Jamaican Spiced Bun – The Washington Post

This gluten-free version of a classic Jamaican afterschool or post-gathering snack is packed with warm spices and is a balanced combination of sweet and savory flavor. It is best at room temperature with Tastee cheese spread. Feel free to use your own favorite mix of dried fruits — such as cherries, mixed citrus peel and currants — and spices. It is also a traditional Easter dish.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 2 hours

Correction: In an earlier version of this recipe, we called for Guinness as the preferred stout. Guinness contains gluten, so, instead, use a gluten-free stout to keep the recipe gluten free. The recipe has been updated.

Make Ahead: The dark and golden raisins can be soaked in rum at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

Storage Notes: Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Where to Buy: Guava paste can be found at Caribbean markets or well-stocked supermarkets in the Caribbean/Latin American aisle. Tastee cheese can be found at Caribbean markets or online.



Tested size: 12 servings; two 9-inch buns

  • 1 (24-ounce/680-gram) box gluten-free flour mix, such as King Arthur Baking brand (may substitute with 5 1/3 cups/663 grams all-purpose flour)

  • 1 1/2 cups (346 grams) dark muscovado sugar (may substitute with 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon/346 grams packed dark brown sugar)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel (may substitute with 1/4 teaspoon orange extract)

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 1/2 cups (600 milliliters) gluten-free stout, such as Ghostfish Watchstander Stout

  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) red wine

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons/57 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more at room temperature for greasing the pans

  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons black currant preserves (may substitute with chunky cranberry jelly)

  • 1 tablespoon molasses

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg, beaten (see NOTE)

  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) candied ginger

  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dark raisins

  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup (42 grams) 1/2-inch cubes guava paste

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 3 tablespoons boiling water

  • Tastee cheese, for serving (may substitute with a sharp cheddar cheese)


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour mix, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, xanthan gum, allspice, cloves, orange peel and salt until combined. In another medium bowl, combine the stout, wine, butter, oil, preserves, molasses, vanilla, egg and a pinch of salt.

Dice the ginger into 1/4-inch cubes and add it, as well as the dark and golden raisins to the stout mixture; let hydrate for 15 minutes. While the fruit soaks, add the guava cubes to the flour mixture, tossing them so they are coated in the dry ingredients and don’t stick together; each cube should remain separate.

Add the stout mixture to the dry ingredients, about 1 cup at a time and stirring after each addition, until all of the stout mixture is incorporated and well-combined and it resembles pancake batter. Let the mixture rest about 10 minutes to fully hydrate.

Generously grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with room temperature butter, and fill each three-quarters of the way with the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes; the buns should rise to the top of the pans. Cover them with foil – this will prevent the tops from drying out – and continue baking for another 30 minutes, or until a sharp paring knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of each bun.

While the buns bake, in a small bowl, stir together the honey and boiling water until combined.

Remove the pans from the oven and carefully remove the buns from the pans. Brush the top and sides of the buns with the glaze, being more generous with the glaze on top. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Slice the buns into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with the cheese to sandwich between two slices of the bun.

NOTES: This recipe was developed using duck eggs, which have larger yolks and unique flavor, resulting in a softer and less chewy bun. You can use a large chicken egg, but if you want to replicate this plusher bun, here’s a trick: Use 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk.

Recipe Source

From writer, artist, event curator and owner of Pienanny, Tiffany-Anne Parkes.

Tested by Alexis Sargent.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.


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