Hot Cross Buns and Quick Cherry Coffee Cake

This week on the Sonrise Morning Show I chatted with Matt Swaim about eggs and their significance in the Bible, especially during Easter. The 2 recipes, one for hot cross buns and the other for a quick cherry coffee cake are family favorites, and good baking projects while we’re all sheltering in place.
I hope each of you celebrate these holy days and remember, it’s not just about the food but who shares it with you.
Luke 11:12 – What father among you will hand his son a scorpion when he asks for an egg
Easter’s coming soon, and there will be a lot of eggs boiled and colored.Eggs were an important part of the Biblical diet.
Egg cookery was highly developed in Old Testament times. Among the ancient utensils was one with separate cavities to keep eggs whole and separate while cooking. (Forerunners of our electric egg poachers!) . Eggs were also roasted in hot ashes. And I have to think some were boiled as well.Eggs of all fowl were considered delicacies. Besides the chicken, eggs from ducks, geese and partridges were eaten.
The Easter egg is a symbol used for Easter. 
And the egg itself is a symbol of the Resurrection.
As the egg appears to be lifeless, yet holds much life within itself; so too, the tomb appeared to be utterly lifeless, but from it Christ arose.
The Greeks color eggs red for Easter. The red is analagous to the blood Christ shed and the egg itself, as just mentioned, symbolizes new birth.
What’s the legend about St. Mary Magdalene and the Easter egg?
There are numerous traditions which connect St. Mary Magdalene with the Easter egg. According to one account, Mary Magdalene brought a basket of eggs with her to the tomb on that first Eastern morning. Upon reaching the tomb, at the angelic proclamation of the Resurrection, the eggs turned red.
For Good Friday and Easter, I wanted to share 2 family favorites; the hot cross buns take a bit of time and technique and the crunchy cherry coffee cake uses cake mix as a base and it’s real quick and easy.

Legend has it that if you make yeasted hot cross buns for Good Friday and hang one up in the kitchen, you’ll have success with anything you make with yeast all year ‘round.

Let the kids help Granddaughter Eva loved making the cross decoration.

You can also simply use the icing as a glaze over the whole bun.


1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast, regular or rapid rise

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 cup warm milk (110° -115°)

1/4 cup softened butter

Couple dashes salt

1/2 to 1 cup raisins

1 large egg, room temperature
3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour


In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. It will foam up. Add butter, raisins, egg, salt and remaining sugar; beat until smooth.

On low speed, pour in enough flour to form soft dough – I used 3-1/2 cups. Turn onto very lightly floured surface (not too much flour or buns will be tough); knead until smooth like a baby’s bottom, about 5 minutes. I used the dough hook so avoided hand kneading and extra flour.

Place in sprayed bowl, turning once to coat top. Bless dough! Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 hour or more. Stick a finger in gently, if indentation remains, you’re good to go; if it springs back, it needs to raise more.

Punch dough down. Divide into anywhere from 6 to 8 to 11 or so portions. Shape into balls.

Place in sprayed or buttered pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake in 375 degree oven 25-30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. The larger the roll, the longer it will take to bake. If they are browning too quickly, tent with foil. Mine were done at 25 minutes.


Whisk together:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Enough water to make an icing thick enough to form a cross.
Ice after buns cool. Some bakeries drizzle a thin glaze on top of the buns BEFORE adding the cross. You can do what you like.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen:

Raising in frig: As an experiment, I divided dough in half and let half raise at room temperature and half in frig, covered, overnight. The dough from the frig took longer to raise, but both batches came out great.

Is it fresh?

To make sure your yeast can still leaven, add a little to some warm water with a pinch of sugar. It should foam up within minutes. If not, toss it. Yeast kept in freezer stays fresh longer.

From my friend, Elaine Hennessey, who made it for our church bazaars. Use any pie filling. We love the cherry topping. Buy the canned cherry pie filling that has extra cherries in it. Super easy and super good!
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package dry yeast
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional)
1 can, 19-20 oz, pie filling, your favorite
Confectioners sugar or confectioners sugar glaze for sprinkling on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine 1-1/2 cups dry cake mix with yeast, flour, eggs and water. Beat for 2 minutes.
Divide and spread batter into two sprayed 8×8 square pans. It won’t come up real high in the pans, but remember, this is a coffeecake, not a regular cake. (Or put all in a 9×13).
Spoon pie filling over batter.
In a separate bowl, combine rest of cake mix with butter and nuts. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar or a thin glaze made with confectioners sugar and water.

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