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Bramley Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls


For the Bramley apple butter:

  • 5-6 Bramley apples, cored and roughly chopped
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 60ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cardamon

For the dough:

  • 325g strong white flour
  • 125ml warm milk
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 35g butter
  • 1 egg, free-range if possible
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 7g fast-action dried yeast

For the cream cheese glaze:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste, or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • A little hot water, to slacken


  1. First, make the Bramley apple butter by stewing the chopped apples with all the sugar, spices and liquids for 20 minutes over a medium-low heat in a covered saucepan until tender and beginning to break down.
  2. Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a blender (or use a hand blender) and blitz the mixture for enough time until it’s entirely smooth, the texture of a very thick soup.
  3. There’s still a lot of water in the mix, so return to the pan and continue to reduce (uncovered) for 30- 40 minutes over a medium-low heat until it reduces to the texture of a thick caramel. It will get darker as it reduces and keep stirring every so often to prevent the mixture from catching.
  4. Decant the mixture into two even quantities in mixing bowls and allow to cool entirely, then cover and refrigerate. This can be done two days beforehand.
  5. Then, make the dough, which is best done with a stand mixer as it’s an enriched, wetter dough with butter and eggs, but it can also be kneaded by hand. Add all the dough ingredients into the mixer fitting with a dough hook and knead for 15 minutes, then remove the mixing bowl, cover, and allow to prove until it doubles in size.
  6. Knock the dough back and allow five further minutes for it to relax –– at this point put one of your portions of Bramley apple butter in the freezer to firm it up until needed. Also, grease and sugar your baking dish, shaking out any excess. You can use a rectangular dish, we used a 25cm round dish.
  7. On a very lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rough rectangle, around 30 x 40 cm, and spread evenly with the Bramley apple butter portion from the freezer.
  8. Working on the long side, tightly roll the ‘buttered’ dough into a log-shape until taut and then cut, using a very sharp knife, into 8-10 even pieces. Assemble the buns into the baking dish and cover again to prove until it has doubled in size.
  9. Heat the oven to 170ºC and bake for 45-60 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and, while still warm, brush or smear the top with some of the remaining Bramley apple butter from the fridge. Allow to cool entirely.
  10. To make the cream cheese frosting, simply whisk the icing sugar and cream cheese together until combined and smooth, then whisk in a couple of tablespoons of hot water to slacken to thick but just about pourable consistency. Lavish over the top of the cooled buns and serve immediately.
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