Scandinavian Baking… Those words are music to my ears.  They conjure up images of cardamom-scented, almond cream-filled buns in a row, cinnamon-dusted pastries straight from the oven, heavy, dense and nutrient packed loaves, all eaten in a winter landscape of stark snow and brightly coloured barns converted into coffee houses.  Yes, yes, yes.  I’ll take it all please… wrapped up in a bow and with a cup of perfectly brewed coffee.  But seeing as how I don’t even live in the right hemisphere for all that, I pretend I’m in my own little Scandinavian bake house… Come with me.

Before proofing…

After proofing…

Out of the oven and onto a wire rack to cool…

In with the most divine filling…  Remember to keep your tops with your bottoms.  Otherwise it’s a bit like matching your undies with your bra.  There’s nothing wrong with wearing your hot pink cotton Bonds undies with your black satin Berlei crossover, but a nice matching set of lingerie speaks volumes. 🙂

Pipe that ethereal whipped cream in and pile it up high…

Let the icing sugar “reign” down…

Aren’t they cute?

I may have gotten a little carried away with the photographs…

I definitely got carried away with the photographs.

Semlor Buns

Makes 12

For the Buns:

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 250ml full cream milk
  • 25g fresh yeast (I prefer to use fresh yeast, but if you can’t get your hands on it, use 12g dried yeast)
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 500g “00” flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (I use pink Himalaya)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten in two seperarte bowls

For the Filling:

  • 125ml cream
  • 100g marzipan, finely grated

For the Topping:

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Make the Buns:

  1. Melt the butter and milk in a small saucepan until the butter starts to melt. Remove from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. The mixture should be about 37°C (You can use a thermometer or stick a finger into the liquid and if it feels comfortable (blood temperature) it’s good to go.
  2. Put the lukewarm milk mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Crumble in the yeast and turn the mixer on low to mix. Add the sugar and continue to mix on low. Add half the flour and mix on low to combine. Add the salt, cardamom, baking powder and 1 of the beaten eggs. With the mixer still running on low, add enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly sticky dough. Don’t add too much flour to make a firm dough or your buns with be tough. In most instances when making bread dough, the wetter the better.
  3. Keep the mixer on low for 5 minutes. You should end up with an over-so-slighty tacky dough that just leaves the sides of the bowl. Scrape it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover wth plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to double in size.
  4. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a work surface. Divide the dough into 12 even portions, about 80g each. Roll each portion into a tight ball and place them on a baking tray (or two) that has been lined with baking paper. Leave enough room between for them to spread during baking. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot to become puffy for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  6. Once the buns have proofed, brush them with the second beaten egg and bake them for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden. If you are using two baking trays like I did, rotate the trays and swap them on the shelves about 7 – 8 minutes into baking time.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Filling:

  1. Once the buns have cooled completely, use a small serrated knife on an angle to cut a traingle out of the top of each bun. Keep the tops with the bun they were cut from, so as not to mix them up. Matching tops and bottoms will give you a nice presentation. Set aside.
  2. Use your fingers to pull the centre out of each bun, creating a hollow into which the filling with go. Put the pulled out pieces of fluffy bread into a bowl. Add the cream and grated marzipan and stir to combine. It will become paste-like. Set aside.

Make the Topping:

Whip the cream and icing sugar together until firm enough to pipe. Spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Set aside.


Spoon the almond cream filling into the cavity of each bun. Pipe the whipped cream over and top each bun with it’s matching lid. Sprinkle with lots of icing sugar. Apply to face.

Very slightly adapted from here