This spiced bun recipe is a Jamaican Easter bake from Keshia Sakarah. Keshia says: "In the mid 17th century, the British colonised Jamaica taking over from Spanish rule. They brought with them many of their customs, including Christianity. Jamaican bun is an evolution of the hot cross bun with the addition of molasses, spices and a loaf shape. Throughout Jamaica, it is usually served sliced with thick pieces of processed cheese. While it is not known why it is now served in this way, spiced bun is a testament to the ways in which food traditions can morph over time when cultures cross."

Also try our Jamaican ginger cake and Jamaican rum punch. Now find out 10 things we love about Jamaican cuisine.


  • 610g strong white bread flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • 15g dried fast-action yeast
  • 180g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 75g molasses or black treacle
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 330ml Guinness or non-alcoholic malt drink
  • 100g raisins
  • 30g mixed peel
  • 20g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
  • 10g grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 1½ tsp gravy browning (optional)


  • 3 tbsp molasses or black treacle


  • STEP 1

    Put the bread flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice and 1½ tsp of salt into a bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside.

  • STEP 2

    Put the yeast, 10g of the dark brown sugar and 50ml of lukewarm water into a small bowl, and mix. Once the yeast and sugar are dissolved, set aside and allow the yeast to ferment for 30 minutes. Put the butter, remaining sugar, molasses, vanilla, Guinness and fermented yeast mixture into a pan over a low heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, then set aside to cool.

  • STEP 3

    Add the raisins, mixed peel, glacé cherries and ginger into the flour mix and combine, ensuring the fruits are evenly distributed throughout. Add the egg, orange zest and juice, and gravy browning (if using) into the mixture and slowly stir together. Gradually pour in the cooled sugar-Guinness mixture. Mix well until you have a smooth, silky brown batter.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 3 and line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool.

  • STEP 5

    After the bun has cooled, prepare the glaze. Put the molasses and 2 tbsp of water into a small pan over a low heat until it begins to bubble. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the top of the bun. Leave until set (no longer sticky), then slice into thick pieces and serve with butter and cheese.


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