Monday, February 22, 2010

Unbelievably Good Cinnamon Buns

My memory for cinnamon buns doesn't come from my mother baking them. In fact, I don't remember her ever baking them. I do remember her hot cross buns that I will share with you all on Good Friday, but that will have to wait. No, this memory is with my daughters, not making buns, but stopping for an afternoon treat after shopping at the mall. These buns were big and we'd share them while chatting about fashion, what happened at school that day, their latest music fads, etc. Sometimes, we'd meet up with one of my friends, Mary Jayne, who would also love these incredible treats. When she joined us, I remember watching her pick out the raisins from her bun and making a neat pile of them on her plate. We'd all laugh at her "raisin hill" and it was one of those memories that today still makes me smile.
I came across this recipe on one of my favorite sites, and was fascinated about the description..."Cake Mix Cinnamon Buns." Now, anyone who knows me, knows I have never bought (or made) a cake from a cake mix, but this intrigued me to try it. Admittingly, I felt guilty buying a cake mix and used the self-checkout so no one would think I was making a cake from a mix! The buns turned out incredibly good. However, in order to make this my twist, I've done some tweaking and here's my version. (You'll notice I don't mention the fact there's a cake mix in the batter!...still feeling guilty.)  

In the KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, mix:

1 pkg. Yellow (or white) cake mix (I chose Duncan Hines Super Moist Yellow Cake)
3 cups All-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamon (optional, but really good)
Meanwhile, add 2 T. (or 2 pkgs.) Active Dry Yeast to 1/2 cup very warm water. Whisk in 1/2 tsp. sugar and let mixture proof.
In a 2-cup measuring cup, add 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%, but 2% or whole milk would work) and 4 T. unsalted butter. Microwave on high for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Add warm water to the bring the measurement up to 2 cups liquid. Add to the dry ingredients and mix. Then, add the proofed yeast mixture and mix well. Switch to the dough hook and continue to knead, adding in additional flour (1/2 cup at a time) until dough does not cling to the sides. Brush melted butter inside a plastic tub or a glass bowl and turn your dough into it. Turn the dough once, then, put the lid on (or plastic wrap) and let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 T. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. cardamon (optional) in a bowl and set aside. Also, set out one stick of unsalted butter to soften.

Sprinkle work surface with flour and turn tub (or bowl) upside down, keeping the tub over it while dough rests for 5 minutes. Remove tub and roll dough out to a 15 x 20-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the surface, using an off-set spatula, then, sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up, starting at the edge closest to you, tightly and pinching the ends across the seam when you come to the end. Turn the seam downward. Slice the roll in half, then, each half in half. Finally, the "quarters" into thirds. Place each slice, with the spiral facing up into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. (I used a sheet of parchment on the bottom, which I also buttered). Press each slice slightly to flatten. Repeat until all twelve are in the pan.

At this point they can go into the refrigerator, covered loosely with a large plastic bag for a "cold rise". This is ideal for all the busy Moms who would like to impress their family with hot cinnamon rolls that didn't come from a tube. Bring them in and set them on the counter, covered, while you preheat the oven to 350F-degrees. If you're baking them the same day, like I did, cover them with plastic wrap and a towel and let them rise for an additional 20-30 minutes. Bake for 35 minutes, turning the pan once.

Let them rest while you make up the glaze:
In a bowl, mix 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 3-4 T. milk, and 1 tsp. pure vanilla. Add additional milk to get a thin, spreadable glaze. Pour over the buns and let set. I like to cut the buns apart at this point. Serve warm

*Even though Mary Jayne didn't like raisins, you could sprinkle the dough with them or even chopped pecans after you sprinkle the sugar. Enjoy!


  1. We don't need the mall--Sissy and I just want to stand around your counter and lick our fingers while we eat and laugh together.

    I will attest to the fact that you don't use mixes:)

  2. I'm so hungry this morning--can I please have a cinnamon bun?! Why do you torture me with these pictures?

  3. Hello Susan

    First of all these cinnamon buns look wonderful. Brogan and I will be making these over the weekend. Thank you too Susan for your lovely Valentines card. It is truly special. I too would love to purchase your book. Could I purchase a signed copy? or must I buy through Amazon?

    Thank you
    A happy day to you
    Warm regards

  4. I thought I was the only one who knew the goodness of cardamom in a cinnamon bun! I'll even sprinkle it on the top of Cinnabons. Mmmmmm. I, too, will attest to your non-cake mix usage.

  5. Suzanne, an autographed copy is on its way! Thank you for sharing your blog and your lovely card. Love, Susan

  6. Kandyce, I'm glad to see someone else appreciates the versatility of cardamon! It's such a fragrant spice and underestimated as a flavor booster. You, my love, have a very sophisticated palette.

  7. I tried the Cinnamon Buns with the family, WOW!! I no sooner had them out of the over and my husband was into them. They were gone by the end of the night. Next double batch, I'm starting from scratch but adding the cardamon, I never thought of using it in cinnamon buns, but these were delicious. Thank you so very much Susan.

  8. Susan,
    Using Barb's profile for now!
    The buns were very good! However since we haven't had your buns to compare, we are not sure these are right!! Libby

  9. Susan,
    The cinnamon buns were a big success---the gals really enjoyed them.