Tuesday 2 March 2010

Carrot Cake Inspired Cinnamon Buns

I was in the mood for something sweet and spicy. Something with a bit of texture and also a little bit sticky and gooey. I couldn’t decide between carrot cake and cinnamon buns and was getting annoyed at myself for spending too long agonising over the decision. I decided to just make both, but we didn’t need both and they would go to waste, so I was back to square one. I asked my family and they didn’t mind - not very helpful. I then hit upon the idea of combining the two to make carrot cake inspired cinnamon buns – the more I thought about it the happier I became.

I adapted a recipe for cinnamon buns I have been meaning to try for a while and just added all my favourite parts of carrot cake to the dough. Grated carrot, a mix of spices and pecans. I also added raisins to the filling and decided to top the whole thing off with a cream cheese frosting instead of the usual glace icing.

I just went with my instincts and removed an egg from the original recipe to compensate for the extra moisture from the grated carrots. I switched white sugar for brown and used fresh rather than dried yeast as I had some in the fridge. I ended up with a spiced nutty dough, flecked with carrot and filled with spiced sugar and raisins.

Once prepared and baked they looked good and they smelt amazing, sweet, spicy and yeasty but I still wasn’t sure how they would taste. I cut a square, still hot from the oven, and spread it with some cream cheese frosting and pulled off my first bite...delicious. The dough was soft and springy thanks to the egg and milk used in the mix which keeps it tender. The spicy sugar had melted into a sticky middle glaze and the nuts and raisins added extra texture and variety in each bite. The frosting was fresh tasting, creamy and cool in temperature against the hot bun, melting slightly into the swirls. It had a slight sweetness but maintained its characteristic tangy flavour.

I loved tearing off little bits, unwinding the swirl to reach the gooey sticky centre. It could still do with a little tweaking, but it was still lick-your-fingers good. The best of both worlds combined into one delicious treat. You won’t be able to resist having another one – I know I couldn’t!

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Buns
Spiced Carrot Dough
235ml milk
1 egg
75g butter
620g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
25g fresh yeast
125g light soft brown sugar
150g carrot
50g pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger

150g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
50g butter
75g raisins

85g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g icing sugar

Method – for the spiced carrot dough
Place the butter in a small bowl and heat in the microwave until melted. Pour over the milk and heat again for 30 seconds until the milk is warm to the touch but not hot. Stir in a tablespoon of the sugar and crumble in the fresh yeast. Stir to combine and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl weigh out the flour, salt, spices and remaining sugar. Coarsely grate over the carrots.
Beat the egg into the milky yeast mixture and pour over the dry mix. Stir together using the tips of your fingers and bring the mixture together to form a sticky dough.
Roughly chop the pecans, you still want them in fairly large pieces though. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the nuts into the dough. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic and less sticky, about 8-10 minutes.
Lightly grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place to prove for 1½-2 hours until doubled in volume. I find the airing cupboard works well. While you wait, prepare the filling and topping.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon together and mix well to combine. Have the butter and raisins weighed out in bowls and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add the icing sugar to taste. You want it sweet yet still with a good tang to it as the buns themselves are quite sweet. Keep in the fridge until required.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a long rectangle, about 15x20 inches.
Melt the filling butter and drizzle over the surface of the dough. Use a pastry brush to spread it out evenly. Scatter the cinnamon sugar over the entire surface. Sprinkle over the raisins and press down lightly.
Starting at the longest edge, roll the dough into a roll. Use a serrated bread knife to cut the dough into 12-18 sections – depending on how long your roll is or how fat you like your buns.
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch deep baking tray and arrange the buns in the tin. They don’t have to be swished in too much as they will expand and grow during baking.
Leave to prove in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C.
Bake the buns for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting a square and spreading with a dollop of the cream cheese topping.
Eat and enjoy while still warm and gooey.
If you don’t fancy the tangy cream cheese topping, and want something a little sweeter, a simple glace icing of water and icing sugar can be used instead.
Makes 12-18 buns
Beat eaten on day of baking or else reheated for 5 minutes in a hot oven the following day. Also, freeze well.


Smitten Sugar said...

Wow that sounds amazing! I love that you just kind of went with what you thought would work!

I think I need one of these right now!

Simones Kitchen said...

Now how creative is that and the endresult looks absolutely delicious!

Unknown said...

You are such an accomplished cook, I am impressed!
I really want to make them.
Could you tell me pls- will they work with dry yeast? How much should I use?

Choclette said...

You are such a star, what a wonderful invention.

Snooky doodle said...

ha you re a genius. carrot and cinnamon. yum :)

Unknown said...

What a beautiful recipe! And it would really suit me as it adds some friendly fibre as well as extra deliciousness to the cinnamon bun. A really inspiring post!

Johanna GGG said...

sound lovely - I have been trying to find time and energy to make a pumpkin version of cinnamon scrolls thought it might be today but it is getting away from me so I will just have to do with your great descriptions of the smell wafting through the house

Anh said...

Very creative!! I love the idea, and the dough looks super moist!

Katie said...

Hi Anna Maria,
Yes they would work well with dried yeast. Typically you need about half the amount of dreid yeast to fresh yeast, so for this recipe thats about 12g or 2 - 2.5 teaspoons.
Hope this helps :)

The Caked Crusader said...

I always unroll my bun too! These look amazing - I like the photo of them all in the tin as they look big and fat and juicy.
Yes...I am drooling!

Hilary said...

This is a really impressive recipe 'hack'. I don't think I could ever come up with something so creative.

Elle said...

Brilliant to combine the two favorites of carot cake and sticky buns! Sounds like the perfect thing for Sunday morning with coffee.

Weathered & Worn said...

They look and sound fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Monica H said...

Shut up! You are genius my friend. Why didn't I think of this. I adore carrot cake ans cinnamon rolls so I'm certain these would be a winner in my home.

Genius, I tell you!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

What a stunning recipe. Love it....big time. All my favourite flavours......

Anonymous said...

I totally love this recipe. Combining carrot cake and cinnamon buns in one. Both are my favourites :)

Peabody said...

How awesome is this! So want to make a version of these asap!

Houston Divorce Attorney said...

Impressive bread and rolls. Thanks a lot for baking and sharing.

Katherine said...

So do these taste like carrot cake at all??

Anonymous said...

I made these the other day when I got together with a friend for a baking date. At first we were going to make carrot cupcakes since she had lots of carrots. Then I saw a picture of cinnamon rolls, and then thought.. why not carrot cake cinnamon rolls?! So glad we found your recipe. These were delicious! I also preferred the cool cream cheese frosting over the usual overly-sweet gooey glaze.