Vegan Jamaican Easter Spice Bun (with yeast)

Celebrate the Easter holiday with this simple and delicious Vegan Jamaican Easter Bun recipe. 

easter bun in a loaf tin on a cooling rack

Jamaican Easter bun is a sweet, spiced bread often with added dried fruits. 

It’s often made two different ways - with yeast, similar to a brioche or panettone or a quick bread leavened with stout beer, eggs, baking powder and baking soda.

This vegan spice bun is made with yeast as most store-bought buns are made this way. These were the ones I ate often growing up.

For the added flavor, I used a sweet, non-alcoholic malted brew called Malta.

Some Jamaicans give up alcohol during the Lent or Easter, making it a good substitute for stout beer.

easter bun on a cooling rack

Ingredient Notes

Dough:

  • All-purpose flour - It has the right amount of gluten to give the bun a soft, cakey texture without being too dense. Using bread flour could make the texture too chewy.
  • Instant yeast
  • Brown sugar - Needed for activating the yeast
  • Salt
  • Malta beverage (soy milk or water) - a non-alcoholic brew called that’s popular in Jamaica and some Latin-American countries. It adds a pleasant malt flavor to buns.

Mix-ins:

  • Ground flaxseeds (or chia seeds)- when combined with water, it’s used as a substitute for eggs..
  • Water
  • Raisins
  • Mixed candied peel (or more raisins) - this includes cherries, orange peel, lemon peel and pineapple preserved in sugar.
  • Vanilla
  • Mixed spice - this includes a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, allspice, dried orange peel. 
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Dairy-free butter or margarine - makes the dough extra soft and moist
  • Browning (optional) - “Browning” is often used in savory Jamaica dishes and sweet baked goods to add a darker brown color to baked goods. A little goes a long way so try not to use too much.

Glaze:

  • Brown sugar
  • Malta (or vanilla)
  • Water
close up of sliced easter bun on parchment paper

Step-by-Step Instructions

(The dough in these images is made with double the recipe so it looks larger than a single loaf batch. Full recipe details at the end.)

Make the dough:

1. Heat the malta beverage to between 120°F to 130°F (48°C to 54°C).

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and brown sugar. Add the salt and yeast to separate sides of the bowl. Mix on low to combine. Add the malta.

dough kneading in a stand mixer

3. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed. Mix for about 5 minutes or until a smooth, sticky dough is formed. Add more liquid if needed, 1 teaspoon at a time.

yellow spatula stretching yeast dough over mixer bowl

4. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

dough rising in a stand mixer

Prepare the mix-ins:

1. Combine the ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.

2. Separately, combine the raisins and candied peel in a bowl. Add the vanilla.

Add the mix-ins:

1. Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside.

loaf pan lined with parchment paper

2. To the dough, add the flaxseed and water mix, dried fruit and spices. Mix on low until combined.

dough kneading in a stand mixer with 2dried fruit and spices

3. Increase the speed to medium and gradually mix in the softened butter. 

pat of vegan butter being added dough mixing in a stand mixer

4. Increase the speed to high for about 1 minute or until the dough is smooth and glossy. Mix in the browning if desired.

dough kneading in a stand mixer

5. Scrape the dough into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Cover with a clean towel. Allow it to rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

side by side image showing yeast dough being added to loaf tin for rising

Bake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes on the centre rack. When done, the bun should be brown on top and sound hollow when lightly tapped. If using a thermometer, the centre should be about 180°F to 190°F (82°C to 87°C).

3. While baking, combine the ingredients for the glaze and heat until the sugar is dissolved in a pan or microwave.

4. Brush the bun with the glaze immediately when it comes out of the oven, then allow it to cool completely. It will shrink slightly and the crust will soften.

spice bun being glazed with a blue pastry brush

5. Serve as is or with dairy-free butter or cheese.

close up of slice of easter bun with margarine on a white plate

Key Tips to Follow

1. The dough will be very sticky. Although it can be mixed by hand, it will take a strong arm and some extra time. I recommend using a stand mixer for quicker results.

