Easter scrolls are a fun take on the traditional Easter bun recipe, hot cross buns. Soft dough spiced with hot cross bun spices is swirled with cinnamon sultanas, spread with a sugar glaze, and drizzled with lemon icing.
What are Easter scrolls?
For a fun Easter twist on my Chelsea buns recipe, I’ve made a cinnamon sultana scroll with flavours of hot cross bun. Enriched bread dough is rolled with a cinnamon fruit filling, sliced and then baked, before being brushed with a simple sugar glaze and drizzled with a zesty lemon icing.
Why we love this recipe
- The soft and fluffy scroll dough can be made in the bread machine, stand mixer or by hand.
- This is a family friendly recipe – young and old alike enjoy homemade scrolls, and they are a fun Easter recipe to bake with kids.
- These scrolls smell amazing when baking in the oven and will fill your kitchen with the scent of Easter.
- They make a delicious and fun alternative to hot cross buns.
- They can be served for Easter brunch, morning tea or afternoon tea, or take on a picnic.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
Please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for ingredient quantities.
- Flour – plain flour or all purpose flour.
- Sugar – three types of sugar are used in this recipe: granulated sugar in the dough and the glaze, soft brown sugar for that caramelised cinnamon swirl, and icing sugar / confectioners sugar for the icing.
- Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter in this recipe. If all you have is salted butter then it’s fine to use that, but don’t add any extra salt to the dough.
- Lemon – fresh lemon zest adds a bright citrus flavour to the dough and the filling, and lemon juice adds a sharp note to the icing. You can substitute it with zest and juice from a small orange if you prefer.
- Sultanas – you can also use raisins instead, or mixed dried fruit.
- Spices – mixed spice, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg are in the dough, with an additional sprinkle of mixed spice and cinnamon in the sultana layer. Mixed spice: This British spice mix is a blend of spices used in baking. If you are not able to get it, pumpkin pie spice is a good substitute.
- Egg – an egg enriches the bread dough and lightens the texture.
- Yeast – dried instant yeast. Make sure the yeast is in its use by date to ensure the dough rises.
- Salt – kosher or sea salt.
Step by step instructions and photos
Please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for the full recipe.
- Heat the butter and milk in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the butter has just melted. TIP: you don’t want the milk to boil.
- Mix the flour with spices, salt, yeast and sugar.
- Add the beaten egg and warmed milk to the flour.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then cover and leave it to rest for an hour. It will double in size.
- Roll the spiced dough out on floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
- Mix softened butter with lemon zest and spread in an even layer over the dough.
- Sprinkle the sultanas and cinnamon sugar all over the buttered bread dough in an even layer.
- Taking one long edge, roll the dough tightly in to a sausage shape.
- Cut into 9 equal sized pieces.
Once the dough is rolled and cut into pieces:
- Place the dough swirls in your lined tin.
- Leave them to rise until they’ve filled the tin and are touching (see middle image below), then bake in a preheated oven until lightly golden.
- Whilst warm, brush with the sugar glaze. Cool completely before icing.
Easter buns are traditionally eaten in England on Good Friday to commemorate the Crucifixion.
Add a small amount sifted icing sugar / confectioners sugar to your icing and stir, adding a little more sugar at a time until you get a thicker icing.
Yes you can! It is best to freeze them un-iced. Wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost and reheat in a moderate oven, wrapped in foil, for around 5-7 minutes until warmed through.
Yes you can! Place the dry ingredients into the bowl of the bread maker, add the egg and warm butter-milk mixture then set the machine to ‘knead and rise.’ Once risen (mine takes 1.5 hours), tip out the dough, roll and top, leave for a second rise and bake as above.
My Tips for making these the best Easter buns
- Make sure your yeast isn’t past its expiry date and is active – to ensure it will make the bread dough rise.
- Use spices that are in their best before date. If they aren’t then their flavour won’t be as strong, and you won’t get such a flavourful spicy Easter bun.
- Heat the sugar and water for the glaze over a low heat. You want the sugar to dissolve. If you don’t let it dissolve, the crystals will form and you’ll have a crunchy glaze rather than soft and sticky glaze.
- Don’t overcook the glaze – you don’t want it to take on any colour, otherwise it can overpower the delicious spices, and especially if left to cook for too long, become bitter.
- If you don’t want to use a lemon icing, you can use water or fresh orange juice instead.
- Allowing the scrolls to touch in the tin helps them to rise and stops them from overcooking in the oven and not being soft and fluffy.
As with many homemade breads, these buns are best eaten on the day they are made. But any leftover scrolls will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you do have leftover Easter bun scrolls, then cut them in half, and toast them under the grill, cut side up. Then spread with butter and enjoy warm!
Freeze: These fruit scrolls will freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature.
You may also like these other Easter recipes
- 200 g milk
- 50 g butter
- 450 g plain flour
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ lemon zested
- 7 g dried yeast
- 35 g granulated sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 25 g butter softened
- ½ lemon zested
- 150 g sultanas
- 30 g soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons water
- 50 g icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or water
- Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until the butter is just melted.
- In a roomy mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, lemon zest, dried yeast and sugar.
- Stir in the beaten egg and warm milk.
- Mix to make a soft dough then knead for 7 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer until smooth and elastic. (If making in a bread machine, see note below)
- Place in a clean bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1-1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll out to a rectangle size 20cm x 30cm (8" x 11")
- Mix 25g softened butter with the lemon zest and spread this in an even layer over the dough, then sprinkle over the sultanas.
- Mix the brown sugar with cinnamon and mixed spice and then sprinkle this in an even layer over the sultanas.
- Press down the long side closest to you on the board. Take the opposite long edge and roll tightly towards you.
- Cut the roll into 9 even sized pieces – around 4-5cm thick (1.5-1.8")
- Line the bottom (not the sides) of a 20cm x 20cm(8" x 8") square tin with baking paper and place the scrolls, cut facing up, into it, leaving an even gap between them all.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes until the scrolls have grown and are now touching.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan/ 200˚C / 356˚F Convection / 392˚F
- Place the scrolls into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes – if the scrolls are starting to brown and the sultanas are catching then cover with foil.
- Once baked, leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before topping with the glaze.
To make the glaze
- Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Brush the glaze over the tops of the scrolls.
- Leave for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When completely cold, ice the scrolls.
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice (or water) and mix.
- Using a teaspoon, drizzle over the scroll to make a 'cross' shape on each scroll.
- Leave for a few minutes for the icing to set, then enjoy!