Hot Cross Buffins (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Hot Cross Buffins (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Hot Cross Buffins


Easter is just around the corner and one of my favourite things about this time of year is hot cross buns!

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a hot cross bun warming in the oven. Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice mixed with sweet sultanas fill the kitchen, hinting at what’s to come.

The perfect hot cross bun hot cross bun doesn’t need to be heated for long. It only needs 5 minutes in a hot oven so that it comes out ever so slightly crispy around the edges, with insides just warm enough to melt a slice of butter.

That is, if you eat butter. And gluten. And refined sugar.

Ironically I don’t eat any of the above any more, which means the mouthwatering hot cross bun smell is as far as my Easter bun enjoyment went – until now!

I’ve yet to come across a gluten free hot cross bun that’s also dairy free/vegan, AND doesn’t feel like you’re eating a heavy rock cake. So I decided this was the year to make my own.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of gluten free flours, and in particular, trying to find a completely grain free combination that works nicely in baking. What I can tell you so far is it’s not as easy as you might think!

After a few failed attempts at making a completely grain free, vegan hot cross bun minus the yeast, I decided a hot cross muffin would be much easier and way more delicious.

We’re in week 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown here in NZ, so my husband has been working from home and very kindly took on the role of chief hot cross bun taste tester ūüėČ

When I explained what he was taste testing “a hot cross bun crossed with a muffin” he said “oh you mean a buffin?!”and of course the name stuck. A quick google search confirmed my suspicion that we were not the first by any means to come up with this name, but it describes them prefectly.


Hot Cross Buffins


This hot cross buffun recipe is so simple you might be tempted to question whether it will work as well as I claim, but I can assure you it will! Simply mix all the ingredients together, pour into a muffin pan, pipe some crosses over the top and bake. 

These hot cross buffins are completely gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free, plant based and vegan. The only thing they’re not free of is nuts. They contain both almond flour (ground almonds) and almond butter.

You could substitute the ground almonds for something of similar texture like oat flour, and the almond butter for another type of nut or seed butter, but the almond combination I’ve shared in the recipe below really does work the best so I can’t guarantee any substitution results.


Hot Cross Buffins


Eat these hot cross buffins straight out of the oven while still warm with a slice of your favourite “butter” or spread.

They’re equally delicious at room tempearture, and when stored overnight in a sealed container they get a little sticky and remiscent of sticky date puddings.

I’ve yet to try toasting them but suspect their delicate crumb might be a little too fine for a toaster. However you can definitely heat them up in an oven to get the same toasted hot cross bun effect.


Hot Cross Buffins


If you make these Hot Cross Buffins, let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

Hot Cross Buffins (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Makes: 12

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Dry ingredients:
160g ground almonds (almond meal)
50g buckwheat flour
30g coconut sugar
100g sultanas
2 Tbsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
zest of 1 lemon or orange (optional)

Wet ingredients:
120g rice syrup or pure maple syrup
130g almond butter
220g coconut milk

2 tsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC fan bake. Either lightly grease a standard 12 hole muffin pan with coconut oil, line with paper muffin cases, or use a non stick silicone muffin mould.

Make the cross mix by combing the ingredients, stir well and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well until evenly combined.

Make a well in the middle, add all the wet ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly into your prepared muffin pan.

Give your cross mixture a final stir then either place in a small piping bag or a small ziplock bag and cut the corner. Pipe crosses onto the buffins.

Place pan into the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes (this may vary according to your oven).

The buffins are ready when they bounce back to a light touch, a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean and the tops turn a light golden colour.

After removing the muffins from the oven allow them to cool in the pan to prevent sinking.

Serve the buffins warm with a slice of “butter” or our favourite spread.

Store any leftover buffins in an airtight container at room temperature where they’ll will keep for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


Hot Cross Buffins

Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins

Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins

Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins 


One of the best things about Autumn, besides steaming bowls of vegetable soup and hazelnut hot chocolate on repeat, is feijoa season!

If you haven’t come across a feijoa (also known as pineapple guava or guavasteen), it has a smooth green skin and is about the size of a kiwi fruit. The inside is a creamy colour with a similar in texture to a pear but with jelly bits (sounds weird but it’s the best way to describe them!). Feijoa’s have a very unique, fragrant flavour, which has been described as a cross between a pineapple and guava.

I’m always a little hesitant to post feijoa recipes here as I’m well aware half the world doesn’t have access to them. So if you’re from the half that doesn’t and want to make these muffins, the best swap in this case would be pear. If you were making a smoothie that calls for feijoa, like this feijoa and fennel green smoothie, the best swap would be pineapple. And if you were making a fruit crumble, like these¬†feijoa and pear crumbles, you could swap the feijoa for apple, berries or even peaches!


Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins 


So what’s so special about these feijoa and cinnamon muffins?

First up they’re dairy, gluten and refined sugar free.

They’re low in added sugars because feijoa’s are naturally sweet so there’s no need to go crazy with extra sweeteners.

They’re flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg which add to the beautiful fragrance of the feijoa’s, and will leave your house smelling amazing.

Lastly, these muffins have a beautiful soft, moist texture, and they stay that way. No drying out over time. If anything, they get even more moist!

