Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

Being a self proclaimed cinnamon queen and breakfast fanatic means that birthday breakfasts are going to be:

– most likely spiced
– sweet
– require the kind of effort and will power to get out of bed early to bake that I’ll only muster up once a year

Oh and this is a competition between Me and Me, trying to outdo the previous years of celebratory breakfasts.

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

Ever since travelling to San Francisco a couple of years ago and eating one of Tartine’s ‘Morning Buns’ I’ve known that one day I’d want to make them myself but as the memory faded, so did the motivation. Last year I was reminded of those flaky, sugary buns during breakfast at Cellar Door Provisions in Chicago. We’d already sat down to enjoy their sourdough blueberry muffins and croissants when my mum spotted a restock of the tiny glass shelf occuring – this time with different baked goods. I saw the clover-like folds of dough and identified this new mystery pastry as a Kouign-amann which I’d never tried before. Of course we got a couple of those too (they were warm, I couldn’t resist!) and their similarly flaky, sugar crusted character got me thinking about making morning bunsΒ again.

Luckily I have a weirdly good memory for recipes so recalled seeing a recipe for ‘Sugar Buns‘ on Tara’s beauty of a blog. I read through the recipe and noted the use of Nigella Lawson’s food-processor Danish Pastry which I’d tried before (after re-jigging the recipe a tad) with great success. The best thing was that I was actually organised enough to be looking at the recipe the night before my birthday, meaning I could make and shape the pastry in the PM then wake-and-bake the buns in the AM. The 45-minute proving period required in the morning is the perfect amount of time for having a shower (hence the damp hair in the pics), getting dressed and brewing a pre-breakfast pot of coffee.

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

These really are pretty damn easy to make, don’t be intimidated by the lengthy instructions! The rolling and folding of the butter flecked dough doubles as the kneading and it takes about 10000% less time than making croissant dough. I also cut down the waiting time considerably by simply shoving the dough into the freezer, not the fridge, before the roll/fold process. Given that all twelve buns were gone in a day, I think a wise move would have been doubling the dough recipe. Then I could have kept half of it in the freezer for omg-I-need-breakfast-buns-now moments ….e.g. every single day.

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns


– Recipe and method adapted slightly from ‘Sugar Buns’ by Seven SpoonsΒ (where the Danish Pastry recipe is from Nigella Lawson).

– When rolling + folding the dough: If you do this quickly, you can get all the roll-and-folds done in one go. Otherwise, if the dough seems to be getting warm and sticky, it’s wise to put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes between every couple of fold-and-rolls. You don’t want the butter to get too soft as it needs to stay cold to create the layered effect.

– This is a night-before-assembly recipe!

Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns

4.67 from 3 votes


For the Quick Cardamom Danish Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a 7g packet , (2 1/4 tsp) active dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 3 or 4 cardamom pods
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , , cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup cold milk

For the Cinnamon Filling:

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar , , plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter , , melted

For the Vanilla Sugar:

  • 1/3 cup granulated or caster sugar , (I used a mixture)
  • beans from 1 vanilla pod , (or tsp vanilla extract)


For the dough:

  • Place the flours, salt and yeast into a food processor and briefly pulse together until blended.
  • Place the sugar and cardamom pods into a coffee grinder, blender or pestle + mortar and grind until fine. Add the cardamom sugar to the food processor. Cut the butter into 6 large chunks and scatter over the flour. Pulse in 3 times. Whisk together the egg, water and milk then pour into the food processor. Pulse together until a shaggy dough forms - you should still be able to see chunks of butter all over the place. Transfer the dough to a bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the cold dough out on a floured surface into a 20-inch square. Fold the left third of the dough into the middle and then the right third into the middle so that it overlaps the other fold, like a business letter (see the .gif below the recipe). Rotate the dough 90-degrees clockwise so that the long edge is facing you and roll out again into a 20-inch square. Repeat the folding, rotating and rolling four more times (so you have completed a total of 5 fold and rolls) (see notes). Wrap the 20-inch square of dough in cling film and put it back into the freezer for 10 minutes.


