Vegan Hot Cross Buns – For Breadline Africa

Out of the box


How many of us haven’t wanted these buns as kids? The popular rhyme – one a penny… hot cross buns – made it a favourite with me instantly. Also, it is probably the only bread that got dedicated a whole rhyme and sung a zillion times.

I got tagged recently by Arundathi for a blog event, baking for Africa, and I am hoping that this very small act and share on my part could help the event get noticed. ‘Breadline Africa’ is a South African based charity organisation that seeks to put a lasting end to poverty in Africa. You can find out more about them here.


When she was really young, a little girl of seven and when Jr. P was around four, I started reading out a book that meant a lot to me as a child – Mary Poppins – to my kids. Mary Poppins is amongst my favourite characters and story books and if you have read it I am sure you know what I mean. The one thing the kids kept telling me was – “Mummy, if only you were Mary Poppins.” A young mom then, it left a slightly sad feeling. I knew exactly what they meant. I too used to feel that when I first read Mary Poppins when I was 14, and these two were 7 and 4. For a long time I have been hunting for books by P.L.Travers but unfortunately these are not available easily. I had the first and second volumes specially gifted by H (Not I, but the one who gifted the OTG) along with the audio rendition by Sophie Thompson (5 Stars). I got the first one by luck – someone gifted it to H, and since he would not bother to read it out to his son he gave it to me knowing I will put it to good use!

Mary Poppins is the story of a couple, Mr. and Mrs.Banks who are both a little careless, and are on the hunt for a nanny for their children Michael and Jane. Mary Poppins arrives in their house with the East Wind and she is just a wee bit magic. The story revolves around her and the children and how she takes them on lovely adventures, and leaves them in the end, a little sad but expectant, when she goes off with the West Wind. Michael and Jane, are two children who are not really well taken care of until her arrival and she fills their days with joy as long as she is with them. There comes the connection to the bread. It is sort of haphazard but this is the joy that went into the bread, and I believe the magic in it will remain in the post and since this is going for a good cause what better way to pack and send it with, then a little bit of magic – which we could all do with every once in a while especially if it brings some good tidings.

If you haven’t read the book yet – go grab it. It is available only in UK and the US, and that too limited editions. I am still looking for the rest of the series. Believe me, this is one book you will enjoy as much as your child. Don’t miss the broadway versions if you have access to it.

I am sure you must have heard or seen the movie – the story differs a bit from the book but Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are memorable as Mary Poppins and the Matchstick Man. See ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious‘ on You tube and decide for yourself.

That’s what the recipe is all about – a lot of good feeling, healthy ingredients and that little magic called hope.

Recipe: Hot Cross Buns
Recipe adapted from ‘The Bread Book” by Sara Lewis(Pg.120)


500g – Whole wheat flour (I used Ashirwaad Atta)

3 tbsps – Margarine

1 tbsp. – Stevia syrup

1 tsp. – Salt

1 + 1/2 tsps. – Spice powder (Mix of more cinnamon powder, little black pepper, and little nutmeg)

30g – Fresh yeast cake

275ml – Natural unsweetened soymilk

25g – Firm tofu beaten with a little soymilk from above to a smooth paste

For the cross:

5 tbsp. – APF beaten well to a thick custard consistency with 2 tbsps soymilk


4 tbsps. soymilk + 2 tbsp. sugar heated till syrupy.


Place flour in a non-reactive bowl. Add the margarine, stevia, salt, spice powder and crumbled yeast. Add the tofu eggnog, and the warm soymilk.

Bring everything together and knead the dough. Mine became very sticky, so I dipped a finger in oil and kneaded for a minute more to make a smooth soft and elastic dough.

Place in a greased bowl and cover with a clingfilm for about 45minutes or till doubled. Mine was fast due to the fresh yeast.

Tip on your worksurface and knead again deflating it. Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into spheres. Place them apart on butter paper in your baking pan. I put in 6 at a time.

Leave in a warm place to rise for 30minutes.

Bake for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg. C.