2. Make sure the liquid is heated between 120°F to 130°F (48°C to 54°C). If it’s too hot it could damage the yeast. If it’s too cool then yeast activity would be slowed. 

3. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the liquid until it is very warm (not hot!). You can test a drop or two on the back of your hand. If it’s too hot, allow it to cool a bit then retest.

4. If the temperature of the room is too hot and humid, place the dough in the fridge to proof. If it’s too cold, place in the oven with the light on.

5. I wouldn’t recommend using molasses in place of browning as it’s strong flavor could overpower the spices and malta.

Recipe Variations

  • You may use stout beer in place of malta, however not all brands may be vegan-friendly.
  • You can blend the dried fruits until smooth before adding to still get the flavor without the chunks.
  • Soak the dried fruits in rum for a unique flavor. Drain well before adding to the dough.

Storage Suggestions

Spice buns can be stored for up to 5 days. Be sure to wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap.

As with most bread products, it may become drier as the days go by. A quick reheat in the microwave can make it moist again but it would have to be eaten immediately.

More fruit-filled springtime recipes:

easter bun in a loaf tin on a cooling rack

Vegan Jamaican Easter Bun (with yeast)

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Rising Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 8
Calories: 239kcal
Print Pin Rate
Celebrate the Easter holiday with this simple and delicious spice bun recipe.

Equipment

Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, select the Metric option below and use measuring spoons.

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup malta beverage, soy milk or water

Mix-ins:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, or chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoon mixed candied peel, or more raisins
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted), softened
  • ½ teaspoon browning, optional

Glaze:

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon malta, or vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

Make the dough:

  • Heat the malta beverage to between 120°F to 130°F (48°C to 54°C).
    ½ cup malta beverage
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and brown sugar. Add the salt and yeast to separate sides of the bowl. Mix on low to combine. Add the malta.
    2 cups all-purpose flour ,2 tablespoon brown sugar ,½ teaspoon salt ,2 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • Increase the mixer to medium-high speed. Mix for about 5 minutes or until a smooth, sticky dough is formed. Add more liquid if needed, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size (See Notes).

Prepare the mix-ins:

  • Combine the ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.
    1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds ,2 tablespoon water
  • Separately, combine the raisins and candied peel in a bowl. Add the vanilla.
    ¼ cup raisins ,3 tablespoon mixed candied peel ,1 tablespoon vanilla

Add the mix-ins:

  • Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside.
  • To the dough, add the flaxseed and water mix, dried fruit and spices. Mix on low until combined.
    1 tablespoon mixed spice ,1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ,½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Increase the speed to medium and gradually mix in the softened butter.
    ¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted)
  • Increase the speed to high for about 1 minute or until the dough is smooth and glossy. Mix in the browning if desired.
    ½ teaspoon browning
  • Scrape the dough into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Cover with a clean towel. Allow it to rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes on the center rack. When done, the bun should be brown on top and sound hollow when lightly tapped. If using a thermometer, the centre should be about 180°F to 190°F (82°C to 87°C).
  • While baking, combine the ingredients for the glaze and heat until the sugar is dissolved in a pan or microwave.
    1 teaspoon brown sugar ,1 tablespoon malta ,1 tablespoon water
  • Brush the bun with the glaze immediately when it comes out of the oven, then allow it to cool completely. It will shrink slightly and the crust will soften.
  • Serve as is or with dairy-free butter or cheese.

Notes

  • The dough will be very sticky. Although it can be mixed by hand, it will take a strong arm and some extra time. I recommend using a stand mixer for quicker results.
  • Make sure the liquid is heated between 120°F to 130°F (48°C to 54°C). If it’s too hot it could damage the yeast. If it’s too cool then yeast activity would be slowed.
  • “Browning” is often used in Jamaica to add a darker brown colour to baked goods. A little goes a long way so try not to use too much.
  • I would not recommend using molasses as a substitute for browning as it can overpower the spices.
  • Spice buns can be stored for up to 5 days. Be sure to wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap.
Tried this recipe? Upload a photo in the comments below!If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a rating. It really helps the blog.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Jamaican
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

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