Not Hot Cross Buns

I love a well-made hot cross bun but I haven’t had much time this week, so if you find yourself in a similar position, you might like this fruity, spiced soda bread. It’ll feed a lot more people than a bag of HCBs from the shop. 

It’s a version of the wheaten loaf you’ll find elsewhere on these pages, but bumped up to a sweet treat with nuts, dried fruit and warming spices.

The raising agent is baking powder, so there’s no hanging around waiting for dough to rise, which if you’re trying to cram this into an already over-crowded evening before the house fills with (naturally, much loved) family for Easter, that’s something of a bonus.

It takes a while to cook but it doesn’t need coddling while it does so. You can slope off and make dinner, have a bath, pour yourself a large glass of something … just remember to set a timer.

Adjust the amount of sugar to your personal taste. I prefer it with the smaller amount but those with a sweeter tooth might find that a bit worthy.

You will need a large loaf tin, as this mixture is runnier than most soda breads.

Happy Easter!

Sweet and Spicy Soda Bread

  • Servings: makes 1 large loaf
  • Print

Image of sweet and spicy soda bread, sliced and buttered


350g wholemeal flour

150g plain white flour

15g bran

1 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda

1 1/4 tspn salt

50-80g soft brown sugar

40g pecans or walnuts, chopped

80g dried fruit (I used cranberries and sultanas)

1 tea bag (or loose-leafed equivalent, strained), for soaking the fruit

2 tspn ground ginger

2 tspn powdered cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)

600ml buttermilk (or whole milk soured with 1 tbsp lemon juice)

2 tbsp runny honey, to glaze

Image of sweet and spicy soda bread, glazed


Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Soak the dried fruit in strong hot tea and set aside.

Stir all the dry ingredients together, then stir in the buttermilk to form a dropping consistency. Drain the fruit and mix through, with the zest, if using.

Pour into a very well-greased 2lb/1kg loaf tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (check after one hour), until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Turn out of the tin, then gently heat 2 tbsp of runny honey and brush it over the top of the loaf while it’s still warm. Cool on a wire rack before serving sliced and buttered. It’s best eaten within a day or so of making, although it will toast and freeze well (in which case you may prefer to leave off the glaze). 

3 thoughts on “Not Hot Cross Buns

    • I haven’t tried, Margaret. You could try baking it in bun cases but you’d need to experiment with the timings. I’m loathe to offer advice without trying it myself. You could perhaps make a big one, cut it up and freeze it in sections while keeping enough out for your current needs. Lx

Leave a Reply