Apple and cinnamon Chelsea buns

Apple and cinnamon Chelsea buns

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

I have two apple trees in my garden and, from late summer onwards, I have cooking apples coming out of my ears. No matter how much I cook with them – in apple pies, tarts and sauce, baked, stewed – they still keep coming! This is a great batch-bake to share with workmates or to make for a bake sale. If you have an autumn morning to spare, making these is an ideal way to spend it.


Quantity Ingredient

For the buns

Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour, plus more to dust
7g table salt
7g ‘quick’ yeast
50g unsalted butter, plus more for the tin
250ml whole milk
1 large egg
1 large cooking apple
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
100g raisins
50g flaked almonds

For the caramel topping

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
35g unsalted butter, chopped into 1 cm cubes
50ml double cream

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
rolling pin
tape measure
pastry brush
large roasting tin, (preferably about 40 x 30 cm)
2 wire cooling racks
piping bag, (optional)


  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, making sure you put the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl before mixing. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Slightly warm the milk in a separate pan, pour it into a jug and beat in the egg and butter, then pour all the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour. Mix well, with a wooden spoon first and then your fingers, until you have a rough dough. Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead for 5–10 minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave for 1–1½ hours at room temperature until it has at least doubled in size.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by peeling and coring the apple and chopping it finely. Lay it on a sheet of kitchen paper on a chopping board. Lay some more kitchen paper over it, put another chopping board on top and put a heavy book on top of that to help press out some of the juice. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Clear a big area to roll out on – you need at least 80 x 40 cm – and flour it well. Tip out the dough on to the surface and begin to roll out into a rectangle at least 60 x 40 cm. You may need to let the dough rest every now and again to allow it to stretch to the full size, but remember to keep the underside well floured, or it will stick.
  4. Once the rectangle is made, evenly sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mix on to the dough, but try to keep the 4–5 cm edge of dough closest to you clear. Once this is done, evenly sprinkle the chopped apple, raisins and flaked almonds on to the dough, remembering to keep the long edge closest to you clear.
  5. Now roll it up. Start with the long edge furthest away from you and gently roll it towards you. This will feel fiddly at first, but will get easier as the roll gets thicker. When the roll is almost done, brush the clear strip of dough with water and finish the rolling, so the water sticks the roll closed. You should now have a long sausage of dough. If you want it longer, you can gently stretch it by lifting it off the surface and pulling it out. Be gentle! You don’t want to rip it.
  6. Get a large roasting tin, preferably about 40 x 30 cm, and butter it lightly. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in lengths of 4–5 cm. Gently put each in the roasting tin, cut side up, leaving a 1 cm gap between each to allow the buns to expand. Cover with cling film, and leave to rise somewhere warm for about 1 hour.
  7. Meanwhile, make the caramel. Put the sugar in a pan with 4 tablespoons of water and heat until the sugar has melted and turned golden brown. (If it turns dark brown, it’s burnt, and you have to start again!) Once golden brown, reduce the heat and add the butter, stirring all the while. Be careful, because this will bubble up. After about 1 minute of stirring, pour in the cream and continue to stir. Once the cream is mixed in, pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C, take the cling film off the roasting tin and bake the buns for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Take out, set on wire racks and allow to cool. Drizzle the caramel over the buns with a spoon, or use a piping bag if you have one.


  • This recipe has a level 2 (intermediate) difficulty.


  • This recipe is delicious as it is, but you can muck about with it in any way you choose.

    It’s a great way of using up any leftovers lurking at the back of the kitchen cupboards, such as nuts (make sure they’re not rancid!) and dried fruit.

    You can turn the topping into salted caramel by adding ½ teaspoon of table salt when you add the cream.

    Or top them with glacé icing.

    Personally, I love savoury Chelsea buns, too: try green or red pesto, or tomato passata, both lovely to spread on. Roasted vegetables, bacon bits, olives, grated cheese, even leftovers from Sunday lunch can taste great! Have fun with them.
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