Happy Easter – Hot cross bun inspired cupcakes

 Hot cross bun cupcakes


Happy Easter everybody! I hope you are all having a lovely relaxing long weekend and enjoying time with family, friends and good food (especially for all the chocoholics out there).

I remember how excited I would get as a child waiting for it to be light enough so my brother and I could get up and go on our Easter egg hunt. We would stay at our Nanna’s house every Easter. She lived in a small two bedroom unit and had an amazing courtyard garden, full of hanging baskets and pot plants that made great hiding places for Easter eggs. We had a great time, although our poor Nanna didn’t get much sleep with us up at first light and awake long before that.

These days, my favourite Easter food isn’t the chocolate eggs but hot cross buns. I love the smell of the spices when they are cooking (though I don’t like them with citrus peel in), and they are just delicious eaten warm with some butter/margarine and maybe some honey. Last year I had a go at making my own at home (recipe here). So this year I decided to try something different…cupcakes inspired by the spices I love in my hot cross buns. They turned out pretty good, although they don’t taste exactly like hot cross buns. But the spices and orange zest in the cake are lovely and the creamy tart cream cheese frosting makes a nice contrast. I left the sultanas/fruit peel out however you could easily add it in either to the cake mix, frosting or both. I was also going to drizzle the top with honey, but my honey was crystallised and honestly they don’t need to be any sweeter.

So here is my recipe for hot cross bun inspired cupcakes. Happy Easter!

Hot cross bun inspired cupcakes

Click for pdf print version of recipe

Makes 16 cupcakes


  • 200ml vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil – I use grapeseed, you could use canola or sunflower – but don’t use olive oil)
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (59g each)
  • 200g natural yoghurt (full fat)
  • 50ml orange juice
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 300g self raising flower
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (depending on how much spice you like, I used a whole teaspoon)
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I used a whole teaspoon)
  • Optional – you could also add some sultanas/mixed peel (100 – 150g) if you like


1. Add sugar and the zest and juice of the orange to a large bowl and mix (I use a hand whisk) to combine. Then add in the remaining wet ingredients (oil, eggs & yoghurt). Mix until combined

2. Sift in the flour and spices and mix until combined.

3. Cover (or place in a plastic container) and place in the fridge until you are ready to bake (best to leave it for a day/overnight – 4 hours minimum recommended).

4. Preheat oven to 160C fan forced (180C without the fan). Line your tins with cupcake cases.

5. If you want to use sultanas/mixed peel fold them in gently just before you are ready to cook the cupcakes.

6. Fill each cupcake case about ½ – 2/3rds of the way (easy way to fill is either to pipe them in or use a cupcake/ice-cream scoop).

7. Place in oven and bake for:

  • 13-15 minutes for mini cupcakes
  • 23-25 minutes for normal cupcakes (1/3 cup tin)
  • Approximately 35 minutes for muffin sized cakes
  • 1 – 1 ¼ hours for a 20cm cake tin.

8. The cupcakes are cooked if they spring back when you press the top, or a skewer comes out clean. Because of the spices they do go a lovely deep golden brown colour.

9. Allow to cool before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting

Makes enough for one batch of cupcakes


  • 250g cream cheese – room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 80g unsalted butter – room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 170g pure icing sugar
  • Optional – you could add some sultanas/mixed peel to this if you want instead of the cupcakes


1. Using an electric hand whisk (or a stand mixer with the beater attachment), beat the butter until it is smooth and free of lumps. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally to ensure you get it all smooth.

2. Add the cream cheese a bit at a time whilst beating. Make sure to scrape down the sides occasionally. Once it is combined and light and fluffy, sift in the icing sugar. Mix this in by hand until combined (if you over mix it will become watery).

3. If using, gently stir through the sultanas/mixed peel.

4.Pipe onto cupcakes and refrigerate until needed. I like to use a large round nozzle for this recipe.

5.Decorate with piped chocolate crosses or Easter eggs.

6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to serve.

Adapted from Base Cup Cake and Cream Cheese frosting recipes from Sarah Brigden at babyCakes.


Hot cross bun cupcakes 2


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