Cardamom Buns

I’ve recently been into making a big old batch of buns at the weekend, which then serve for breakfast and mid-afternoon snacks for several days afterwards. I’ve mostly made them with cinnamon, with a brief flirtation with vine fruits and citrus over Easter, but much as I love cinnamon, it can get a little bit same-y. So what could I use instead? Simple – cardamom!

I recently saw a recipe for buns that replaced the cinnamon with ground cardamom, which is mixed into the butter/sugar filling. The moment I saw this idea I was convinced – I love the flavour of this spice. It has a lovely citrus-like aromatic flavour that complements the yeasty dough and butter filling very nicely. So I had a bash, and just adapted my kanelbullar recipe.

However…much as I like cardamom…it’s a real pain to use. You’ve got lots of little pods, usually rock-hard, that need to be picked apart by hand, and then you need to scape out the seeds and crush them. I’ve got a nifty little marble mortar and pestle that is perfectly suited to this, and it get the spices so fine that you can sieve then through a tea strainer, and get a very fine power that is ideal for this recipe (means no bigger “gritty” pieces). However, if you’re busy or don’t fancy the home grinding process, just use pre-ground. Our little secret…shhhh!

As you can see, I’ve played around with the appearance of these buns too. Rather than baking them on muffin cases on a flat try, I used arty squares of greaseproof paper pushed into a muffin tray. It looked a little like a tray of paper tulips! Certainly adds a little something when you present a tray of them, still warm, to breakfast or bunch guests. However, I made these on my own, thus lacking an audience to experience the brilliance of my creativity.

I noticed, too, that recently I have tended to veer towards pictures of finished items only. Of course, sometimes it is either interesting or helpful (or both) to see the intermediate steps in the baking process. Also, you do end up with such interesting patterns when things are formed into spirals and cut, and I love how the patterns of the buns of the tray looks.

As is usually the case for yeast doughs, you’ll think that the buns are way too small when you cut the dough and put into the tray. However, fret not, as they will expand considerably if you leave them somewhere warm.

As you can see below, they nearly tripled in size over an hour! It did help that it was a freezing day outside, and so the heating was on inside and that meant the yeast was happily bubbling away.

To finish the buns, I followed the usual steps – brushing with a little beaten egg and sprinkling with pearl sugar. Then into the oven to bake until golden-brown.

These buns were sensational. The dough is very light, and the flavour of the cardamom does indeed make them seem fresh and slightly zesty – it’s sweet, buttery, fragrant and had a note of citrus to it. They also bake in such a way that they can be easily unpicked as you’re eating them with a coffee, so good for breakfast while reading the papers. And in their little paper jackets, I’m going to be so bold as to suggest that they’ve got a little bit of the “wow” factor too.

To make cardamom buns (makes 12):

For the dough:

• 2 teaspoons instant yeast
• 50g sugar
• 60g butter
• 150ml milk, scalded and cooled
• 1 egg
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
• 325g strong white flour

First thing – whisk the egg and divide in two. You need half for the dough, and half for the glaze.

If using a bread machine: put one portion of the egg and the rest of the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Run the “dough” cycle. Simples!

If making by hand: put the flour and butter into a bowl, and rub with your fingers until the butter has been incorporated. Fold in the salt, sugar, nutmeg/mace and yeast. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and one portion of the egg, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon, then work with your hands until you have a smooth, stretchy, silky dough (at least 5 minutes). Leave the dough a warm place for an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back and knead again for 2-3 minutes.

Once the dough is ready, turn it onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle until the dough is about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Spread with the filling, then roll up into a sausage. Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 slices.

Lay each slice, cut face up, on a bun case. Cover with cling film or a damp tea cloth and leave to rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take the remaining egg (remember that?) and mix with a tablespoon of water. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake the buns for about 10-12 minutes until golden.

When done, remove from the oven and cover with a clean tea-towel (this will catch the steam and keep the buns soft).