Remove and pipe the flour paste like crosses on each bun. I simply used a spoon and dragged the paste which is why it is uneven.

Peek a boo


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

Previous Post
December 2, 2008
Next Post
December 2, 2008


  • glamah16

    I forgot to ask you. Does this have to be dome by a deadline? I will notbe able to get to it until this weekend.But Im looking forward to it!

  • Arundathi

    lol – just the name make me wants to start singing! 🙂 looks gorgeous!

  • Ramya Bala

    wow..vegan bun looks so different n yummy 🙂

  • Sunshinemom

    Pallu, kissable? That is the best I read:), and I know you will bring out some yummy stuff out of your oven now:)

    HC, If wishes were horses, I would fly it to you:)

    Laavanya, Madhu, I guess so too:)

    Usha, Thank you so much!

    Ivy, you are an inspiration! I am so happy that there are angels around – It’s the season afterall:)

  • Ivy

    The buns are perfect and you have baked for a very worthy cause. Thanks for joining BloggerAid.

  • Usha

    These look so lovely and cute, nice pictures !

  • Madhu

    Looks cute and lovely, now i can’t stop singing… hot cross buns 🙂

  • Laavanya

    You are right… it’s probably the nursery rhyme that makes these cute buns so endearing… 🙂 Pretty.

  • Happy cook

    Wow they looks so yumm and it is vegan. Tehy really looks so yummy delicious, wish i had atleast one now. More is welcome too

  • Pallavi

    Thanks for tagging me Sunshine 🙂 Will surely make something.. These look lovely.. and yummy.. and oh they are so cute and almost kissable 😉

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks all!

    Carolyn, I am sure it would have helped if you were my neighbour but then what is to stop wishing – just wish real hard:)

    Simran, I got it a local bakery here. Seems they supply to most smaller bakeries in Thane. (Taste Well Bakery)

  • SriLekha

    wow! it looks yum1 great treat for our eyes!

    join in the SWEET event going in my blog!

  • Bellini Valli

    This is such an excellent way to raise awareness for all those less fortunate. The hot cross buns are a perfect choice!!

  • Simran

    Buns look lovely. I am curious – where do you find fresh yeast?


    LOL I enjoyed that rhyme, and ur buns looks so soft and yummy!

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums

    They look fantastic! Very pretty and tempting!



  • Aparna

    Truly a Mary Poppins moment.
    Nothing quite like baking bread and if its for a cause, it couldn’t get better.
    You picture is good, Harini.

  • Carolyn Jung

    I wish I could find these on my kitchen counter tomorrow morning for breakfast. If I wish hard enough, do you think it just might happen? 😉

  • jayasree

    Lovely post. Enjoyed reading it. Good bake for a worth cause. Loved the presentation.

  • Mahimaa's kitchen

    what a lovely picture? love fresh homemade buns.

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks all!

    Cham (Female Santa looks cute anyday!), thanks for noticing and letting me know the correct term – Perambu koodai:)

  • Andhra Flavors

    nice picture. buns are looks tempting.

  • Zee

    Yeah magical buns indeed..great going for a worthy cause.. Enjoyed reading your lil anecdote up there:)

  • Susan/Wild Yeast

    Thank you for thinking of me and I will bake for Breadline Africa. I love hot cross buns and your vegan ones look great!

  • Uj

    Buns look so cute… Even I remember that rhyme…Good write up too

  • Curry Leaf

    Love it,Love it and love it.I was thinking of making and you made them vegan.Lovely and lovely.I remember the song well.

  • Cham

    I feel like reading the book now H 🙂 Great story behind this magical hot cross bun! I love the “perambu Koodai in which u serve the bread”

  • Sukanya Ramkumar

    Buns looks so cute… Nice pictures…

  • Yasmeen

    Magical buns for a worthy cause:)

  • Vaishali

    These look delicious and lovely, Sunshinemom. I remember that jingle well: in fact, I still hum it sometimes 🙂

  • sunita

    Love your idea of the buns 🙂

Leave a Reply