Vegan hot cross buns

Vegan hot cross buns

vegan hot X buns baked

In only just a week a lot of people in the UK will be sinking their teeth into hot cross buns, which are a quintessential Easter treat in this country. While I’m not big on Easter myself, I am big on buns – always have been, always will be 😉 so I decided that it’s a perfect excuse to get baking and make a tray of indulgent vegan hot cross buns.

We (or Duncan, to be precise) have made hot x buns for this blog before, but it was a while back and the photos are pretty terrible so I’ve decided that I need to revamp them once more. These new hot cross buns are deliciously studded with lots of little pops of flavour, fragrant with spices and orange zest. As we are big ginger fiends in this house, aside from traditional sultanas (which I soaked in Amaretto to soften) I used plenty of chopped stem ginger. I love stem ginger in baking, but if you are not a fan or have trouble getting your hands on it (I hear that it isn’t as popular in other countries), feel free to sub it with dried apricots, for example.

Spice-wise, traditionally allspice – the ground up berry of the West Indian allspice tree is used. Because its flavour is said to resemble a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper, it is often replaced by and confused with mixed spice, which is simply a spice mix consisting of several spices including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I made up my own concoction but you are free to use whatever you enjoy and whatever you have in your pantry, remembering that spices like cloves or cardamom tend to overpower others so they, in particular, need to be used in small amounts.

These buns are not hard to make – if you have kneading down pat, you’ll have no trouble. As opposed to scones, for example, they don’t require much graft as the fat isn’t added cold to the flour first, it goes in melted, at the end, with the other liquid ingredients. They are fluffy, studded with goodness, only just slightly sweet and I love them toasted with a smattering of vegan butter and some apricot jam. They make a great afternoon or morning treat if you are so inclined and Easter makes for a perfect excuse to consume some. Enjoy!

vegan hot X buns dry ingredients

vegan hot X buns wet ingredients

vegan hot X buns kneading

vegan hot X buns decorating

vegan hot X buns glazing

vegan hot X buns side

vegan hot X buns close up

vegan hot X buns jam

makes
12
PREP
30 min
COOKING
20 min
makes
12
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
20 min
INGREDIENTS
HOT CROSS BUNS

  • 500g / 4 cups wheat flour* (I used 50% bread flour and 50% all purpose)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 7 g / 2¼ tsp instant dried yeast
  • 75 g / 6 tbsp caster sugar or coconut sugar
  • approx. 3 tsp spices**: 1½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ginger, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cardamom, ¼ tsp cloves
  • zest of 1-2 oranges (2 if you like a prominent citrus flavour)
  • 100 g / ¾ cup sultanas soaked in 60 ml / ¼ cup liquid***
  • 100 g / ½ cup finely chopped stem ginger syrup or dried apricots
  • 60 g / ¼ cup applesauce
  • 50 g / ¼ cup coconut oil (or other neutral oil) or vegan butter, melted
  • 240 ml / 1 cup plant milk, warm

‘CROSS’ FLOUR PASTE

  • 65 g / ½ cup all purpose flour
  • water

GLAZE

  • 1 tbsp of apricot jam OR stem ginger syrup OR maple syrup
METHOD
  1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, spices and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Next, add in sultanas and their soaking liquid and finely chopped stem ginger. Mix well into the dry ingredients, breaking up any stuck together ginger pieces with a wooden spoon.
  3. Make a well in the centre, add room temperature applesauce and melted (and cooled off) coconut oil and most of the warm plant milk – hold about ¼ of it back as not all of it may be needed. Mix all three liquid ingredients in the centre roughly and then mix them into the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon. Switch to using your hands to bring the dough together, if the dough is too dry, trickle in more plant milk. The dough should feel a little sticky/tacky – higher level of dough hydration gives your buns a better rise so resist the temptation to add extra flour.
  4. Transfer the dough to the workbench and knead it for until elastic and smooth (it may take 10 minutes or more, depending on how good your kneading technique is).
  5. Shape into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl, coat in a thin layer of olive oil and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave it in a warm place (but not too warm – IE not next to an open fire!) for between one and two hours (until it has doubled in size).
  6. Empty the dough out on to a work surface and push the air out with your fingertips.
  7. Split the dough into twelve equal parts – best to use kitchen scales here.
  8. Shape each portion of the dough into a ball by pinching the dough so that the seam is at the bottom.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 220° C / 425° F. Lay the buns on a paper lined baking tray in a 3×4 grid so that they just touch each other (they will merge with each other as they expand during proving). Cover with cling film and leave another 60 minutes for another proofing.
  10. While the buns are proofing for the second time, mix flour and a little water (about 60 ml / ¼ cup) in a small bowl until you have a flour paste that runs off your spoon but only just, you don’t want it too runny as the crosses won’t stay on the buns.
  11. Just before the buns are ready for baking, put the flour paste in a piping bag and pipe crosses on top of of the buns.
  12. Place the buns in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the buns are golden. You may need to rotate the tray after 15 minutes if your oven has visible hotspots.

GLAZE

  1. If using jam for your glaze, mix 15 ml / 1 tbsp water with the jam in a small saucepan on a low heat until the jam is diluted and ready for glazing. Alternatively, you could also glaze your buns with undiluted maple syrup or stem ginger syrup.
  2. Glaze the buns as soon as they are out of the oven until they are lovely and shiny then place them on a wire rack to cool.

NOTES
*Often recipes call for 100% bread flour, but I use 50% bread flour and 50% all purpose flour for softer, less bread-like buns.

**Traditionally, allspice and cinnamon are used. You can also use mixed spice, which is a readymade spice mix consisting of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, coriander and mace. I also love to add cardamom so go for any mix of spices you enjoy. For this amount of flour, 2-3 tsp of spice is perfect.