  • Brush the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin with some of the melted butter from the cinnamon filling. Dust each muffin cup with the extra granulated sugar too. Stir together the 2 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp powdered sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Take the chilled dough out of the freezer, unwrap and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into an 8x20-inch rectangle. Brush the surface all over with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar. Roll up tightly into a 20-inch long snake. Cut into 12 equal pieces and place (cut side down) into the prepared muffin tin. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and put into the fridge overnight.


  • In the morning take the muffin tin out of the fridge, uncover and leave at room temp for 45 minutes to prove (20 minutes into this proving period preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C)). Bake the buns for 17-20 minutes until well risen and deeply golden. Run a butter knife around the edges of each bun while hot to loosen it from the pan. Combine the vanilla sugar ingredients in a wide dish and roll the warm buns in it to coat.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

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54 thoughts on “Overnight Spiced Sugar Buns”

  1. Ohhhh yesss…this is definitely happening in my kitchen this weekend!! These look amazing!! Happy birthday!! xx

  2. These look fab! Love anything cinnamon (obv)! I hope it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make these because they’re definitely happening immediately. Lovely!

  3. Happy Birthday Gorgeous!

    Oh my, these look amazing! I’m addicted to these kind of breakfasts after backpacking Nordic Europe in December. I need no other food at that time of day now…ok, maybe porridge mid-week, a girl’s got to be healthy a few days a week right?

    Hope you had a great day xx

  4. IZY!!!

    This post is insanely perfect. I adore your awesome blue hair, and seriously, these photos are stunning.

    Also… Monica Geller … yes.

    and happy birthday, girl! πŸ˜€ xx

  5. The cardamom in this dough totally makes my day. These look so yummy girl! So happy to see a new recipe πŸ™‚

  6. Happy B-day, Izy! I am simply drooling over these buns right now! What a perfect way to celebrate. Love them!

  7. Wow, these cinnamon rolls look delicious; I can almost taste them just by looking at them!! Compliments also to your pictures! πŸ™‚

    I’m definitely going to this recipe

  8. Hello Izy! Just wondering, what kind of camera is that with you in photo #2? I really like it!
    These morning buns look heavenly and happy birthday! πŸ™‚

  9. Happy birthday! These look like a fab alternative to croissants for flaky breakfast pastry deliciousness.

  10. Oh my goodness this is so exciting! Gail’s bakery in Hampstead sells cinnamon buns just like this! I dont live in London anymore (I live in Botswana, the land that baked goods forgot) so I have been craving them something fierce for the longest time! Thank you for this recipe, I cant wait tommake them!

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about! I’ve never had one of the Gail’s cinnamon buns but yep I’m pretty sure they’re the same as this πŸ™‚

  11. Oh my goodness, i’m not going to be able to get these out of my head all day!

    They look incredible, those swirls, THAT SUGAR! Wow.

    I think these would be the perfect thing to make for my Mum to wake up to on Mother’s Day, she is a huge cinnamon fan, and an even bigger fan of baked goods in the morning.

    Hope you had a lovely birthday πŸ™‚

    Jennie // Scarletscorchdroppers


  12. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yuuuuuuuuum!
    I think I might have to make these before my birthday, I’m not sure I can wait until then.

    Hope your birthday was filled with other wonderful delights like these!


  13. Happy birthday! These look completely amazing. My husband and I were just in SF and he ate one of those morning buns – the whole place smelled amazing so I can only imagine how gorgeously scented your kitchen was while baking these beauties!

  14. Happy birthday!! Sorry I am late to the party but I am all for make ahead breakfast buns esp. if it buttery and dusted in sugar. I wish I was in your kitchen when these were baking. Izy you are baking goddess.

