RECIPE | Hot cross bun loaf

This twist on a classic Easter treat is perfect for brunch. Slice, toast and serve slathered with butter

14 April 2019 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
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Hot cross bun loaf.
Hot cross bun loaf.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

Serves: 8


500g wheat flour

50g caster sugar

7.5ml (1½ tsp) mixed spice

10ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

80g butter, softened

1 sachet instant yeast

1 large egg

A generous pinch of salt

300ml full cream milk, warmed

350g mixed dried cake fruit

A handful of candied peel, optional

15ml (1 tbsp) smooth apricot jam

15ml (1 tbsp) water


80ml (1/3 cup) wheat flour

15ml (3 tbsp) butter



  1. Sift the flour, caster sugar and spices into a bowl and add the lemon rind. Rub the butter into the flour mixture.
  2. Add the yeast and mix through the flour using a round-bladed knife. Set aside.
  3. Combine the egg, salt and warm milk together in a jug, whisking lightly with a fork.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the flour and, using your hands, bring the mixture together — a slightly wet, sticky dough is preferable to a dry dough so don't be tempted to add extra flour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes till smooth.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot till doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
  7. On a lightly floured surface knock, back the dough and roll out into a rectangle. Sprinkle the fruit and peel, if using, over the dough, then roll it up like a Swiss roll before kneading it gently to mix the fruit through.
  8. Prepare a medium-sized loaf pan by lining the base and sides with greaseproof paper, leaving extra paper to hang over the sides for easy removal.
  9. Divide the dough into six equal portions resembling buns — weigh each for accuracy. Place in the pan, cover and place in a warm spot to rise for 15 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  11. To make the crosses, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture is a little like breadcrumbs. Add just enough water, 15ml at a time, to make a sticky mixture that can be piped. Place the mixture into a clean plastic bag, snip the corner and use to pipe crosses over the 'buns'.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue baking for 20-25 minutes.
  13. While baking, heat the apricot jam and water in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir till smooth.
  14. Brush the jam mix over the top of the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven. The loaf will keep for two days. 

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