Who doesn’t love a hot cross bun?

Definitely not a purist myself, I much prefer a cross made of icing. In fact, it wasn’t until I moved to the UK in my 20s that I discovered the crosses were actually made of flour paste. So, true to my Maritime roots, I’ve included an icing recipe below.

You can modify this recipe to your heart’s content—currants in place of raisins, candied ginger, adjust the spices, add mixed peel or freshly grated zest, etc.—it’s up to you! Happy Easter and happy baking!


  • Bowl or stand mixer with attachments
  • Two 9x5-inch shallow loaf tins or one 9x9-inch brownie tin
  • Cooling rack
  • Pastry brush
  • Piping bag


  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) milk
  • 3 tsp dried instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated or organic cane sugar
  • 2 3/4 organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 fresh large eggs
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water
  • 1/4 cup mixed citrus peel (optional)


  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp hot water 
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 1 cup organic cane or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Preheat your oven to 360F (convection: 350F). Grease two 9x5-inch shallow loaf tins or one 9x9-inch brownie tin.
  2. Soak the raisins in very hot water and set aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain thoroughly. 
  3. Measure all of the dry ingredients (including the yeast) and place in the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix to combine. You can also mix by hand if you don’t have a mixer.
  4. Rub in the softened butter until you achieve a breadcrumb consistency.
  5. Warm the milk ever so slightly (it should be room temperature or just warmer) and add to the mix, followed by the eggs, then the raisins.
  6. At this point, if using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook. If mixing by hand, turn out onto a bench lightly dusted with flour and knead until very smooth and elasticated. 
  7. Place the dough in a covered bowl and leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. 
  8. While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, make the glazing syrup. Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat (do not stir) and set aside.
  9. Next, make the icing. Mix the sugar, water and vanilla together to make a thick paste. Place in a piping bag fitted with your preferred nozzle, or leave aside to drizzle on top of the buns with a spoon.
  10. Once the dough has doubled in size (approximately 2 to 3 hours), divide into 2/3 cup portions and roll into tight balls. Place these in your greased tins and into the oven. For extra moist and fluffy buns, place a shallow pan with water in the bottom of the oven. 
  11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until dark golden brown on top. Turn out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. Brush the tops with the glazing syrup while they’re still warm.
  12. Once cooled, drizzle or pipe on your crosses. You may now eat!

Makes 12 buns