soft and pillowy cinnamon buns


I first heard about Sarah Kieffer's award winning cinnamon bun recipe quite some time ago. I wasn't planning to make a batch though. These were supposed to be passionfruit custard scrolls but something went awry with the custard and I needed to change plans very quickly to prevent a custard disaster in my kitchen.

I scraped the custard from the dough; rechecked Sarah's recipe and thankfully had all the ingredients I needed for the filling and cream cheese icing and a few hours later I was taking these pillowy cinnamon rolls out of the oven.

Sarah's dough is a no-knead recipe which means the dough has a high liquid content and relies on folding done in the bowl rather than kneading followed by a sleep overnight in the fridge. It's a technique I use quite often but if you need any instructions Sarah has a GIF on her blog demonstrating the technique. 
Once the buns come out of the oven they're slathered with some of the cream cheese icing. The rest is applied once the buns cool down.

True to her word, these are the lightest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls I've ever made. Maybe it was massaging the dough with custard that did the trick? I thought the buns might be overly sweet but they're not at all and they're so delicious I just had to share the recipe with you. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes 8 enormous cinnamon rolls. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.

Soft and pillowy cinnamon rolls - makes 8 large buns which are best eaten the day they're made. The recipe was adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog

2 large eggs room temperature 
90 mls milk, lukewarm
30 mls honey
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 cups (300g) plain flour 
1 slightly heaped tsp of dried yeast 
½ tsp salt
75g room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
1/4 cup (50g) packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
Pinch salt 
15g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
60g unsalted butter, room temperature 
60g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
Pinch salt 
½ cup icing sugar, sifted 
Grease a large bowl. Combine the eggs, milk, honey and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. The dough will be very sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.
To Assemble
Flour a work surface and knead the dough 10 to 12 times to activate the gluten. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the top lightly with flour, and cover with a tea towel and let come to room temperature
Grease and line a 26cm round pan with baking paper and set to one side. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Roll the dough into a 8 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at a long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. 
I tucked any loose ends underneath before I transferred the rolls to the prepared pan placing them cut side up. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, conventional. Remove the plastic and bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes on the centre rack or until the rolls are golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through. While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. 
Cream cheese icing
Place the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt into a medium size bowl. Using a hand beater, mix on medium until smooth and creamy. Add the icing sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium until the icing is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. 
When the rolls are ready, transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula or table knife, apply a thin layer of the cream cheese icing, using about one-third of the mixture. Let the rolls cool for another 15 to 20 minutes then top with the rest of the icing and serve.
If you’d like to make overnight cinnamon rolls then prepare the rolls (roll out dough, fill them, roll them up, cut them, and put them in the prepared pan) then cover them loosely with plastic and refrigerate for up to 18 hours. When ready to bake, preheat the oven, and let the rolls sit at room temperature (still covered in plastic) for 30-45 minutes. Bake as directed (they make take slightly longer to bake).

I shared these with my neighbours who declared they were 'amazing', 'beautiful' and 'yummy'. High praise indeed. Meanwhile I haven't quite worked out how best to use all those passionfruit still lurking in the fruit bowl. Hopefully I'll have sorted something out next time we meet. 
Until then,

Bye for now,


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