Hot Cross Buns

with a Pink Whisk Twist of course

Hot X Bun LoafHot X Bun Whirls

Three ways to use this dough – as a loaf, whirls or the traditional buns – who could resist?



315g strong plain white flour

1/2 tsp mixed cake spice

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp dried fast action yeast (or 1 sachet)

25g caster sugar

205ml milk

1 egg, large

zest of 1/2 and orange

100g currants


60g dark brown sugar

1 1/2tsp cinnamon

A little water icing to glaze (optional)

Makes 1 x 1lb loaf, 10 whirls or 8 buns

Place the flour, mixed spice, salt, caster sugar, orange zest, yeast, egg and currants in a large bowl.

Gently warm the milk until it is lukewarm.

Pour  into the bowl and bring the dough together.  I’m letting the mixer do it for me but it can also be done easily (if you have some muscles) by hand.

The dough then needs to be kneaded by hand for ten minutes until it is smooth.  Avoid using any extra flour on the worksurface,  if it is too sticky to handle use a drop of sunflower oil on your hands and that should stop it sticking. For me of course there’s washing to be put in so I’ll let the mixer with the muscles knead it for ten minutes!

Lightly oil the inside of a bowl and place in the dough, turning to coat.

Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm spot for an hour and a half to rise.  You are looking for it to double in size.

Once the dough is risen lightly grease your worksurface with a little sunflower oil to stop it from sticking.

If you’re making the loaf version (my favourite) grease the tin well.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a rectangle with a depth of about 5mm.  Aim for the width to be just slightly less than the length of your tin.

In a bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.

Scatter this as evenly as you can over the top of the rectangle of dough.

Start to roll up the dough from one end.

Roll it right up into a log and pinch together the dough at the seam.

For the loaf version this needs to be placed seam side down into your loaf tin.  Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.  It should take about one hour.

For the whirls take a sharp knife and lightly grease the blade with a little more sunflower oil.  This will stop the dough from sticking to it as you cut.  You may have to regrease it half way through.

Cut the log into 2cm thick slices.

Set them well spaced apart, cut side up on greased or lined baking trays.

Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour somewhere nice and cosy.

To shape traditional type of hot cross buns split the dough into 8 and roll into balls.

Mark a cross on the top with a sharp knife.  Place them on a lined baking tray, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour.

Mix up 100g plain flour with a little water (2-2 tablespoons) – you’re aiming for a thick pipeable consistency similar to toothpaste.  Beat it well until there are no lumps.  If you’ve added too much water and it’s too sloppy add in an extra spoonful of flour.  When the buns have doubled in size pipe the flour paste in the cross marks you made earlier.

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)/200c/Gas Mark 5.

Once your loaf, whirls or buns are ready for the oven, in they go!

The whirls will need 12-15 minutes to bake, buns 20 minutes and the loaf will take 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on the top of the loaf and if it’s getting too dark cover it with a piece of foil.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  The buns like to be glazed with a little warm apricot jam or honey as soon as they are out of the oven for the ultimate sticky bun!

Drizzling them with a little water icing is completely optional – I couldn’t resist!


The whirls and buns are best eaten the same day (or can be frozen once cooled before icing),  the loaf will keep upto three days.

Hot X Bun Loaf

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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22 Responses to Hot Cross Buns

  1. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Wow how great do these look! A must for Easter!

  2. Gerry says:

    Hi Ruth!!!
    THank you for posting this recipe!!! Perfect timing. We do not have strong bread flour in my country, is there any way I can convert the plain flour in to strong bread flour? sorry if it is a dumb question!! Really want to make the hot cross buns for this year’s Good Friday.

    • There is more protein and gluten in a strong flour vs a normal plain flour. I think for this recipe you will get away with a normal plain flour – have a look at the packets – quite often cheaper value flour is higher in protein than a premium brand and so will give you better results if using in place of strong flour. For cakes you want to avoid the higher protein ie the cheaper value flours otherwise cakes will end up quite tough x

  3. Dominic says:

    lovely, lovely dough recipe… and I adore the ‘loaf’ very cool!

  4. Sheila says:

    Wow, what a great looking recipe Ruth. I make my own hot X buns, but never thought of making them into whirls. I will be trying this recipe very soon.

    Thank you.

  5. tracey holden says:

    looks amazing ruth
    will be making very soon,probably all three versions !
    thanks for the recipe x

  6. Stephanie Carr says:

    Making these NOW.

  7. Samantha says:

    Yummy I can’t wait to try this my mouth is watering!

  8. Emily says:

    Hi Ruth, i really want to make the swirls and have been searching Singapore for mixed cake spice but I just get strange looks!! Is there anything I could use in its place?

    Thanks Emily

  9. Elizabeth Lee says:

    Absolutely love your recipes, great to have step by step pictures too, hot cross buns now in the oven!

  10. Emily says:

    Thats easy enough 🙂 Thank you for the quick response again. X

  11. As usual you have added an exciting twist. I am sure these are delicious

  12. shirley says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe Ruth, made the swirls at the weekend and they are lovely! The orange taste really comes through but doesn’t overpower the rest of the spice flavours. Gorgeous light texture as well. Thanks again!

  13. Ruth says:

    A great recipe. Made a smaller loaf on Saturday and some swirls. The loaf was my preference and still enjoying it toasted for breakfasts. Will be making again. I ended up abandoning my first attempt as I mixed it in my Kenwood for 10 minutes as stated in the recipe but ended up over mixing and it went very elasticy. I started again and mixed only for about 6 minutes and it was perfect!

  14. alia khan says:

    made the whirls in sunday. Wow, they were gorg!!

  15. mandy venner says:

    Got in a bit of a sticky mess mixing by hand and admit did have to use a little extra flour but didn’t matter the end result was great. Did the swirls…. delicious!

  16. Gerry says:

    sorry Ruth for this dumb question but is the orange zest quantity of “one and a half another orange” or zest of “half an Orange”?

  17. Laura says:

    Baking these today!! Fingers crossed they work x

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