Chelsea buns are quite similar to Sticky buns, cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns  (in the U.S and Sweden), with the addition of sultanas in it's cinnamony center. The consistency of the South African chelsea bun also differs from cinnamon buns. It is not pastry like but rather more like soft bread rolls.

This recipe is based on a combination of Amma’s soft roll recipe and her Donut recipe.  I have used yeast and an egg to achieve the soft texture-and instead of mixing the butter and flour (as in the case with pastry) I have separated the dry ingredients then combined the butter, milk and egg. ( a lesson well learned from yesterday's Romany Creams recipe).

This recipe consists of 2 steps, first to make the dough then the sugary glaze. Since the Chelsea buns have a sweet sugar topping it is best to keep the sugar content in the dough to a minimum of one teaspoon. The main reason for using any sugar at all is that it is needed to help activate the yeast.

Apart from trying out this new Chelsea Buns recipe- I am also trying out  ‘fantastic plastic’ kitchen tools…a scale, a larger mixing bowl and a measuring cup. Though Amma’s recipes were often made using ‘per cup’ measurements with ordinary cups I have opted to now use metric measurements for all future recipes.   This Chelsea Buns recipe yields 8 medium sized Chelsea Buns (6-7cm diameter).


For the buns you will need:
  •  240g Strong Flour (Plain Flour, All Purpose, Bread Flour)
  • 30g flour for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 7 g dry yeast
  • 25g butter
  •  1 egg
  • 75ml warm milk
  • salt


  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 50 g sultanas or fruit mix
  • 30g melted butter

  • 1 tablespoon honey or apricot jam
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

How to Make Chelsea Buns

© 2011 l

1. Warm the milk in a sauce pan. Remove from stove.
NOTE: The milk should be warm not hot or else it will coagulate the egg.

2. Add the butter .Allow the butter to melt while you sift the flour and prepare dry ingredients.
3. Sift the Flour. Add salt, sugar and yeast. Mix then make a well in the flour.
© 2011 l

4. Combine the butter/milk mixture with a beaten egg then pour into the flour. Combine all ingredients to make soft dough. Knead the dough continuously for 5 minutes.Punch roll or fold the dough but do-not break apart.You need to knead the dough to achieve the soft texture of Chelsea Buns.
NOTE: The dough will be a little sticky. Remove from the mixing bowl. Dust your work surface with flour then mix knead the dough until it is less sticky. Don't add too much flour or knead for too long. Stop once the dough is less sticky.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl (to avoid it sticking to the bowl).
6. Cover with cling wrap /plastic film then keep in a warm place for an hour.

© 2011 l

7. Preheat the oven 180 degrees Celsius.
8. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.Roll out into a square shape.
NOTE: Careful not to roll too thin. This was the mistake I made. As a result the line of the roll looks less defined. Be sure to roll to a minimum of 2cm thick.
© 2011 l

9. Once rolled. Brush with melted butter then dust with cinnamon--sprinkle with sultanas and sugar. Leave a 2cm piece of dough on the ends free to enable the roll to fold.
© 2011 l

10. Roll the dough tightly like swiss roll
11. Cut into 4cm thick slices. Place in a well oiled pan leaving just a centimeter or two between each Chelsea bun. Cover then allow to rest for 20-30 minutes until the dough has expanded.
12. Brush with milk then bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.Remove from oven once the Chelsea Buns are slightly brown. Apply the melted honey  immediately after you take the Chelsea Buns out of the oven.
13. Apply the sugar glaze when the buns have cooled.

How To Make the Glaze

I have omitted the sugar glaze from my recipe(pictured in this post) but if you love sugar then the glaze is the most important part of Chelsea Buns. When the buns are slightly brown remove from oven then brush  with honey. This will create a sticky surface for the sugar glaze to rest on. You can use honey, apricot jam or syrup to brush the Chelsea Buns, place in the microwave for 3 seconds to achieve the right consistency then brush over the Chelsea buns.

To make the sugar glaze combine the icing sugar and water then drizzle over the Chelsea Buns once cooled. Allow the Glaze to set before serving.

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