***I used Amaretto, but you can also use orange juice.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
305
15%
sugars
19 g
22%
fats
5 g
7%
saturates
4 g
18%
proteins
6 g
11%
carbs
60 g
23%
*per bun
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5.0
10 reviews, 28 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Consuelo:
Could I replace whole wheat flour for non gluten ?
Have Bob’s Red Mill which is 1:1 baking flour
Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Consuelo,
    While good gluten-free flour mixes usually do really well in cakes, this recipe requires kneading as it relies on gluten activation for its fluffy texture so I don't think it would work, I'm afraid. You may be able to do it by adding some binder (like psyllium husk powder or xantham gum) but I haven't tried so I cannot be sure how much and what the result will be like at all. x Ania
Robyn:
Easy to follow and beautiful flavour. :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Robyn! I am delighted that you enjoyed these and thanks for taking the time to leave a review – I really appreciate it! Ania
Laura:
These look beautiful - I cannot wait to try them! Can I ask - do you put together a vegan Polish Easter basket? Because I am really struggling to think what I can put in! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Laura, hope you'll enjoy them. No, not really, but making vegan version of mazurek is not hard, I might do a recipe for it soon. x Ania
Paola:
Wonderful, thank you very much.
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed them! x Ania
Grace T.:
Bread for breakfast is always a yes for me. I love the spices used here.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Grace!
Cristina:
This was an amazing recipe! So easy to follow, quick, flavourful and wholesome. Perfect! I did do a couple of changes: I didn't have cardamom or nutmeg, and it still turned out delicious. I didn't have jam/syrup either, but some sugar dissolved in water worked a treat for the glaze. Delicious. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Cristina! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thanks so much for taking the time to leave the review - I really appreciate it. x
Berta:
I am so glad I stumbled upon your profile on Instagram (funnily by Hungarian people I follow) and you live around the corner! :)
This is an amazing recipe! Highly recommended to non-vegans too, as you don’t need any fancy ingredients and the result is mind blowing! Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Berta! I'm so glad you stumbled upon my blog too! So happy to hear that you enjoyed these and I hope you'll find other recipes you enjoy just as much. x Ania
Daniel:
Hi Ania, I've just discovered this website and have tried this recipe for Easter, big success! These buns are simply delicious and I can't wait to try more of your recipes 😊 Thanks for sharing them!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much Daniel! I'm so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed these and I hope you'll find other recipes on here that rock you boat. Ania
Vanessa Warwick:
Amazing recipe 😋 you've outdone yourself. Husband says they're single-handedly the BEST hot x buns ever 🥰🙏🏼
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you so much, Vanessa! I'm overjoyed to hear that and thanks so much for taking the time to review - I appreciate it a lot! x Ania
Andy:
Absolutely amazing, best hot cross buns I've ever tasted. Thank you Ania!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you Andy! I'm delighted to hear that and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it! Ania
Rachel:
Hey, do you think it would work to prove these overnight in the fridge? If so would it be better to do it for the first or second proving? Thanks and happy Easter!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rachel,
    Yes, I think so (if fact one of my readers said she did that and it worked out well). I would say 1st proof would be safer as cold slows down yeast but if it's overnight they are still going to be proofing for at least 8hrs. Hope you'll enjoy these. Ania
Mogivi:
Great recipe. I tried it with slight modification in spices and it came out fabulous. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed these! Ania
Teri:
I don’t typically have applesauce on hand, do I have to use it? These look delicious!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Teri,
    You could sub with more coconut oil (fat) or well mashed up banana, but that may affect the flavour or simply compensate by using a fresh apple (finely diced) and adding more plant milk to compensate for some of the moisture that puree adds. Hope this helps! Ania
Sue:
Anita, these are adorable! I'll keep them in mind for when I have kitchen play time. Thanks for the recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Sue! I hope you'll enjoy them once you've had a chance to make them. x Ania
Heloise:
It looks very delicious. I will definitely do it for the family to try this recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Awesome, hope you and your family will enjoy it! x Ania
Keith Gooderham:
Absolutely luscious! Fabulous photography too!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, that's lovely to hear! Ania
Elizabeth:
Hello Ania,
Thank you for sharing this recipe, can’t wait to try it!
Just one thing, can I replace the flour for a gluten free all-purpose flour?
Thank you!
Elizabeth
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure! Unfortunately not, baking with gluten-free flours is entirely different. If you were to substitute the buns will fall apart! You would need to use a flour mix that includes high ratio of starches (like potato starch, cornstarch and tapioca) and a binder like psyllium husk powder or xantham gum, but I cannot give you specific ratios as I haven't attempted to make these gluten-free. Ania
Nellie Pigot:
Wonderful website Ania, great recipes. I am a Nutritionist in New Zealand and regularly refer my clients to your website :-)
Could I substitute gluten free flour in the same proportions for this recipe? I use Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.
Thanks, Nellie
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Nellie! I'm delighted to hear that you like my recipes and recommend them to your clients. Unfortunately it is not that simple - if you were to substitute the buns will probably fall apart! You would need to use a flour mix that includes high ratio of starches (like potato starch, cornstarch and tapioca) and a binder like psyllium husk powder or xantham gum, but I cannot give you specific ratios as I haven’t attempted to make these gluten-free, I'm afraid. I will get round to it at some point in the future but life has been a bit hectic lately. x Ania
Sajini thomas:
Many have allergies to yeast and fermenting agents as they produce histamine in the body. . Do you have a yeast free hot cross bun.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sajini,
    I don't, I'm afraid. Some form of yeast is essential in a recipe like this. I guess you could try using baking powder and baking soda, but I never have so cannot vouch for the results. Ania
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