Breads, Rolls + Donuts Breakfast Holidays

cardamom sugar buns

cardamom sugar buns

I’m back with more morning buns. This is a recipe (and post) I put up on my site years ago, and I thought I’d bring it back to life by baking the buns (yet again) in my favorite soufflé molds (if you don’t have these molds, never fear! You can also bake the buns in ramekins or muffin tins; directions below). The recipe is adapted from Tara O’Brady’s Sugar Buns – she adds orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger along with the cardamom, but I went with just straight cardamom and love the results. I’ve used my Easy Danish Dough here, which give the buns flaky layers while keeping the center soft. (Also, if you’re a fan of Tara’s work, you can find her columns in the Globe and Mail here.)

I’ve made the rolls in individual soufflé molds, specifically, these 3 x 2-inch copper mini molds from Mauviel. If you do not have soufflé molds, you could use ramekins instead, just make sure they are roughly the same size. The molds I used have straight 2-inch sides, which helps give the rolls their tall shape. The sides of the pans are buttered and then dusted with sugar, which caramelizes the sides of the buns, making for an incredible roll. These buns can also be made in a muffin tin. Cut into 12 pieces instead of 10, and butter and sugar the tins as instructed below.

The one downside to the copper molds is that they are crazy hot when they come out of the oven, which can make it a little tricky to get them out. I use a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of the copper mold, then run a knife carefully around each roll, and flip them onto a wire rack. Make sure to line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper as noted in the instructions, or the buns will stick to the bottom and it will be extra hard to get them out.


I know that food isn’t a cure all, even though in bleak moments it may feel that way. There are days when everything is just out of reach, when turning on the news or reading headlines sends my head spinning; knowing of so many people struggling everywhere. And here I am, obsessing about the little things: is my cardamom fresh enough? is my kitchen big enough? is anyone reading this? I spend the morning with my daughter rolling out puff pastry, while war and rumors of war whisper out of every media outlet in the background. I tune it out. My world is centered in our little home, and my heart belongs to three beautiful people. But there are days, like this one, where it seems we are just gathering for ourselves here, even though there are so many sugar buns to spare. As we measure out a rectangle I am questioning our movements, asking myself, is there really time for making cakes? and baking bread?

We continue with the buns. My daughter has questions about all the layers of butter, which she helped me fold and turn the day before. We sprinkle the sugar together, smelling the cardamom on our hands. She shifts her face, hiding so I can’t see her licking the sweet and the spice off her fingers, but she spins back quickly; her face and lips lit up with tiny white sparkles. Words from earlier this week sweep through me: “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy”.* I am quietly shaken, but interrupted. My daughter asks me if we can give them away, if we can share our sugar buns when they are baked. I meet her eyes, comforted by her sincere delight, her small hands outstretched in giving. Yes, I tell her, we can.

(*Quote from Joseph Campbell.)

cardamom sugar buns
cardamom sugar buns

More Morning Bun Recipes:

cardamom sugar buns next to copper molds

Cardamom Sugar Buns

Servings: 10 buns
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Using easy danish dough, these cardamom sugar buns are lightly and flaky, with a fragrant filling. The cardamom adds warmth and delicious flavor.
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate



  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted


  • 1 cup (198g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds (see note above about soufflé mold specifics). You could also use ramekins or muffin tin. Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

For the filling

  • In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, cardamom, and salt

To assemble

  • Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. If using a muffin tin, cut into 12 pieces instead of 10 .Transfer the pieces to the prepared pans and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Remove the plastic and bake 22 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown. While the rolls are baking prepare the sugar coating by mixing the granulated sugar and cardamom together.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Toss the buns in the sugar cardamom coating, and let cool slightly before serving.


Adapted from Tara O’Brady’s Sugar Buns.
cardamom sugar buns
  • Reply
    Sunday, June 2, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    Can I make the buns one day, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator, and bake the next morning?

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 10:51 am

    5 stars
    Just wondering how long the total process takes usually (from beginning to make the Danish dough to the finished buns)? I’m not sure how far ahead to start so that these will be fresh when they’re ready to be served.

  • Reply
    Tamara Lauber
    Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sarah!! These are FANTASTIC!!!!! I also have an obsession with cardamom! These turned out soooo good and the flavor is out of this world! THANK YOU so much for your great posts and your great recipes!!! Very much appreciated!??????

  • Reply
    Friday, February 9, 2024 at 9:57 am

    These sound delicious. I’m going to try them. I was wondering if you have ever used a popover pan? I was thinking of just making 6 in the popover pan.

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 22, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    5 stars
    Oh My Gosh! These are absolutely fantastic! I love cardamom so these are totally a fav!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Coping by cooking here. Found you on a pod cast. I love this and I am right there with you!

  • Reply
    Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    Am I supposed to use the dough chilled to roll out and fill or wait until it comes to room temperature?

