Spelt Hot Cross Buns with Dates Raisins and Orange: no eggs, no dairy

Spelt Hot Cross Buns with Dates Raisins and Orange: no eggs, no dairy

This recipe is based on the spelt hot cross buns I created last year. This year I have added dates and a little cardamom. Still made without dairy. These buns are soft and fluffy and my family have told me these are the best hot cross buns I have ever made. Made with white spelt flour (you could add some wholegrain if preferred), fast-dried yeast, plant-based milk, dates, fresh orange juice and zest, spices and a little oil. They will last in a container for up to three days. Be warned they will not last that long.

Takes = prep. 10 minutes, the first rise 60 minutes, the second rise 30 minutes
Bakes = 20 minutes
Makes = 12 small buns approx. 90g dough ball


  • Warm milk (I use soya) – 250ml (about 1 cup)
  • Dried instant dried yeast – 10g, 3.5 teaspoons, (1.5 x 7g packets)
  • Spelt flour – 525g (about 3 cups + 3/4 cup)* plus extra for kneading, you may need a little extra
  • Ground cinnamon –  2 teaspoon
  • Mixed spice – 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cardamom – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zest of an orange (approx. 1 orange)
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Maple syrup (or honey) – 3 tablespoon
  • Orange juice from 1 orange
  • Sunflower oil or vegetable oil – 75g (1/4 cup + 1tbsp)
  • Dates, deseeded and chopped – 200g
  • Raisins – 60g (1/3 cup)

Cross Batter

  • Spelt Flour – 60g (4 tablespoons)
  • Water – 50ml (about 1/4 cup)
  • piping bag + small plain nozzle

Shiny Sugar Glaze (optional)

  • Water – 50ml (1/4 cup)
  • Caster sugar – 50g (1/4 cup)


Step 1
WARM milk on the stove for 2 minutes or in the microwave for 2 x 30-sec bursts. Rest until warm to the touch (finger test works for me). Then stir in yeast and maple syrup and let bubble for 5 minutes.

Step 2
WHISK flour, spices and salt to combine in a large bowl. Add in orange zest. Then once the yeast has bubbled, pour it into the flour mix, and gently mix add in orange juice and oil. Knead on the mixer on medium with a dough hook for 5 minutes or by hand for 8 minutes. Once smooth add in fruit and combine until evenly spread. If the dough looks too sticky and loose add a little more flour. Remove once the dough is smooth and the fruit is blended. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and rest in a warm spot for 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Prepare your baking tin either a rectangular 12 x 9 x 2 inches (30.5 x 22.8 x 5cm) or a flat baking tray 15 x 10 inches (37.5 x 25cm), greased and lined with baking paper for easy removal of the buns once cooked.

Step 3
REMOVE the risen dough and place it onto a floured bench or large breadboard. Gently pat down to release some air then divide into 9 (125g) or 12 (90g) balls. Stretch and pull each piece of dough into a tight ball, and place it on a greased and lined tray 2cm apart. Once all is complete, cover the tray with an oil piece of plastic wrap. Rest again to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 210˚C, 190˚C fan-forced 20 minutes before baking.

Step 4
CROSS batter, whisk together all ingredients into a small bowl. Transfer the thick batter into a piping bag with a small plain round nozzle or use a plain plastic bag with the end cut on a diagonal to make a small hole. once the buns have risen for the second time, gently pipe a long line vertically and horizontally to make the cross. Bake in the warm oven for approx. 20 minutes until golden. I always place a small ramekin of water at the base of the oven.

Step 5
HEAT the water and sugar in a small pot to make the glaze. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has reduced slightly.

Step 6
BRUSH the glaze generously onto the top of the buns immediately after they have been baked. Cool in the tray for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store in a sealed container for a few days, however, these buns are best eaten on the same day.