Chelsea buns

Chelsea buns

How to Cook Bread
8 large buns
Peter Cassidy

The aroma of these buns as they bake is so enticing. The sticky apricot glaze gives them a lovely sheen but you can drizzle glacé icing over the buns instead if you prefer. You will need a 24cm round cake tin.


Quantity Ingredient
250ml milk
20g fresh yeast
100g caster sugar
500g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g butter, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
1 egg
oil, to grease
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
50g sultanas
50g currants
apricot glaze, (see note), to finish


  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to scalding point over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to tepid, about 38°C.
  2. In a small bowl, cream the yeast with 1 tsp of the sugar and 1 tbsp of the milk.
  3. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut 75g of the butter into cubes and rub into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in 50g sugar and make a well in the middle. Set aside the remaining butter in a warm place to soften.
  4. Break the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Add the beaten egg to the well in the flour mixture, along with the creamed yeast mixture and at least three quarters of the remaining milk. Using a cutlery knife, bring the dough together, adding any remaining milk if needed to make a soft dough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead for about 5–8 minutes until smooth.
  6. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
  7. Meanwhile, mix the remaining butter and sugar to a smooth paste with the mixed spice.
  8. Transfer the risen dough to the work surface and knock it back, kneading it for 2–3 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 25cm square. Spread the butter, sugar and spice paste over the dough as evenly as possible, and almost to the edges, then scatter over the dried fruit. Roll the dough up into a Swiss roll, trim off the ends and cut into 8 slices, 3cm thick.
  9. Generously grease the cake tin with butter. Arrange 7 buns, cut side up, around the inside edge of the prepared cake tin, leaving a little space between each to allow them to expand as they prove. Place the eighth bun in the middle.
  10. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 25–30 minutes, or until almost doubled in size. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  11. Bake in the oven for 25–35 minutes until risen and golden. Check between the layers for any greyness and bake for a little longer if there is any, on a lower shelf to avoid over-browning. Remove from the oven and lift the whole crown out of the tin onto a wire rack. Brush with apricot glaze and leave to cool.

To make an apricot glaze…

  • Put 250g apricot jam (not whole fruit) into a small pan with a finely pared strip or two of lemon zest and heat gently, without stirring, until the jam has melted, without letting it boil. If the jam is very thick add 2–3 tbsp warm water to loosen it, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the zest.
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