Cream buns are the baked equivalent of cream doughnuts. They are sweet, soft buttery buns, split in half, filled with a dollop of whipped cream and topped with a strawberry jam droplet. Like their fried doughnut version, they remind me of so many fond childhood memories. Cream Buns remind me most of my father and of ‘Tea Rooms’. Growing up the late nineteen eighties and early nineties in rural KZN, these were often scattered in small towns. Often dark and unsightly in appearance, their shelves were always packed to the brim. It was a place to buy almost everything you needed, from baking powder to razor blades and even baked treats like snowballs, neapolitan cake, and cream buns.
Cream Buns around the World
I know cream buns from my South African childhood; they also exist in Italy and in England. The Italian version, known as Maritozzi. This ancient Roman treat was initially made from flour, eggs, honey, and fat and originates from the word ‘marito’, husband. Apparently it in Middle Ages these sweet cream Italian buns were used to hide small golden objects or rings to prospective wives on Valentine’s Day. Like the English equivalent, Hot Cross Buns, maritozzi was also a sweet treat to indulge in after a long Lent. Cream buns have evolved since the middle ages. The English version of cream buns is known as Cornish spilts and is often served warm as a tea time treat. I assume that it was the Cornish split that influenced the South African cream buns as well as other variations of it in the former British colonies.
How to Make Cream Buns
Cream buns are made by making soft yeast bread like dough that is shaped into round balls then baked. When cooled it is filled with fresh whipped cream and topped with strawberry jam or a cherry. Much like doughnut dough, it has to be soft. This recipe is an eggless recipe, but yields soft buns without the use of eggs which usually account for some doughnuts soft, springy texture.
How to Make Cream Buns
To make cream for cream buns, you can use whipping cream, mascarpone or cream cheese or butter cream. In this recipe I used 150g of mascarpone cream mixed with 2 tablespoons icing sugar. I topped the cream buns with a drop of strawberry jam, you can also use glaze cherries.
- I use a reduced sugar content in the buns. If you prefer sweet cream buns, adjust sugar content accordingly.
Cream Bun Recipe
This recipe has evolved through trial and error, over the course of my now twenty seven year long baking experience. It is fairly simple, like most of my bread recipes, stick to a ration of 2 parts flour to one part liquid. I use warm milk instead of water and melted butter
Cream Buns Recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup warm milk
- 7g instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- pinch of salt
- 50g butter for the dough
- 25 butter for greasing
- Melt all butter. Set aside.
- Heat the milk until warm (not boiling just warm)
- Add sugar to milk. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add yeast. Stir. Cover yeast and milk mixture, set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sift flour and salt. Make a well in the flour.
- Add melted butter. Add yeast mixture.
- Combine until a soft dough forms.
- Don’t add any additional liquid or flour. Knead until a soft dough forms.
- Use of a teaspoon of remaining melted butter to grease a bowl with. Rub the dough into the bowl, turning it to cover in melted butter.
- Place dough in a bowl. Cover with a clean cloth, set aside. Leave to proof until the dough doubles in size, this should occur after 30 minutes or so.
- After 30 minutes punch down the expanded dough. Shape into balls 4-5 cm.
- Place in a shallow baking dish or tray. Brush with melted butter.
- Cover and allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat opven to 180 degrees Celcius.
- Once the oven is warm. Bake the buns in the oven.
- After 15 minutes in the oven, brush with melted butter.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until buns are brown in colour.
- Allow to cool. I cover the buns with a damp cloth for 5 minutes.
- When cool, cut in the middle and fill with cream. You can either use a piping bag or spoon cream into the opening.
- Complete your cream buns with a dot of red jam.
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