For the filling:

• 60g butter, soft
• 60g caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

Worth making? These buns are amazing. It’s a very unusual flavour in terms of baked goods, at least in London, so it’s nice to have something different. They’re buttery, zesty and fragrant. They also last for a few days if stored in a sealed container, so can see you through several breakfasts, mid-morning snacks and afternoon treats.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

26 responses to “Cardamom Buns

  1. These look great! I love cardamom pistachio cakes so I’ll definitely give these a go.

  2. Beautiful photography and very interesting recipe idea – that’s getting added to my “to try” folder 🙂

  3. I’ve been meaning to try to replicate the cardamom buns from Peter’s Yard in Edinburgh – I’ll have to try your recipe now. They look beautiful.

  4. These looks so beautiful and bet they were good. Bookmarking!!!

  5. I was not familiar with cardamon but now I’m inspired. I discoverd that Finnish cinnamon roll, ‘korvapuusti ‘ has very unique flavor. It is cardamon! ha! Eureka!! I love all your photos and especially the first cardamon shot!

    • Hi – I know what you mean about the cardamom in the cinnamon buns. It’s similar in Sweden, and it took me a while to work out what it is, but I think the flavour is essential in them! That’s why I added the mace to the dough for the cardamom buns – I thought it might be a little bland without it, and I think the mace/cardamom combo works really well. And I’m glad you like the pics – I’m pleased with how you can see the before/after of the buns.

  6. jacquelineroll

    These look absolutely delicious and a nice idea to use cardamom. I agree, with the way you have presented them. They are very on trend 😉

  7. Catherine

    They look delicious, I’m an absolute sucker for anything cardamom. I bet they’d be great with some orange zest in too to up the citrus flavour. The presentation is great.

    I was just reading your kanelbullar post and noticed you said you hadn’t been able to find pearl sugar in London. I had difficultly tracking it down but eventually ordered it online from bakery bits ( Since then I’ve discovered that Scandinavian Kitchen in London also sells it (

    • Hi Catherine – good idea with the lemon zest.

      I’ve become a bit of a fan of the Scandinavian Kitchen – I managed to get all manner of “odd” ingredients there, including ammonium carbonate for making Christmas cookies. I’ll head over once my current stash has been used up.

  8. 21centuryurbanhousewife

    i’ve just discovered your blog looking for a madeleine recipe, and am loving it! I am totally obsessed with cardamom right now and have been experimenting with different scandi bun recipes too! thanks for the inspiration!

  9. I’ve not tried cardamom in baking yet but I’ve seen quite a few different recipes popping up recently and these buns look so tasty that I’m going to have to try them.

    • Hi Jen – if you’ve not tried it, I really do recommend it. It’s got a fresh, slightly citrus flavour and goes very nicely with the sweet, buttery buns. Good luck!

  10. i made these yesterday and they turned out beautifully! great recipe. there is a photo in here of them!

  11. Looks like a fun thing to try for brunch. I often buy the cardamom buns from Fabrique Bakery in Hoxton, which are delicious!!

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  14. These are absolutely amazing! my fourth time making them
    Now I am on double quantities!!!Gave them to my nieces swedish boyfriend who was very impressed….

    • Hello! Glad that you like them. I think they are massively addictive. I made a batch recently for work and they lasted about 5 minutes. Double quantities…can’t be bad!

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  16. Deeksha

    Hey, the buns looks lovely. But most of your bread/bun recipes include eggs. Is there sometime I can replace the eggs with? Something which wouldn’t alter the flavor and texture?

    • Hi Deeksha – that’s a great question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer for certain. In some of the recipes, such as cinnamon or cardamom buns, there is not very much egg in the recipe (I use 1/2 in the dough, 1/2 as the glaze), so you could probably skip it and add a little more milk or other liquid. It might change the texture a little, but probably not massively so. Whatever you do, I’m sure the results will still be delicious!

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