  15. Oh yeah, sweet breakfasts are my jam! These look wonderful, especially with the cardamom πŸ™‚

  16. Happy Birthday! These buns look simply divine; the lamination of the dough really makes those flaky layers look like perfection. They look so sugary and delicious, just… wow!

  17. It’s kind of a travesty I don’t eat those morning buns more often…Tartine is right by my work and only about a 15-20 min drive from my house…I’m totally making these. Happy birthday!!!

  18. These are perfect birthday breakfast fodder they look so good, hope you had a good birthday.

  19. Putting these in the freezer – best idea ever!! Hope you had a wonderful birthday Izy!

  20. You mentioned doubling and freezing half the batch…would you just pull them out of the freezer, proof them and then bake?…this would be ideal for morning breakfast get togethers!

  21. These look insane. Cinnamon bakes are my all-time favourite, these are the most gorgeous colour too, mmm. Thanks so much for sharing!

  22. hi,

    I am a French culinary blogger ( so excuse my English a little awkward ) and I came to see What did our friends across the Atlantic .

    I am delighted by your blog , beautiful pictures and beautiful recipes.

  23. Holy cow Izy, this post! These buns are just absolutely stunning (btw, are you talking about being inspired by Tartine Bakery in SF’s morning bun? Bc I dream about that bun almost every day), and those flavors!!! Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks, Michelle! And YEP πŸ™‚ We literally went back to Tartine bakery in the morning before our flight home to buy those buns for fancy plane food!

  24. Wahooo, happy belated BDay Izy! Oh my, I wish I had these for breakfast rather than the (ever so lovely BUT!) bran flakes from Whole Foods Fulham. You weren’t very far anyway! I can’t wait to make them. Must be tomorrow!

  25. Hello ^^
    these look fantastic! I mean we all two or three of these to satisfy our sugar cravings early in the morning right ? And your F.R.I.E.N.D.S reference – YAY!
    By the way, Happy Birthday (belated)! Your blog is such a pick-me-up during those weird study days —-> like today =)
    PS – we share the same birthdays, Hope you had a blast !

  26. Wow- these look amazing! Do you have to wait for your birthday to make them or is right now okay?

  27. Wow! I am such a breakfast nut it’s unreal and these look AMAZING. Basically anything covered in sugar can’t be bad right?!

    Lauren //

    • Hi Pauline! The dough rises slightly in the fridge overnight but the low temperature does retard the yeast. In the morning when you take the dough out of the fridge and let it rise at room temp. for 45 minutes its volume should increase a lot more.

      If you’re concerned about the yeast being too old and inactive: I’d say don’t blend it with the flour. Instead mix the yeast with the 1/4 cup water (use warm water) and a pinch of sugar at the start. Set it aside for 10 minutes – if it’s frothy you’re good to go! You can just mix it into the egg/milk mixture and continue from there. If not, you’ll need to buy new yeast πŸ™‚

  28. Wow. These were great! I made the dough last night and then baked them this morning. You end up with super flaky, crisp layers, similar to a croissant without the hard labor of making real croissant dough. What a great trick. I will experiment with different fillings now that I see how easy these are to make- I love an almond paste with cardamom filling, so that will be my next step. Thanks for turning me on to these!

  29. Hi! I’ve always wondered, when you’re in the picture do you use a tripod or do you have someone else take the photo for you? Cos they turn out so well!

  30. I am new to using yeast in my baking. It is fun yet challenging. These buns look delicious. I have a question for you. What is whole meal flour? I have not encountered this in any of my other recipes. Thanks

  31. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a few of your bread based recipes with huge success and was very keen to try the spiced sugar buns. I must admit I was very uncertain about getting a success rate when I saw how “sloppy” the dough was when it came out of the food process. I am so glad I persevered as they have just come out of the oven and they taste delicious. The last five are sitting on the bench waiting for my daughter to get home. Thank you for all your great recipes, I am working my way through your site a big mouthful at a time πŸ™‚

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