Hot Cross Buns

Does anyone else hear a recorder playing when someone says Hot Cross Buns?


I’ve never had a Hot Cross Bun, because I hate those shrivelled, disgusting sultanas and raisins inside them. But the smell of hot cross buns has always been heavenly to me. To me they smell like a warm and spicy welcome home. I also hate making dough. It is so much effort, you have to knead it and let it rise. I like to eat my baked good as soon as possible, and bread takes too long to prepare.

But my craving for hot cross buns was increasing. I kept seeing various flavours of hot cross buns in the supermarket, but still none without any sultanas or raisins. So I decided if I wanted them my way then I would have to put the effort in. You only get out, what you put in! The kneading and waiting around wasn’t actually that bad, especially once the whole dough had been formed. I could already sense how delicious these hot cross buns were going to be because of all the hard work I was putting in, plus the orange and cinnamon smelt good too.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to knead, and the twelve buns I made weren’t all the same size or shape, but that didn’t mean they weren’t heavenly. I am someone who prefers flavour over appearance. I have no creative flair, and I can’t make a cake look pretty in an Instagram picture to save my life. If what I makes tastes good, then I am happy with it.

Again, I turned to the Queen of Baking, Mary Berry, for a recipe. I made a few changes, such as not using sultanas, and I used the grind from one large orange for the flavouring. The buns were full of a rich, warm and spicy flavour, and I had them straight out of the oven, so the butter I spread on them melted in beautifully. That would have been quite the Instagramable image, had I remembered to take a picture and not stuff my face so quickly.


For the Buns

450g strong white flour

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

7g sachet fast-action yeast

50g caster sugar

50g melted butter, cooled

150ml tepid milk (I was cheeky and gently heated my milk over the stove until it was the same temperature as my little finger)

5 tablespoons tepid water

1 large egg, beaten

The grated zest of 1 large orange

75g currents (if you must)

For the Cross

75g plain flour

5 tablespoons of water

To Glaze

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water


  1. Measure the flour, salt, spices, yeast and sugar into a large bowl and stir to mix. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted (cooled) butter, milk, water and egg, adding the currents and orange zest to the mixture last.
  2. Mix to a soft dough, then turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with oiled Clingfilm and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours in a warm room. (Because this is an enriched dough, it will take longer to rise than a plain dough.)
  3. Whilst the dough is rising lightly grease 2 baking trays with butter, and oil more Clingfilm to cover the two trays. Preheat the oven to 220oC/Fan 200oC/Gas Mark 7.
  4. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured work surface again and knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each one into a round bun. Place the buns on the prepared baking tray and cover with oiled Clingfilm. Leave to rise until they have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  5. Mix the water and plain flour together to create a smooth paste. Place the mixture into a piping bag and cut of the end. Pipe a cross across the risen buns.
  6. Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until brown and hollowing-sounding when the base is tapped. While the buns are baking, dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with the syrup to give a sticky glaze.


These have actually pushed me into wanting to try normal hot cross buns, and making more bread! I will definitely be making these again next year. I hope everyone else is enjoying all the hot cross buns and Easter themed chocolate at this time of year.

Happy Easter!



Orange Cake.


When I was little I hated oranges. I’d eat an orange flavoured sweet, lolly pop or drink orange juice. But the orange itself made my skin crawl. I’m still not crazy about oranges, and I still can’t bring myself to peel and eat one, but I was perfectly prepared to grate and juice one in order to make a cake.

Whilst in New Zealand I decided I wanted something sweet before walking around Hobbiton for two hours. There was a big, beautiful and well baked orange cake presented beautifully on a cake stand under a shiny glass case. I wanted it. I restrained myself and only got one slice. This cake was glorious. It was moist and fluffy, and the orange drizzle icing around the side had not dried too hard and added a sweet blast of orange to the flavour.

When I got back home I knew exactly what I wanted to bake first. I went straight to the Baking Bible for an orange cake recipe, and the queen of baking came through with a fantastic recipe. If you want to bake a cake that (in my opinion) counts as one of your five a day then I would definitely recommend this recipe.

Heart or butt??? You decide

For the Cake

175g softened butter

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

175g self-raising flour

1 ½ level teaspoons baking powder

Grated rind and juice of 1 large orange

To finish

About 2 tablespoons apricot jam

100g icing sugar

Finely shredded rind and juice of ½ orange


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/Fan 160oC/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm (8 in) deep round cake tin then line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Turn into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
  3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes until well risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  4. Measure the apricot jam into a small pan and gently warm through. Brush over the top of the cake. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the orange juice a little bit at a time until you reach a coating consistency. Pour over the top of the cake and gently spread out with a small palette or round bladed knife. Leave to set and then decorate with the shredded orange rind. Don’t add shredded orange grind whilst the icing is drying, it just doesn’t look too pretty (you’ll see what I mean in the pictures).


I was a little disappointed with the rise of my cake. I would have liked it to be higher, and the icing around the side dried quite hard, but it was still delicious. The cake itself was still light and fluffy, and the orange flavour came through beautifully in every bite. It was quickly and easy to bake, which is my favourite kind, because you can eat it asap!


When I was little all I ever wanted was for my baked goods to be chocolate flavoured, I hated the idea of baked goods with fruit in it. Since then I’ve made banana bread, carrot cake, blueberry muffins and many other fruity flavoured bakes. I never knew what I was missing out on.

If you have any suggestions for fruity bakes do let me know.