Recipe / Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Buns

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Cinnamon buns have been one of my all time favourite sweet things since I was a little kid - I used to be obsessed with the ones you could get in a tube when I lived in the US, and that sticky sweet sauce you drizzle over the top.  I haven't really had proper cinnamon buns for years, since here usually the ones from supermarkets are made from flaky pastry instead of the nice, fluffy dough I'm more accustomed to.  So, with all of my forays into vegan baking, I decided that cinnamon buns were top of the list of things I should make, and what better thing to make at this time of year than pumpkin spiced ones?

This recipe is reasonably time-consuming because of both the dough and the pumpkin purée (if you choose to make it from scratch), so it's not something you can whip up in a hurry, but time it takes to let the dough rise or roast the pumpkin aside, it's otherwise simple enough and I bet most folks would find it pretty easy.  If you're not vegan, then you can obviously substitute the non-dairy ingredients with dairy ones.  So, if you're interested in seeing how I made these little (albeit slightly wonky) beauties, read on!

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Buns (v)
Makes 10 - 12 buns


For the dough:
1 pack of instant yeast
420g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp non-dairy butter
225ml unsweetened non-dairy milk

For the filling:
3 tbsp puréed squash or pumpkin
45g dark brown sugar
2 - 3 tbsp melted non-dairy butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves


1. If you're making the pumpkin purée from scratch, start by skinning, de-seeding and chopping up either a pumpkin or a butternut squash depending on what's available to you.  Place the edible bits in a tray and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until softened and fully cooked through.  While you're doing this, you can start preparing the dough, or you can do it in advance.  Once it's cooked, leave it to cool, then add it to a food processor and blitz it until smooth.  A whole pumpkin or squash will make way more than you need for this recipe, but you can save it to use in other recipes, like making your own pumpkin spice coffee, or adding to to your morning oatmeal.

2. Heat the 3 tbsp of non-dairy butter (I use Pure Soya) with your non-dairy milk in a saucepan.  The milk can be whatever you prefer - soy, almond, oat - as long as it's unsweeted, although I would recommend not using coconut milk as the flavour may not match quite as well as the others.  Do not boil it - you just want it to be warm enough to melt and combine, then remove it from the heat and let it cool to about the temperature of bath water.  If you test it against your wrist and it still feels too hot, let it cool for a bit longer otherwise it'll kill the yeast.  Once cooled enough, pour it into a mixing bowl, add the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes while it activates.

3.  Add your sugar and salt to the mixture and stir.  Next, add the flour a couple of tablespoons at a time, gently stirring as you go.  It'll be pretty loose and sticky to start with, but as you add the flour it will thicken up into a dough that you then want to knead on a lightly floured surface until it forms into a less sticky ball.  Transfer it back to a clean mixing bowl greased with a little bit of oil (I use olive), cover it with clingfilm and a clean tea towel, and leave it somewhere warm to rise for about an hour or until it's doubled in size.

4.  Remove the dough for the mixing bowl, flour your surface again, and roll it out into a thin rectangle.  You want to get the dough maybe just under half a centimetre thick if you can, but any thinner and it might be a bit more fragile and difficult to deal with when you add the pumpkin spice mix in it later.

5.  Mix your 2 - 3 tablespoons of melted butter with your pumpkin purée and stir well until you have a buttery, pumpkin sauce.  Using a pastry brush, or gently spreading it with a spoon or knife, spread it over the dough from end to end, being careful not to layer it on too thick (you probably won't need to use all of your pumpkin mix, but you can save this to use in other recipes).  Mix the sugar and spices, and then dust all of it evenly over the dough.  I recommend dark brown or muscovado sugar for this as it has a more autumnal, treacley flavour but you don't have to if it's not your thing.

6.  Begin rolling your dough - I rolled mine length-ways so I had a longer roll and more buns, but you can roll it from shorter end and have fewer, fatter buns too if big buns are what spices your pumpkin.  You'll want to be careful rolling it, as you want it to be tightly rolled, but not so tight that it pushes the filling out as you're rolling.  (As you can see from the photos, mine are a little bit weirdly shaped because of issues with rolling it from I packing it too full!)  Once done, roll it over so the seam is underneath, and slice carefully with a serrated knife into even sections about 2 - 3cm thick.

7.  Place the rolls in either baking trays or glass, ovenproof dishes lined with baking paper.  It's okay if they're close enough to squidge together as they expand - it's better for keeping them moist and soft rather than going crispy all over.  Brush them with a bit more of your melted butter and pumpkin mixture, sprinkle with some extra cinnamon and cover them with clingfilm to rise for another 10 - 20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 180ºC.

8. Once the oven is hot enough and your rolls have risen a little bit more, whack them in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a light, golden brown on top.  Leave them to cool, and then bon appetit.

9.  To make a quick frosting, mix 140g icing sugar with between 3 and 6 tablespoons of non-dairy milk until you get your desired consistency (the less milk, the thicker it will be).  For extra flavour, add a bit of vanilla essence, or more cinnamon or more pumpkin purée.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe, let me know if you give it a try!


  1. These look delicious! I'm planning to try and make them when I go home for Christmas, I'll let you know how they turn out :) xx


    1. Aaah, awesome! I hope they turn out well for you and less wonky than mine. xD


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