Easter Baking: Hot Cross Buns, Cornflake & Simnel Cakes

Easter Baking: Hot Cross Buns, Cornflake & Simnel Cakes

Try our simple and delicious recipes with the whole family in the run up to the Easter weekend.

Lay decorated Easter cornflake cakes and a traditional simnel cake at the centre your table and if you're a star baker, kneed up a batch of Hot Cross Buns in time for Good Friday.

On the hunt for for Easter decoration inspiration? Read our styling ideas here.

Hot Cross Buns


50g soft butter
200ml milk 
2 eggs
3 large eggs
500g strong bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 heaped teaspoons of mixed spice
50g caster sugar

For the crosses & glaze:

3 tablespoons plain flour
honey or golden syrup to glaze

Tip the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt, mixed spice and sugar. Cube the butter and rub it in with your fingertips. Add the dried fruit before sprinkling over the yeast and giving it a stir to blend.

Gently warm the milk so it is warm. Beat with the eggs, then pour into the dried ingredients.

Using a hand mixer with dough hooks attached or a blunt knife, mix the ingredients to a moist dough, then leave to soak for 5 mins. Take out of the bowl and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Shape the dough into buns on a floured surface. Space apart on a baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film, then leave in a warm place until half again in size. This will take between 45 minutes and 90 minutes depending on how warm the room is.

When the buns have risen, heat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C.

Mix the flour with 2 tbsp water to make a paste. Pour into a piping bag – you can use a plastic food bag with a hole in one corner. Pipe crosses on top of each bun.

Bake for 12-15 mins until risen and golden. Trim the excess cross mixture from the buns, then brush all over with honey or golden syrup. 

Eat fresh with lots of butter or save an toast when your guests arrive.


Easter Cornflake Cakes

Ingredients (makes 24) 

75g butter
200g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
4 tbsp golden syrup
200g cornflakes 


Melt butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat. Then remove and cool for five to ten minutes.

Put 24 cupcake cases on to a muffin tray or baking tray.

Stir the cornflakes into the mixture and add into the cupcake cases.

Add two or three small chocolate eggs to each cake. Allow to set and then tuck in.

Fill your nests with Mini Eggs for the ultimate Easter treat, served (of course) on a Mini Eggs patterned plate.  


Simnel Cake Recipe


For the cake
150g sultanas
150g currants
75g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
50g mixed peel
75ml rum
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
200g soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs
75g golden syrup
200g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
1 orange, zested

For the decoration
500g golden marzipan
2-3 tbsp apricot jam


Tip the dried fruits, cherries, mixed peel and rum into a bowl and soak for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.

Heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 3. Butter and line the bottom of a deep cake tin. Beat together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs followed by the syrup.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and mixed spice. Then gently fold this into the butter mixture - followed by the soaked dried fruit (and the liquid the fruit has been soaking in) plus the orange zest.

Add ½ of the cake batter to the prepared cake tin and put to the side.

Roll out ⅓ of the marzipan and cut out an 18cm circle. Gently put on top of the cake batter and spread the rest of the cake batter on top.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until dark golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before adding to wire rack.

Use the marzipan to create 11 small balls. With the rest marzipan and cut out a 20cm circle – be sure to leave enough to hang over the sides of the cake. Add a layer of apricot jam on the top of the cooled cake and put the marzipan circle on top. Use your fingers to crimp the edges of the marzipan and top with the marzipan balls.

To finish, pop under a hot grill for a minute of two - remove when starting to caramelise (be careful it will burn quickly).