  • Reply
    Friday, December 28, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    This is so beautiful.
    I am new to bread baking, so I am studying up on different processes and ingredients with their effects. Is there a reason you chose to you use your Danish Dough as oppose to your Sweet Dough for these buns?
    So much love for your inspiring work! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Monday, November 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Cherish these times in the home with your children while they’re young, when they want to still be there. Mine are too busy now, my kitchen is a dark lonely place.

    • Reply
      Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Lisa – thanks for the reminder. I’m sorry the kitchen is lonely for you now. Sending some good vibes your way, and the hope that it will be a place of joy again in the future for you. Much love.

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I just bought a bottle of cardamon for a blueberry crumb cake and was hoping to find another recipe I would make that uses it..THANKS!!

  • Reply
    Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Is cardamom a taste similar to ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon? Just wondering, because I might make these to find out what it tastes like… Thanks, love the looks of them! ~

  • Reply
    Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 4:26 am

    There are ao many things I love about this post. Of course I love the the beautiful delicious looking buns. Your daughter is just adorable. The pictures are so fantastic and so touching. And I LOVE that you quoted Joseph Campbell. Love.

  • Reply
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    The buns look delicious and your pictures go so well with your very talented written post! I get the same feeling so often, being so immersed in my own world (food has a way of doing that) that I feel I´m not being aware of my surroundings enough.
    Your blog is a new discovery and every aspect of it (the words, the pictures, the colors) has a good effect on me. So nice to spend a little part of my week here!

  • Reply
    Russell at Chasing Delicious
    Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    These guys look so good. I love their cute size and the cardamom… and everything else about them ; ). Yum!

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Oh lord, these look amazing!

    And I am a firm believer that it is indeed the little things that ground and make us whole. The world spins and turns in sometimes incomprehensible ways, but being in the kitchen always brings back to me what’s important. This is beautiful.

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    From start to finish this is a thougtful and beautiful post. Thanks for coming back again and again and sharing.

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Beautiful. And oh, the memories you’re bringing back! Making cinnamon rolls happily with my little daughter while waiting the birth of her little sister. It was such a joy that we made another batch. And another. And another. This thin mom put on nine pounds that month, and when the doctor scolded, we made him a batch: take that!

    And that older daughter, now 30, loves to bake too.

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Such beautiful little buns. I wish I were taught to make Danish Dough at that age. You definitely touch on things that run through my mind all the time — the potential frivolity of what I do given the state of the world around me. Like you say, though, it all comes down to joy, and I love the quote. Cherish the time in the kitchen with your daughter!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I think it’s natural to wonder what your bigger purpose might be, especially in light of everything that happens in the world around us, every day. But I think that these joyful moments, with our families, our friends, our kitchens, the bounty of ingredients we are so lucky to have, are meant to be enjoyed. There will always be sorrow, but we must find joy in our everyday lives.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Yes! They are meant to be enjoyed, I agree. It’s hard to always find balance, I think, between giving and receiving, and joy and sorrow. I’m working on it. 😉

  • Reply
    art and lemons
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Beautifully said and photographed, Sarah! Lately, I’m drawn to simple recipes and life outside the kitchen and relate to what you wrote. There is time, time for being both in and out of the kitchen with puff pastry, cinnamon buns, and whatever else brings us all together in a moment.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Nikki! And well said: ‘whatever else brings us all together in a moment’. I like that.

  • Reply
    ilana freddye
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    these look really lovely!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    what a lovely, lovely post! and those buns. i cannot get enough of cardamom!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you Holly! I am slightly obsessed with cardamom.

  • Reply
    Elaina @ Flavour
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Oh Sarah, you inspire me every to be a better person and think joyfully. You make me smile. Beautiful post. Beautiful quote. Have a beautiful day! x

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks Elaina. Your words mean so much to me. I hope your day is beautiful, too. 😉

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Sarah this post is absolutely beautiful. Both the words and the pictures. I don’t yet have children but cannot wait to share those simple moments of joy with them when they do come along. Reading this made me feel wonderfully calm (despite the horrors of the world around us).

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how happy this comment made me. {thank you for your constant encouragement! I really appreciate you.}

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Mmm pure deliciousness! Love it!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I get days like that too. Why dwell in the kitchen when there is so much LIFE outside to handle? At some point, like you, I realized that dwelling in the kitchen was a way of pursuing all of those urgent other things. New perspective, staying in the light and moving onward.

    Also, sugar buns look lovely. Does anything you bake turn out bad?! Didn’t think so 🙂

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Laura! I do have bad baking days, ha. And yes, the kitchen is quite a place. There is good reasons to be there.

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Oh I love that quotation, it’s the only way to live really.

  • Reply
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 2:15 am

    How absolutely lovely…both your words and the cardamom sugar buns.

5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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