A delicious hot cross bun wreath for Easter with cranberries and white chocolate is the ultimate centerpiece for your Easter table.
Hot cross buns are absolutely synonymous with Easter to me. It just won’t be Easter if there isn’t an excess of spiced, squishy hot cross buns eaten with ALL of the butter. I bake a few batches every year and this year decided to flavor the buns with chunks of creamy white chocolate and tart dried cranberries. And I decided that a hot cross bun wreath would be the perfect centerpiece for my Easter table this year. How pretty?
Depending on the size of the wreath you want (this will also be dictated by the size of pan/baking vessel you have), this recipe might make more buns than you can fit in the wreath. However, you can bake the rest of the dough in a baking sheet or make more than one wreath. This dough also freezes really well. Simply defrost the dough and allow to rise for 30 minutes before baking as directed.
How to make a hot cross bun wreath
Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Make the dough: Combine flour, yeast, sugar and spices in a large bowl then mix in milk, eggs, melted butter and sugar and mix until a rough dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the mixture is smooth. Place the dough in a bowl and cover and allow to rise for 1 hour. When the dough has proofed, knead in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks then allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Form the wreath: Form the dough into buns just smaller than tennis balls (they will rise more in the oven) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you are making a wreath, you would place the buns in circle. (I used a pizza stone to bake my wreath.)
- Pipe the crosses and bake: Mix together flour and water and pipe crosses on the top of the buns. Bake until golden brown and cooked through then brush with simple syrup for shine. Serve warm with butter.
Why are hot cross buns eaten at Easter?
There is no one explanation why hot cross buns are eaten at Easter but as far as I know they are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. They mark the end of Lent for some as they contain dairy which is not allowed during this period. The cross on top signifies the crucifixion of Jesus and it has been said that the spices in the buns represent for the spices used to embalm him.
What is the cross made from on hot cross buns?
Water and flour. Some hot cross bun recipes call for the buns to be iced with a icing/powdered sugar icing cross but I think they are best baked with a simple flour and water cross piped onto each bun.
Easter dessert recipes:
- Chocolate chunk hot cross buns
- Toasted coconut cupcakes
- Easter Candy bark
- Fruit plate with coconut chocolate ganache
White chocolate cranberry hot cross bun wreath
- 500 g (4 cups) flour
- 10 g (2 tsp) dry yeast
- 100 g (½ cup) sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 50 g (4 tbsp) butter (room temperature)
- 2 large eggs
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 1 cup (approx 100-150g) white chocolate roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
For the crosses
- 5 tbsp flour
- 3-4 tbsp water
For the glaze
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, spices and salt in a bowl and mix until combined.
- In a measuring jug, whisk together the melted butter, eggs and milk then pour into the dry ingredients.
- Mix until a sticky, soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- Place the dough into a bowl and cover with clingfilm and allow to rise for 1 hour
- When the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and knead in the raisins and chocolate. Return to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and line a large baking tray/round oven-proof dish with baking paper. (I used a pizza stone.)
- Form dough balls roughly the size of golf balls out of the risen dough and place on the prepared baking tray in a large circle.
- Mix together the flour and water and pipe crosses onto the buns.
- Allow to rise for another 30 minutes then place in the pre-heated oven.
- Allow to bake for 25-30 minutes until the hot cross buns are golden brown and cooked through.
- While the buns are baking, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and allow to come to a boil.
- When the buns have baked, remove them from the oven and immediately brush the glaze over the top.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving with butter.