So what are you waiting for? You now have 10 amazing reasons why you need to make these muffins stat.

You’re welcome, enjoy.


 Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins


If you make these feijoa and cinnamon muffins, let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins

Makes: 12

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 20 minutes

Dry ingredients:
100g ground almonds (almond meal)
50g buckwheat flour
50g rice flour
60g coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Wet ingredients:
300g feijoa flesh (about 10 to 12 good sized feijoas)
2 eggs
100g coconut yoghurt
50g/2 Tbsp rice syrup


Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC fan bake. Either lightly grease a standard 12 hole muffin pan with coconut oil, line with paper muffin cases, or use a non stick silicone muffin mould.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well until evenly combined.

Scoop the flesh from the feijoas until you have 300g, then cut the flesh into bite sized chunks.

Combine the eggs, yoghurt and rice syrup in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until evenly combined.

Add the egg mix and feijoas to the dry ingredients and stir well until evenly combined.

Spoon the mix evenly into the prepared muffin pan and place pan into the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Note: for a more decadent topping, sprinkle the muffins with a little coconut sugar and/or coconut thread before baking.

The muffins are ready when they bounce back to a light touch, and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

After removing the muffins from the oven allow them to cool in the pan to prevent sinking.

Store any leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature where they’ll will keep for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


 Feijoa & Cinnamon Muffins


Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

Swoonuts [swoon-nuhts]


  1. a small cake of sweetened dough, baked, typically shaped like a ring.
  2. a donut that is dairy, gluten/grain, and refined sugar free.
  3. the best doughnuts you’ll ever eat!


Now that you know the definition of a swoonut, I probably don’t need to do any further convincing of why you need to make them… amiright?!

I posted the original swoonut recipe, spiced vanilla cake donuts here, and followed them up with an even more lush¬†chocolate version here. Both recipes are dairy free, gluten/grain free (depending on what flour you choose), and refined sugar free. However, they do contain eggs. So my next challenge was to create a swoonut that’s completely plant based.

I used my egg free¬†ultimate peanut butter chocolate cake recipe for inspiration, with a few tweaks to get the melt-in-your-mouth swoonut texture. Peanut butter replaces the eggs and imparts a richness to these new swoonuts, with just a subtle hint of peanut butter flavour. If you can’t eat peanuts you could easily swap peanut butter for any nut butter – I think cashew butter would work really well too as it has a similar smooth texture.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

One of the tricks to getting the perfect texture for these swoonuts is to slightly under bake them. By that, I mean take them out of the oven when they’re just firm to touch and a knife comes out mostly clean. They will continue to cook for a 30 seconds or so once they’re out of the oven which will bring them to the perfect, melt-in-the-mouth texture. If you cook them too long they go a little hard and just aren’t as good. Use a timer when cooking them so you can check them at 8 minutes. They’ll likely need another minute or two depending on your oven, but probably not much more.

These peanut butter & chocolate swoonuts are delicious straight from the oven, no toppings required! If you do want to get a bit fancy you can dip them in powdered sugar (although I don’t recommend this for anyone keeping to a low/unrefined sugar diet) or you can coat them in chocolate glaze as per the recipe below.

I hope you love these plant based, peanut butter swoonuts, and if you make them, come back and tell me what you think in the comments below! Enjoy.




Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)


Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

Makes: 12 donuts
Prep time: 20 minutes Bake time: 10 minutes

Dry Ingredients 
50g rice or buckwheat flour
50g raw cacao powder
50g coconut flour
50g ground almonds
75g coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients
125g peanut butter (ideally smooth)
100g coconut yoghurt
200ml coconut or nut milk of choice
3 Tbsp rice syrup, raw honey or pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Raw Chocolate Glaze (Optional)
1/4 cup raw cacao butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, rice syrup or raw honey
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
pinch pink Himalayan salt

Topping Suggestions
Raw cacao nibs
Freeze dried raspberries/cherries/mandarin/strawberry/blueberries etc
Desiccated coconut
Coconut flakes
Powdered coconut sugar

Preheat the oven to 170¬ļC fan bake. Lightly grease a non-stick donut pan with coconut oil. If you don‚Äôt have a donut pan you can also bake these as muffins.

Gently melt the coconut oil if solid.

Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until evenly combined.

Place all the wet ingredients, except the coconut oil, into another bowl and whisk until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until evenly combined, then add the coconut oil and mix to combine.

Drop spoonfuls of donut mixture into the pan and spread evenly to fill the holes 3/4 full.

Place the donut tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The secret to a good baked donut is not over-baking them. You want them to be just baked through so they stay lovely and soft on the inside.

The donuts are ready when they bounce back when lightly pressed.

Remove the donuts from the oven and allow to rest a few minutes before tipping them out onto a wire rack. They should come out easily. If not, try gently teasing the donut sides while holding the tray upside down.

Allow the donuts to cool completely before either coating with powdered sugar or dipping in the chocolate glaze and sprinkling with toppings.

Store the donuts in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze up to 1 month.

To make the raw chocolate glaze: place the cacao butter and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. When melted, remove the bowl from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.

