Hot Cross Buns

Somehow in all the quarantine chaos, we managed to track down flour AND yeast!
Traditional but also comforting, these fruity, yeasty sweet rolls bring some happy to our stress baking.

It’s crazy to be “celebrating” anything really while in quarantine, but we’ve managed to do my birthday and it’ll be my daughter’s next week. These really are the times to make the best of it.

Happy Baking and good health to you all.



1 1/2 Cups (Any non-dairy) Milk
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
4 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus more, if necessary, for kneading
1 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground, Black Cardamom
1 Tablespoon Crystalized Ginger, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 Cup Dried Blueberries
2/3 Cup Candied Orange Peel, chopped*

2 Tablespoons Apricot Jam, warmed

Orange Icing

1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Orange Juice*


Cover the dried blueberries with boiling water to soften. Set aside.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit until it bubbles, about 5-10 minutes.
Warm the milk, checking the temperature to just lukewarm and add the yeasted water to a bowl of a stand mixer. (or a large bowl to mix by hand). Combine with the sugar and salt to dissolve.
At a low speed, mix in the melted coconut oil.
One cup at a time, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The dough should be sticky but pliable.
Drain the blueberries and add them along with the peel.
Continue to knead, adding the remaining flour as necessary to have the dough come together and release from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease a large, clean bowl and transfer the dough to rest and rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
After the first rise, cut the dough in half, and roll into an tube to cut it into 9 pieces. Repeat to get 18 total. Shape pieces into a ball and evenly place on a parchment lined baking sheet them in six rows of three. Slash a X on the top of each.
Cover and let double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake until golden; about 20-22 minutes.
Glaze with warmed apricot jam and once cool, line the tops with orange icing.

*Make your own candied orange peel or just use zest, keeping the juice for the icing.

Gum Drop Cake

Had enough sugar yet today?

My Nana used to make this cake for us when we were kids.

I’m not sure if it’s one of those depression era cakes that remind me of grandma’s and farmhouses or if it’s just a classically good everyday cake that’s delicious enough to serve for any celebration.
…And most days are worth celebrating, aren’t they?


1/2 Cup Butter, vegan
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Cup Plain Soy Milk
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Chopped Gum Drops, about 15

Combine the milk with the lemon juice and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a loaf pan with butter and flour.
Cream the butter with the sugar.
Add the salt, cinnamon, baking powder and soda.
Alternating, add about one third of the milk and 1/2 cup of flour until it has all been incorporated.
Stir in the chopped gumdrops to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester is cleanly removed.

Cool completely before serving.
If desired drizzle with a tangelo glaze:

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
Zest and juice of 1 tangelo

Sift the sugar and add the zest.
Whisk in the juice until smooth, add water, one drop at a time, if necessary.

SPRING!!! & Oh Yeah, Hot Crossed Buns

Clawing from the depths of a seemingly endless winter, spring has finally arrived.
Of course with about a foot of snow still remaining outside of my urban home and the prediction of 6 more weeks of crappy weather, it’s a little hard to believe. Thankfully with the double whammy of this beloved first day and an early Easter, I was compelled to fill my house with flowers and the scent of cinnamony Hot Crossed Buns.

I swear I don’t remember eating these since I was a kid – back when I pulled one flattened, from a lavender and yellow bag only to be thoroughly disappointed that the cross wasn’t pure icing. Hunks of candied fruit, maraschino cherries, raisins.
Mm, delicious.

With a certain need to perk up into spring, I set off to recreate my own version. I combined dried cranberries with my own candied orange peel, for something a little more to my tastes. I have to admit that the candied peel was a bit time consuming but fun none the less. I opted to do it the night before, but made enough for a bit extra, which was a good thing since my kids surprisingly mistook it for Easter candy and were caught gobsmacking the orange loot. For a two year old with an orange peel, that must say something. But my little Easter buns were golden and puffed and I couldn’t help but sweeten the paste for the crosses, just for old time sake. Served slightly toasted with some cold butter, I thought these would be perfect to celebrate the equinox and serve up with Sunday brunch.


1 1/2 Cups Soy Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Vegetable or Safflower Oil
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
2 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus more, if necessary, for kneading
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Crystalized Ginger, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
3/4 Cup Candied Orange Peel, chopped

Hot Cross Paste

3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Water

Heat the soy milk and stir in the sugar to dissolve.
Add the salt and oil and cool to a lukewarm temperature.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit until it bubbles.
Measure out the flours and spices into the a large bowl or one of a stand mixer.
Stir the yeast and with the motor running, add it along with the warm milk to form a dough.
Add the cranberries and chopped peel.
Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, turning the dough out with the additional flour, if necessary to a board to completely work in the fruit.
Lightly grease a large, clean bowl and let the dough rest and rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
After the rise, roll the dough into an 18 inch long tube, then cut it into 18 pieces.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and roll each piece into a ball and evenly place them in six rows of three.
Cover and let double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Mix up the paste mixture and lightly indent each bun with a knife with a cross, then pipe the paste over.
Bake until golden; about 10 – 15 minutes.
Glaze with reserved sugar syrup from candying the oranges or with heated, strained apricot jam.