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Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free

This gluten-free Hot Cross Bun Cake is a tasty, healthy (ish), and easy alternative to hot cross buns, filled with spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg and sweetened with maple syrup. It has all the flavours without the gluten, dairy, eggs, or refined sugar you would find in traditional buns, and did I mention it's a vegan, one-bowl recipe which means it's the perfect cake to bake in school holidays and during Lent.

Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free
Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free
What is a Hot Cross Bun Cake?

A traditional hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bread bun made with raisins and sultanas and marked with a cross at the top and traditionally eaten on Good Friday after Lent. Traditional buns involve kneading and rising and this is why I have created a fast and easy alternative to this process. My Hot Cross Bun Cake has the same flavours as buns but has a velvety texture that is moist and slightly crumbly. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, afternoon tea, and dessert and pairs perfectly with fresh whipped cream or ice cream. As it's not too sweet, it can be served any time of day.

How to Make It

Helpful Tips

Baking with Gluten-Free Flours

It is very important that the ingredients are measured as baking with gluten-free flour can be tricky. The ratio of ingredients needs to be measured correctly for the reaction between ingredients to create the desired result. The same goes for the baking temperature. Gluten-free flour tends to brown faster, yet takes longer to cook, hence why the suggested oven temperature should be followed correctly. A ten-degree difference can result in a wet cake that is burnt.

Combining Ingredients

It is important that the dry ingredients are whisked and combined first, then the wet ingredients are whisked and combined, before folding in the two (rather than simply adding all the ingredients in the bowl at one time). This ensures terrific results and a fluffy texture.

Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free
Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free

How to Make this Hot Cross Bun Cake

This will be one of the easiest gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan-friendly cakes you will make. Add all in one bowl and bake!

  1. Combine the dry ingredients using a whisk, then make a well in the centre of the ingredients.

  2. Add the wet ingredients into the well and whisk until well combined.

  3. Fold the dry and wet ingredients together.

  4. Pour cake batter into a prepared baking tin.

  5. Make the cross over the top by combining flour and water.

  6. Bake

  7. Brush apricot jam over the top.

  8. Serve and enjoy!

Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free
Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free

More Gluten-Free Desserts and Sweet Snacks

Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free
Hot Cross Bun Cake, gluten-free

Hot Cross Bun Cake, Gluten-Free

This recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and a one-bowl recipe.

Serves 8

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 50 minutes

Cake Tin: 20-22cm


Dry Ingredients:

250g (1 ½ cups) self-raising flour, gluten-free

150g (2 cups) almond flour

80g (½ cup) sultanas

2 tablespoons psyllium husk

2 tablespoons orange zest

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda, gluten-free

Optional: 2 hollow chocolate easter eggs, broken into bits (dairy-free, sugar-free optional)

Wet Ingredients:

250ml (1 cup) milk of choice (I used almond milk)

125ml (½ cup) freshly squeezed orange juice

110g (solid weight) coconut oil, then melted

75g (¼ cup) maple syrup

1 tablespoon white vinegar


1 tablespoon gluten-free flour

1.5 tablespoons water


1 tablespoon orange or apricot jam (optional to use a sugar-free jam)


1. Place all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and using a whisk, combine well. Then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients by gently pushing the dry ingredients against the sides of the bowl.

2. Pour into the well all the wet ingredients, and using the whisk, combine the wet ingredients. Once combined, grab a spatula and run the scraper around the edges of the bowl and the bottom, pulling the dry ingredients over and into the wet mixture. Continue mixing until combined.

3. Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced / 190°C conventional oven / 375°F. Line the baking tin with baking paper. Pour the cake batter into the baking tin.

4. To make the cross, combine the flour and water in a small bowl, and pipe a cross pattern on the uncooked cake. Place into the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Once cooked, place one tablespoon of apricot jam onto the cake, and brush to spread all over. Allow cooling in the baking tin for 10 minutes before placing it onto a wire rack to bring it to room temperature. Serve on its own, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Gluten-Free Hot Cross Bun Cake
Gluten-Free Hot Cross Bun Cake

Recipe and Photography Margaret Pahos for @CreateCookShare

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