Orange and Marzipan Hot Cross Buns

It wouldn’t be Easter without hot cross buns, and Alice’s sweet, tangy orange and marzipan version are a tasty twist on the classic seasonal favorite. Serve toasted, with a slather of butter, for a delicious breakfast or a much needed afternoon pick me up.


Ingredients – to make 8 hot cross buns.


For the hot cross buns:

450g strong white flour, plus a little more for dusting

7g dried yeast

Zest of one orange

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons mixed spice

70g unsalted butter

350ml milk

100g sultanas

150g marzipan, cut into small cubes


For the cross:

3 tablespoons plain flour

3 tablespoons water


For the glaze:

1 tablespoon marmalade

1 tablespoon boiling water



  • Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  • Rub the yeast into the flour and butter mixture.
  • Add the orange zest, mixed spice, salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until it feels soft but not sticky.
  • Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
  • When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle.
  • Sprinkle the sultanas and cubes of marzipan over the rectangle of dough.
  • Fold the dough up into a ball and give it a quick knead, so that the fruit and marzipan cubes are evenly distributed.
  • Roll the dough into a large sausage shape and then cut it into 8 equal pieces.
  • Roll each of the pieces into a ball and then place onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper (making sure to leave a good gap between each one).
  • Cover the baking tray with a tea towel and leave the buns to rise for about an hour, or until the have noticeably puffed up.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
  • Make the paste for the cross by mixing together the plain flour and water. You want it to have a soft consistency (as you need to pipe it), but not be too runny, as it won’t hold its shape.
  • Place the paste into a disposable piping bag and cut a small hole in the end.
  • When the buns have risen, pipe a cross onto each one using the paste.
  • Bake the hot cross buns for around 20 minutes, or until the crust has turned a very dark golden brown.
  • Make the glaze by mixing together the boiling water and marmalade.
  • When the buns have come out of the oven, brush over the marmalade glaze and then leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

These hot cross buns will last for a couple of days, wrapped up well and stored in a cool dark place (not the fridge).


Little tip: Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid, so we would add ¾ of the suggested liquid to the mixture at first and then if the dough feels a little dry, you can always add some more.



Alice Shields is a food blogger & trained pastry chef.  The former Newman college student sparked her passion for patisserie whilst watching her Grandparents create delicious treats at their former bakery on Ribbleton Avenue. For more recipes & tips check out her blog.