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Hot Cross Bun Loaf

A twist on the traditional Easter favourite, this spiced fruity loaf is perfect for sharing with friends and family over the holidays. It's delicious served freshly baked with a cuppa, or toasted and topped with vegan butter and jam.
Recipe lightly adapted from 'Hot Crossed Loaf' in Vegan Life magazine, Issue 49
5 from 1 vote
Hands-on time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Elevenses, Treat
Cuisine English
Servings 10


For the dough:

  • 7 g / 2¼ tsp fast action (easy bake) yeast
  • 1 tsp unrefined sugar
  • 120 ml / ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 180 ml / ¾ cup lukewarm plant-based milk (I used soya milk)
  • 75 ml / ⅓ cup neutral-flavoured oil (I used rapeseed (canola) oil)
  • 1 TBSP mixed spice (or substitute with pumpkin spice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50 g / ¼ cup unrefined sugar
  • 500 g / 3½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 135 g / ¾ cup mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, candied orange peel and dried cranberries)

For the glaze:

  • 1 TBSP maple syrup (or for a super shiny glaze, see Notes below)

For the cross topping:

  • 35 g / ¼ cup icing (confectioners) sugar
  • ½ TBSP fruit juice
  • 2-3 drops of orange extract


  • Add the yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water to a large mixing bowl and hand whisk to combine. Leave for a few minutes.
  • When the yeast has frothed, add the lukewarm milk, oil, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, salt and sugar to the bowl. Hand whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour, a little at a time, stirring with a spoon until it forms a dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes adding more flour, as needed, until it is smooth and no longer sticky.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. (If your house is cold, cover the bowl with a piece of foil and place in the oven at a very low temperature (40C).
  • Add the dried fruit and knead to distribute it as evenly as possible through the dough. Grease and line a large (3lb) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper (or use a non-stick loaf liner). Place the dough in the prepared tin and cover with a tea towel. Leave to prove in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
  • When the dough is almost ready, pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) / 400F.
  • Brush the top of the dough with maple syrup (or skip this step if you’ve opted for the super shiny glaze option - see Notes below).
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped.
  • Once the loaf has cooled, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add ½ TBSP fruit juice and a couple of drops of orange extract. Keep stirring until a thick icing has formed - it should be thick enough that it doesn’t drop off the spoon easily. Spoon into a piping bag and criss cross your loaf. Allow the icing to set before serving.
  • Stored in an airtight container, the loaf will keep fresh for a couple of days. After this, it is best served with some dairy-free butter. It is also delicious toasted.


For a super shiny glaze, once the loaf has baked, gently simmer 1½ TBSP unrefined sugar with 1½ TBSP fruit juice in a small saucepan, stirring regularly until the glaze has reduced and thickened. Immediately brush the glaze on top of the warm loaf, then leave to cool. If using this glaze, the maple syrup at Step 7 can be omitted.
Keyword Easter, Hot Cross Bun, Spiced Fruit Loaf, Vegan