Skip to main content
Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

Even though Good Friday has long past and Easter brunch came and went, I am still a little bit proud of the baked creations I made that day: Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns.

Easter Brunch

Meeting the Requirements

A traditional recipe in England for Good Friday of Easter, Hot Cross Buns are things that I’ve always heard of but never eaten or even seen. This year, I thought I might give them a try!

At the time, I was working on a feature film, Sister, and it was a our day off, so of course, I spent it in the kitchen!

Sunrise Over Brooklyn

Though the last day on set, this was the view from the kitchen we had been shooting in. Who doesn’t love a good sunrise?

I had a few other guidelines for whatever I was planning on making:

  1. Easter Appropriate
  2. Gluten Free alternative – There was one gluten free person on our crew.
  3. Portable – I’d been biking to set everyday, so I wasn’t going to stop just because I was carrying a few biscuits!
  4. Optional: movie-related

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

Well, the hot cross buns fit the top three requirements, but fulfilling the fourth didn’t occur to me until I was starting the recipe. Of course, I used King Arthur Flour’s Easy Hot Cross Buns and Gluten-Free Hot Cross Biscuits recipes. I began with hunting down the dried fruit that I was going to use. I settled on raisins (traditional), apricots (not traditional), and apple rings (definitely not traditional). I looked at the next ingredient, and it was rum to soak the dried fruit in. The one thing I didn’t have and didn’t feel like leaving the house for so early in the morning. I opened our liquor cabinet and all we had was Campari.

BOOM! 4th Requirement: Achieved!

The two sisters in the film drank Negronis, which have Campari in them!

New Flavor Territory

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

However, I was unsure of how the flavor would go with the rest of the spices. I called King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Hotline for help. Unfortunately, the cheerful person on the end of the line had never had Campari before, let alone baked with it. All she could do was tell me to not change more than one variable at a time, so I wouldn’t have to adjust spices.

She did inform me that I was venturing into “new flavor territory” as she wished me good luck.


Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

I ventured on. I found some recipes for drinks, doughnut glaze, and such that used grapefruit with Campari. Throwing caution to the wind, I grabbed the lone grapefruit from the hanging fruit basket.

Juiced half of it, threw in a tablespoon of Campari and the dried fruit, and said a little prayer I wasn’t going to mess up two recipes at one time. It was Good Friday after all.

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

My prayers were certainly answered a few hours later when I finally drizzled the last pink cross onto my second batch of buns.

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns


Gluten Free Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns

Let’s just say, they were delicious! Foods become a tradition for a reason because they’re good.

Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The next day on set, my Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns were warmly received by the cast and crew. I previously baked Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for them for National Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Day (March 18th), but I think they were surprised when I brought in a second surprise.

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns Analysis:

  • Two recipes were a lot to conquer when you’re already tired on your day off.
  • Could use more Campari flavor in both the fruit and glaze- maybe increase to two tablespoons next time instead of just one?
  • The grapefruit and Campari changed the glaze pink, which was an interesting twist on Hot Cross Buns.
  • Because I didn’t have King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free Baking Mix, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking 1-to-1 Flour and 1.25 tsp of Baking Powder and .25 tsp Baking Soda for each cup of Baking 1-to-1 Flour I used.
  • Made half the gluten free recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site. If you’d like to copy it, please double ingredients.
  • Yum.

Grapefruit Campari Hot Cross Buns
Cuisine: English
Serves: 6 biscuits, 18 buns
  • 1 tablespoon Campari
  • 3 tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ cup Chopped Dried Fruit
  • 1¼ cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cups Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1 & ¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/16 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup cold butter
  • ¼ cup dried fruits
  • 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
  • ½ teaspoon Campari
  • ¼ cup cold milk
  • 1 large eggs
  • extra butter for melting and brushing on dough
  • ICING (enough for both recipes):
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 & ½ teaspoon Campari
  • Juice from ¼ medium grapefruit, strained through a fine-mesh sieve
  2. Lightly grease a 10" square or circular pan or 9" x 13" pan.
  3. Mix the Campari and grapefruit juice with the dried fruit in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat until juice mix just starts to want to simmer. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
  5. Allow the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
  6. Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3¾ ounces each. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
  7. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  8. Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
  9. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  10. Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.
  12. Mix the Campari and grapefruit juice with the dried fruit in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat until juice mix just starts to want to simmer. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the center.
  14. Whisk the spices, baking flour, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  15. Work the cold butter into the baking mix, leaving some butter in small, visible pieces.
  16. Stir in the dried fruit.
  17. Whisk together the milk and eggs, and stir into the dry mixture.
  18. Turn the dough into a greased 5"x8" baking pan, pressing it into the pan evenly. Brush the top with melted butter.
  19. Bake the biscuits for 18 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely in the pan. When cool, cut into squares.
  20. To make the icing, mix the sugar, grapefruit juice, and Campari to make a mixture that's smooth and pipeable. Pipe the icing atop the squares in the typical cross shape.
  21. Enjoy!
Original Recipes:


Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins! & Upgrading Your Cake Mix Cakes

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins were one of the first things I practiced baking in high school. I was crazy about one of my mom’s cookbooks, “Muffin Mania.” I actually made a lot of muffins from that book.

But before that even, I was queen of those boxed cake mixes and muffin mixes in a pouch.

There’s No Shame in Using Cake Mixes

At least, when you try to spruce them up a bit…My New (Old) KitchenAid

When I first got my new KitchenAid Stand Mixer for my birthday, I didn’t have anything in the cupboard to whip up a whole fancy dessert, nor did I have the time. Luckily, I had been hoarding a white cake mix for just the right time… MY BIRTHDAY.

SIDE NOTE: This is not the KitchenAid I have now. I’ve exchanged it because it was making grumpy sounds. It’s a long story… argh.


Unfortunately, none of my friends could meet around the time of my birthday, and I didn’t have enough powdered sugar for frosting, so into the freezer it went.

For two. whole. weeks.

Coconut White Cake

Finally, pulled it out last weekend. Worried that I had let it dry out while in the freezer (I really need bigger Tupperware), a quick Google search told me to moisten it with simple syrip. I  made mine coconut flavored.

Boom. Easiest solution. Added some coconut flavored frosting.

The cake ended up being so coconut-ty, delicious and obviously, very moist. Just don’t tell your friends that you made the cake weeks ago. It can freak non-bakers out if you forget to mention the freezing part.

Apparently, I always celebrate my birthday a month later, too.

Coconut White Cake Coconut White Cake

Before the Cronut, there was the Doughnut Muffin

Looking to bake something for short film that I worked on this week, the Director of Photography had requested something similar to the Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts, but I knew I wouldn’t have time for the two rises required for baked doughnuts. I borrowed my friend’s muffin pan and turned to King Arthur Flour’s version of the Doughnut Muffins.

But I didn’t want boring muffins, so I thought I might spice them up, add a bit of color.

Sprinkles – the (less messy) glitter of the kitchen

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

The sprinkles reminded me of a yeast raised doughnut without the extra work, time, and frosting. The entire shape of the Sprinkle Doughnut muffins are so nice, too. They just pop up like a perfectly little dome, and they taste great, too.

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

The recipe is so simple that I was able to throw it together all in under an hour the evening before.

My roommate and I even had time to split a mini version of the Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins before I had to run.

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins Analysis

  • Quick & easy!
  • The recipe says to use 1 – 1.25 tsp of nutmeg, to taste. I’d definitely shoot for 1 tsp. I used closer to 1.25, and it was a lot of nutmeg.
  • I took a bit of sugar out for both the granulated and brown sugar just to be a little bit “health-conscious.” I didn’t notice the difference.
  • My melted butter mix was actually 2 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp butter. Didn’t notice any change.
  • Brushing the melted butter on top might prevent the cinnamon-sugar-sprinkle mix from getting clumpy from excess butter.

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins

Sprinkle Doughnut Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
They taste like doughnuts, but are shaped like muffins.
Recipe type: Muffins
Serves: 12-15
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2⅔ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ~2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of a cinnamon-sugar-sprinkle mix
  1. Preheat oven to 435°F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with paper liners or silicon liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
  3. Add eggs, beat to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Add sprinkles to batter, ~2 tablespoons or however much you'd like. Make sure to not over-stir so that the colors won't spread.
  7. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
  8. Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a tooth pick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven, and let cool. While cooling, melt butter for topping.
  10. Dip each muffin into melted butter (or brush muffin tops with a pastry brush) and dip into cinnamon-sugar-sprinkle mix.
  11. Serve warm or let cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container for a day or so.
  12. Serve to crew. Make their day.
This recipe is from King Arthur Flour: