Dust a baking tray with some cornmeal or flour. Set aside.
Add the sugar and egg and whisk until combined.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until it looks more like a smooth batter. It will be quite wet.
After 30 minutes it should look bubbly but still very wet. Add the oil and salt and fold through with a spatula.
Add the remaining cup of flour and mix into a ball. Transfer to a stand mixer with a dough hook and add the spices. If the dough is still a little wet, add another tablespoon or two of flour until it starts to firm up more. It should be soft but not too sticky.
Add the raisins and mix the dough on low speed for 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to your table dusted lightly with flour and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into a bowl which has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover and let rest for about another 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes or the dough has roughly doubled in size, knock all of the air out of it and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into small balls. An easy way to do this is to cup the dough under your palm and gently roll it in a circle while gently pressing down on it.
Place all 12 dough balls onto the prepared baking tray in a 4 x 3 formation almost touching each other.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a pot. Simmer until reduced by about half and a syrup has formed.
Glaze the buns when they come out of the oven and let cool. Best served the same day.