Hot Cross Buns From The 1900s – Try Your Hand At Baking Vintage Forgotten Greats

Hot cross buns — sweet, spiced buns that are baked with raisins or currants and have a distinctive cross-shaped icing on top — are a traditional treat that have been a part of Easter celebrations for centuries.

Hot cross buns and have a rich history and cultural significance — the cross is often seen as a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus and the treat is usually eaten on Good Friday, the day that commemorates the crucifixion.

This image and the recipes for hot cross buns for Easter are from a book published in 1900, at the end of the Victorian era.


  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/3 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cake compressed yeast or 1 cake quick-acting granular yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3-1/2 all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 1 egg white

Powdered sugar icing

  • Combine milk, shortening, cup sugar, and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Mix the 1 teaspoon sugar with yeast that has been softened in lukewarm water, and add to lukewarm milk mixture.

  • Add egg, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, and as much sifted all-purpose flour as can be stirred into the dough (3-1/2 to 4 cups).
  • Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  • Knead, shape into 2-inch balls, and arrange on greased pan.
  • Brush each bun with egg white, cover, and let rise until double in bulk.

  • Snip a deep cross in the top of each with scissors.
  • Bake 15 minutes in preheated 400 F oven. Remove from pan immediately.
  • Cool on wire cake rack.
  • When cool, fill the cross on top of each bun with powdered sugar icing.

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