Hot Cross Buns Roll Cake

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Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll is an interpretation of our Easter favorite, Hot Cross Buns!

Hot Cross Buns
You simply cannot celebrate Easter without hot-cross-buns. This year, the hot-cross-buns turned into a Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll and I couldn’t be more excited! This Easter sweet treat combines sweet cinnamon, raisins, and a soft dough creating a fruit packed cake with a sweet glaze cross to finish the look.

WHY didn’t anyone tell me that Easter is this coming weekend?!?

This is happening all too fast. I haven’t even decided on my egg dyes!

Life, slow down.

For the love of my sanity, please, let’s make Mondays be Sundays, and Sundays… well, they need to stay as Sundays. I need AT LEAST 1 more day between Sunday and Monday.

One more question. WHY didn’t anyone tell me that Topanga and Cory are coming back to TV?! OMG! I am going to BURST! SO HAPPY!! I am such a ’90’s-freak. Nostalgia galore for my teen years!

Now all we need to do is bring back Monica, Chandler, Rachel, and Ross. And I’m complete. Where’s that time machine, already? It’s 2014. Weren’t we all supposed to have flying-cars by now?

Hot Buns Rolls

If I had a time machine, I would go back even further, to my grandma’s kitchen and watch her make Easter bread, or what is very similar to this Hot Cross Buns Roll Cake, which we call Kozenjak. Or Milibrod, depending on what region of Macedonia you’re from.

When I asked my Mom for Baba’s recipe, she said, “oh, it’s easy! Some milk, some eggs, flour, raisins…you know!” You got measurements, Mom? “We don’t measure – we just make and bake”, was her answer. Well then… I’ll just hop over to this beautiful Hot Cross Buns Loaf  from Williams Sonoma and get myself some measurements. THAT was my answer.

I saw that loaf and fell in love. I made it a few times, looking for flaws, different possibilities, but nope. It’s pretty much perfect. The only difference is that I elongated the dough and baked it in a narrower loaf pan. Other than that, I followed the recipe, almost exactly – not much needed to be changed. Any changes were due to personal taste.
I just wanted a different look, and something that could be cut up smaller, and served as dessert during our Easter lunch. My parents have at least 15 guests coming by, including us – I need something that will satisfy each one of us. This Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll will absolutely do just that.

Hot Cross Cake

I’m also pretty much down with the fact that anything can be called a cake. My favorite part of making this pretty ol’ thing was the wait time, in between rising and stuff… NOT! I know it’s worth it, but dang, it takes for.evah! But, please don’t be discouraged. It’s just too, too good to pass up. I swear.


Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll

11 11 11
WW Freestyle: 11
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time4 hrs 35 mins
Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll is an interpretation of our Easter favorite, Hot Cross Buns!
Course: Dessert / Holidays
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 16 Makes 2 loaves
Calories: 273


For the Roll

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast 2-1/4 teaspoons
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup raisins or dried currants
  • zest of one orange

For the Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg white beaten with a little warm water

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk


  • Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat.
  • Stir in milk and sugar and continue to cook until milk is warm; about 110°F.
  • Pour milk mixture into your mixer's bowl.
  • Add yeast and let stand 10 minutes, or until foamy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; add to yeast mixture.
  • Add the eggs, raisins (or currants), and orange zest to the yeast mixture.
  • Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 10 minutes.
  • Form the dough into a ball; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm spot for 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled.
  • In the meantime, make the filling.
  • In a bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon; mix until combined.
  • Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans with butter.*I used two 11x3-inch loaf pans.*
  • Transfer dough to a floured work surface.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Roll out each half into an 8-inch square.
  • Smear each square with half of the cinnamon-sugar filling.
  • Roll up the dough, pinch seams to seal, and place seam side down in the previously prepared pan. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1?2 hours, or until puffy.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a small bowl combine egg white and water; whisk until combined.
  • Brush the loaves with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Turn out loaves onto racks and let cool completely.
  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon extract and milk; mix until well combined.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the tops of the cooled loaves before cutting.


***If you'd like to make the Loaf longer, like I did, use a 11x3-inch loaf pan. Be sure to also roll out the dough to about a 10-inch square.
*Adapted from Williams Sonoma
Nutrition Facts
Hot Cross Buns Cake Roll
Amount Per Serving
Calories 273 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 37mg12%
Sodium 219mg9%
Potassium 151mg4%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 229IU5%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 43mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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10 Responses
  1. Connie | URBAN BAKES

    Oh my, this is absolutely gorgeous and your photos are stunning too. I’m right there with ya… there needs to be another day between Sunday and Monday. Life sure does move waayy too fast.

  2. marcie

    I loved Friends! So many new sitcoms come out trying to follow the Friends format and it just doesn’t work. This roll cake looks incredible — I really need to try this!

  3. Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    It cracks me up when I ask my mom or aunt for a recipe and they say a little of this and some of that.

    This cake looks delicious!

  4. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life

    I feel like I missed the Easter memo, too. Time flies! And ohhh my, this bread/cake/roll looks beyond delicious! What a creative way to make hot cross buns!

  5. Meg @ The Housewife in Training Files

    Isn’t that the worst part of baking…having to wait?! Not good for a chef with no patience! This looks to die for!

  6. sally @ sallys baking addiction

    TOTALLY agree on bringing back Friends. I say that to myself every time I watch reruns on TV – which is everyday. I miss them! I love hot cross buns – what a fun way to enjoy the same flavors in a new way!

  7. Laura Dembowski

    I love hot cross buns and this cake is the ultimate version! And yeah, Easter seemed so far away and now it’s here and I don’t have egg dye yet either.

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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