Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns

First, I can’t believe we’re entering the third week of March already. Second, I can’t believe Easter is this week. I know Easter is early this year, but holy moly, it has come around quickly!

Every year I make a batch of hot-cross buns, but I figured it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m still on a “small-batch cinnamon bun” run, so I’ve merged my classic hot-cross bun recipe with my small-batch cinnamon buns, and voila – Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns for Easter! | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

I’ve never been a big fan of store-bought mixed peel. You know, those containers of crystalized fruit chunks, sitting in some weird, super-sweet syrup, that never seem to have a best-before date attached to them… But I do like orange zest and fresh-squeezed orange juice! Adding this to the goo-mixtures really gives these cinnamon buns a good spring-time flavour. | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

I used my simple small-batch cinnamon bun dough recipe, adding nutmeg, cloves, ground ginger and cinnamon. Already, this smells like Easter to me 🙂

There are a few changes I made for these hot-cross cinnamon buns:

  • I tried raisins in my first batch, then dried cranberries in my second batch. It may not be a classic ingredient, but Jonty and I both loved the sweet-tart flavour of the cranberries!
  • While the dough was rising, I squeezed the juice from one orange and the zest from half the orange into a small bowl. I let the cranberries soak in this mixture, to soften the fruit. | Hot-cross cinnamon | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

Like my previous cinnamon bun recipes, I opt for the overnight method. Once the buns are rolled and placed into the tray, I cover them tightly with plastic and place them into the fridge overnight for a slow rise. You can definitely bake them the same day you make them – I’ve done both, and both are wonderful – it’s just a matter of how much time you have spare. | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

The goo in the bottom of the pan is a mixture of brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. It infuses into the dough just enough to make your cinnamon buns taste like Easter buns 🙂 | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

With a bit of cream cheese icing piped into a cross shape on the top, I think these Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns will be a welcome addition to your Easter breakfast menu!

Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the cinnamon bun dough
  • 200 g (~1½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1½ tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 5 g (1¼ tsp) instant yeast
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground all-spice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 150 mL warm milk
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the filling
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 12 g (1 tbsp) white sugar
  • 7 g (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the goo
  • 40 g (2½ tbsp) melted butter
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • 1 - 2 tbsp water
For the icing, if using
  • 40 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 - 4 tbsp milk
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, dried yeast and all of the spices. Add the warm milk and melted butter. Knead with the dough hook attachment for 5 to 8 minutes, until you have a soft, slightly tacky ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at at time, kneading thoroughly in between.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly-floured surface briefly, then return the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, place the orange juice and orange zest into a small bowl and add the dried cranberries. This will infuse some of the orange into the cranberries and help to soften them. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon, and set aside.
  4. When you're ready to assemble the cinnamon buns, sprinkle the counter-top with a bit of flour and roll the dough into a long, narrow rectangle. Pour the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar mixture, right to the edge of the dough. Remove the cranberries from the orange juice, squeezing out any excess juice, and spread them over the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  5. Starting at the narrow end, roll the dough into a log shape, as tight as you can make it. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Make the goo for the bottom of the cinnamon buns by melting together the butter, brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Add water to reach a pourable consistency. Pour this into the bottom of a 8x8-inch pan. Arrange the four cinnamon buns on top of the goo mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with plastic and either refrigerate overnight, or leave in a warm place to rise (about 1 hour).
  8. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. For the overnight method, leave the buns on the counter for least 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the goo mixture is bubbling.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
  11. If icing the cinnamon buns, beat together the softened cream cheese and icing sugar. Add in the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until a smooth, pourable icing is achieved.

Enjoy! | Hot-cross cinnamon buns


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