To dip the donuts in glaze: set a wire rack over a sheet of baking paper to catch the drips. Place the glaze in a small bowl and dip the smooth side of the donuts, then place on the wire rack. If using extra toppings sprinkle them over at this point. For an extra thick coat you can also double dip the donuts. Excess glaze caught on the baking paper can either be reused or turned into raw chocolate. Simply combine the leftover glaze then pour onto a lined tray and place in the freeze to set.

Note: due to the nature of this glaze, it won’t set hard on the swoonuts unless refrigerated. However, these swoonuts are best eaten at room temperature, so what’s a little sticky glaze between friends!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swoonuts (Vegan)

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Passionfruit & Raspberry Smoothie Bowl


I don’t know about you, but when life gets busy I find myself eating the same breakfast day in day out, without any thought to whether it‚Äôs something my body actually needs that day or not.

So this year I’ve been making an effort to get more creative with my breakfasts to ensure I have a good rotation of recipes on hand so that I don’t get bored or lazy!

My ideal breakfast is something made from whole foods, that’s nutrient dense and low in sugars, to give me the energy I need to go about my day.

I started the year eating my Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola alternated with avocado and/or almond butter on paleo seed toast.

As the¬†days got colder I got creative with porridge recipes, and in the weekends we’d cook poached or scrambled eggs or blueberry coconut pancakes.

Now that the weather’s warmed up again, I’ve got back into cold breakfasts like chia puddings, bircher muesli, chia bircher, and smoothie bowls. Which brings me to today’s recipe for this raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl.

A smoothie bowl can be a much more filling breakfast option that a standard smoothie. By using frozen fruit you can create a thicker spoonable smoothie, and by adding nut butter, protein powders or seeds, you can increase the protein content and create a really satisfying, nourishing breakfast. The other bonus about a smoothie bowl is being able to add toppings and the possibilities really are endless.

This raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl is one of my favourites, not just for it’s pretty pink colour! Hope you enjoy it and let me know your favourite breakfast in the comments below.


Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen passion fruit
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp cashew butter
1 Tbsp flaxseed or vanilla protein powder

Topping ideas

Dried coconut
Sunflower seeds
Freeze dried raspberries
Activated muesli
Edible flowers

Place all the smoothie ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Take care not to over blend as you want the smoothie to remain lovely and thick and spoonable.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and sprinkle with your favourite toppings.
Eat immediately with a spoon!

Note: The nut butter, seed and protein powders listed above are just suggestions – feel free to get creative with different varieties to find your favourite combination!

Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Blueberry & Apple Buckwheat Muffins



These blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins have such a lovely light delicate crumb, you would never guess they don’t contain any butter, wheat flour or refined sugar!

The idea for this healthy breakfast muffin occurred to me after I found a delicious looking recipe in a cook book, and tried out an adapted (dairy & gluten free) version while we were on a weekend away with family. Despite being located on Kawau island (which has no shops and is only accessible by boat) the pantry at the Bach (beach house) surprisingly had most of the required ingredients, although the only gluten free flour was coconut flour. Unfortunately the first batch of muffins was a crumbly disaster, but my 1 year old niece still thought they were pretty great. I concluded coconut flour on it’s own is not a great choice for a muffin recipe.


Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins -


I tried the recipe again when we got home with a gluten free flour blend but the recipe still wasn’t amazing when adapted in this way. Determined to conquer this muffin idea, I next tried adapting my faithful blueberry muffin recipe by replacing the dairy, gluten and refined sugar. To make them more breakfast-like I used buckwheat flour for a light crumb and added apple to keep them moist and to reduce the sugar content. The result was…. a winner!

These muffins are best eaten fresh, although will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. They are perfect for a weekend brunch, lunch or afternoon tea and any leftovers make a great weekday breakfast on the go. Hope you give these blueberry muffins a try and if you post any photos to social media be sure to tag #swoonfood so I can come and admire them! Enjoy.

Any questions or comments about this blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffin recipe? Leave a comment in the section below, I love to hear from you!


Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins -


Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Makes: 12
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

200g stewed apple (see note below)
80g coconut oil, melted
80g coconut sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla powder/essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
100g buckwheat flour
100g brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC and lightly grease a 12 hole non-stick muffin tray.

Combine melted coconut oil, sugar, apple, egg, vanilla powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand held beater until just combined. Sieve the buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl combine the baking soda, hot water and cider vinegar – it will fizz up, so stir it briefly before adding to the mixture and stir well to combine. Lastly add the blueberries – if using frozen there is no need to defrost first.

Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the muffin tray until all holes are filled evenly. Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20minutes, until muffins are nicely risen and a knife inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack before carefully running a knife around the edges to release. Store in an air-tight container once cold. These will keep a couple of days, however they taste the best when eaten fresh on the day of baking.


Note: To stew apples: peel, remove the core and cut into small pieces. Place in a saucepan with about 1cm of water and simmer until the apples have broken down and are easily crushed with a masher or fork. Alternatively you can buy stewed apple in a tin which is usually called “apple pie filling” or similar. Look for the kind that has no additives in the ingredients – just apples.¬†





Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins -