect! The fruity orange essence was present without those god-awful bitter vile beasties. Oh yah, let my bread baking adventures begin! It’s on, bitches.

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28 comments to “happy easter: hot cross buns with cinnamon icing”

  1. 1
    Bijoux   March 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Since, I’m not Catholic I never once made the connection between Easter and hot cross buns…I mean, it was children’s song that first introduced me to these buns, not religion.
    I have eaten nasty supermarket brand hot cross buns and back then (as a youngster) I do not re-call them ever making a lasting impression on me…I never liked raisins, nor sweet, yeasty bread and I always wanted the icing to be good and plenty, smothered like a cinnamon danish bun, not just a thin cross.
    As an adult, I’d be willing to give hot cross buns another go but I too, have reservations about baking with yeast. Perhaps one day I’ll feel adventurous enough to partake in yeast baking. Right now, I’ll just admire your hot cross buns :D

  2. 2
    Stephen Rees   March 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Do not fear baking with yeast. It is so easy even I can do it. And you can even buy it in dinky little packages and don’t have to worry about measuring it or anything.

    If you have an oldish ‘fridge there is just the right amount of heat on the top of it to make things rise. Newer ones are just too darn efficient. Or teach yourself patience and let things rise overnight – and you can even do that inside the fridge.

  3. 3
    radiosilents   March 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Oh, J., this is a fabulous, lovely blog! I must have known about it before, but I don’t know… it got lost in the shuffle? And then, when I was surfing a bunch of other blogs’ links, I came upon yours by accident! I added it to my list on my health/weight loss blog. :)

    Awesome! You are awesome, as always.

    xo Amy

  4. 4
    Elizabeth   March 23, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Oh, these look delicious.
    I was always terrified of baking with yeast and then I discovered the fabulousness of No Knead bread. You should absolutely try it if you are scared of making bread…everyone I know who has tried it is an instant convert…
    http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2006/11/24/more-no-knead-bread/

  5. 5
    Jennie   March 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    No no no. how can YOU be afraid of baking with yeast? You with your vegan cookies and other treats with not an egg or drop of milk in sight. I guess we all have our achilles heel. If you’re up for it, a divine yeasty (and Danish) treat is brunsviger cake. Your buns look yummy!

  6. 6
    Sylvie   March 24, 2008 at 5:28 am

    Yeast is not so scary at all if you just give it a go. I don’t know why, but whenever I bake bread and get to take a loaf out of the oven at the end, I get this huge feeling of satisfaction. Don’t miss out on it!
    The buns look great and I’m with you on the candied fruit, blechhhhh.

  7. 7
    jen   March 24, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I’m quietly playing with yeast recipes at the mo’, cos sometimes I can get it to work and other times… not so much! So yay for fab recipes that make it a joy to use :-) Will definitely be giving these scrumptious-looking treats a whirl!

  8. 8
    Sara   March 24, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    We dislike hot cross buns for the same reason – that awful candied fruit! Yay for this recipe, it sounds a million times better than the store bought ones.
    I agree with everyone else, don’t fear the yeast! If I can do it, anyone can.

  9. 9
    Wheeler's Frozen Dessert   March 24, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    looks like a nice twist on a classic. I used to always hate those little fruit bits too – why would they do that to us??

  10. 10
    michelle @ the smackdown   March 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    freaky-colored gelatinous candied fruits make me very, very angry. especially when the sully an otherwise tasty cannoli.

    i’ve never actually had a hot cross bun, but i have to assume they would make me angry in that context as well.

  11. 11
    kickpleat   March 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    hard to believe, jennie, but it’s true! after this recipe, tho, i’m ready for anything!! and thanks for your confidence :)

    not a fan of sweet yeasty bread, bijoux? shocking! as for the yeast, it was seriously an easy, easy thing. who knew?!

    stephen, i think i’m now fearless! i do like the fridge tip…i have an old fridge that definitely gets warm!

    thanks amy! glad you stumbled here!!

    elizabeth, no knead bread is definitely on my list to try. maybe next weekend i’ll give it a go!

    sylvie, i’ll bet you have the satisfaction with a loaf of freshly baked bread!

    jen, i hope you give these a try because they worked for me!!

    bananahead, i’m so glad i’m not the only one! those candied fruits are just evil and when i’d accidentally bite into one…yech!

    sara, these are so much better than storebought! thanks for the yeast encouragement!

    dammed if i know, wheeler! it must be a conspiracy!!

    i’m sure it would piss you off michelle! candied fruits are horrid.

  12. 12
    Bananahead   March 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks candied fruit is the root of all evil :P I hate that stuff with a passion and used to always pick mine out of the hot cross buns too at Easter! I’m going to have to try your recipe …

  13. 13
    Haley   March 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I made them today and they turned out great! The recipe is fabulous.

  14. 14
    Kristen   March 25, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Trust me, yeast breads are so, so forgiving when it comes to making them.

    And 9 times out of 10, even if they looks bad, they’re still going to taste great. Even after a couple of years of sometimes-not-great results, I can think of only one yeast bread I’ve ever made that wasn’t at least edible.

    Keep at it! Try a loaf of bread next!

  15. 15
    e.marie   March 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I cannot agree with you more about candied fruit–evil!

    And I too am scared of baking with yeast, but after reading the other comments I’m inspired to tackle it again. Thanks!

  16. 16
    Cookie baker Lynn   March 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve never had a hot cross bun that wasn’t dry and nasty. I’ll have to give your recipe a try to see how they’re supposed to taste. The idea of cinnamon in the glaze sounds fabulous.

  17. 17
    hag   March 25, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I love hot crossed buns…I am one of the few who actually likes candied fruit… these look very tasty! Good for you !

  18. 18
    Mari   March 26, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Go girl! Good on you, for overcoming the fear of yeast. I only just got over mine last year, but I tell you I’m glad that I did. Oh, the possibilities!

  19. 19
    Gillian Young   March 26, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve always loved hot cross buns other than those damn candied fruits! I’d love to try making them with blueberries.

    Thanks for another fantastic post, I must say I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months, and all the foods you make are my favourites! Such a treat to find you!

  20. 20
    kickpleat   March 26, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    awesome haley, glad you liked them!

    kristen, that’s the kind of encouragement i need! thanks :)

    hag, i think you’re the only one ;)

    e.marie, if i can do it, so can you!

    lynn, these were no where near dry or nasty! give it a try!

    mevrouw cupcake, if i can be half as successful with yeast as you, i’ll be happy! thanks!

    gillian, i think these would be lovely with blueberries! and thanks for the kind, kind words :)

  21. 21
    eatme_delicious   March 27, 2008 at 6:14 am

    The hot cross buns look great! I never really liked them (possibly due to the candied fruit in them) but I think over the years I’ve gotten used to them and want a bite every once in a while. I’m sure they’re way better fresh from the oven than from Safeway.

  22. 22
    LyB   March 27, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Those do look delectable! All that melty icing on top, mmmm! And I love the idea of orange zest instead of candied oranges, pure genius!

  23. 23
    Nan   March 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I SOOOO missed making Hot Cross Buns this year – I was traveling over Easter – your recipe brought back happy memories and I just might have to re-celebrate Easter because I know I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about those hot cross buns!

  24. 24
    Helen   March 30, 2008 at 11:27 am

    mmmm, nice touch with the cinnamon icing! Now you’ve done that, I feel like that’s how hot cross buns should always have been.

  25. 25
    cell   April 13, 2008 at 11:06 am

    i tried your recipe and my hot cross buns turned out great! however the next day they were hard and dry. perhaps coz i put them in the fridge. in any case i will make these again for sure.

  26. 26
    Anonymous   April 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    is it okay if i melt the 2 tablespoons of butter?

  27. 27
    kickpleat   April 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Anon, try it out! It’s such a small amount that I think it should be okay. Crosses fingers…

  28. 28
    TheOrganicSister   April 13, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I just made these yesterday and they turned out wonderful! They kept well until breakfast this morning and were a big hit with family.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    ~Tara

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