Vegan Cardamom Buns (Kardemummabullar)

Updated: Apr 10


Cardamom buns are all the rage in Copenhagen and are growing in popularity in other cities across the world.


If you don't know much about them, cardamom buns or "kardemummabullar" are a traditional Swedish relative to cinnamon rolls. They're somewhat similar, but cardamom buns are, you guessed it, made with cardamom instead of cinnamon, and are made into a more twisted shape.



They're commonly enjoyed during "fika" which is a huge part of Swedish culture. Fika is essentially a coffee and cake break, but it's so much more than that. It's about making time for a break with friends, family, and colleagues at some point during the day, where you also share some coffee and a bite to eat to make it that much more cozy.



Living in Copenhagen, which is geographically very close to Sweden (you can get there in about 30 mins by train), the cardamom buns here are just as good as having them in Sweden. Most people here would agree that Juno the Bakery is particularly known for being the best ones you can find in the city.




The problem is, it's quite hard to find vegan versions. Luckily, there's one cafe that I know, Kaf, that does an excellent take on this sweet treat. So I took on the challenge to create a delicious vegan version that tastes like the classic, so that you can make them from home, wherever you are in the world!


This recipe is for everyone and anyone. There's no stand mixer or other fancy kitchen appliances needed to make them. Just a bowl, something to grind cardamom seeds with (like a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or a clean coffee grinder), a wooden spoon, a rolling pin or something of a similar shape, a ruler, something to cut with (pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or knife), some ingredients, and your hands 😊





Want to give them a try? Let's do it. But first, I recommend reading the Notes section below before getting started.


I provided instructions below in step number 13 to guide you on how to twist them, and attached my Instagram Reels video below where I have a clip of it. But don't beat yourself up if the twist isn't "perfect." Mine aren't, and sometimes they're even better when they're each a little unique and rustic!




RECIPE

Makes about 15-20 buns


https://www.instagram.com/reel/CaSESzLqQB6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


Ingredients


Dough

  • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon (250 ml) plant milk, warmed (I use Oatly barista blend milk)

  • 12.5 grams fresh yeast or 1 envelope dry active yeast

  • 1/3 cup (66 g) brown sugar, packed

  • 3 1/4 cup (406 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough on the surface

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (77 g) softened vegan butter (I use the block version)

  • neutral oil like sunflower oil (to grease bowl)

Filling

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) softened vegan butter

  • 2/3 cup (120 g) brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds

  • pinch of salt


Bun wash

  • 2 tablespoons plant milk


Glaze and topping

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) plant milk

  • 3 tablespoons (38 g) brown sugar, packed

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons regular sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds


Instructions


  1. Take your butter out of the fridge to let it soften and become room temperature. Set aside.

  2. Now let's prepare the yeast mixture. Heat up your milk just enough so that it's warm and not hot (closer to lukewarm rather than too warm). Stir in 1 teaspoon of your brown sugar and add the yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes or until bubbly.

  3. While you wait on the yeast mixture to be ready, crush your cardamom seeds with a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or clean coffee grinder. Try not to over-grind them since you want them to maintain some texture and structure.

  4. In a bowl (feel free to use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) whisk together the flour, the rest of the sugar, the cardamom, and the salt.

  5. When the yeast is ready, add it to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and set the speed to low.

  6. When it starts to feel like dough, slowly add in the vegan butter in small cubes, and proceed to gently knead with your hands until well incorporated for about 3 minutes. If you're using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and knead for around 2-3 minutes. Be careful to not over-knead the dough. Kneading it too much makes the dough tough and we want it to be as light and airy as possible.

  7. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead for a few more seconds. Shape it into a smooth ball by tucking the edges into the center. Lightly oil your bowl and place the dough ball in there, seam side down. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm place (I put mine near my heater). Let proof for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until it's double the size.

  8. Let's prepare the filling. Grind the cardamom seeds and cream together all of the filling ingredients. Set aside.

  9. When the dough is finished proofing, roll out the dough into a 13” x 21” or 33 cm x 53 cm rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I recommend using a ruler.

  10. Spread the filling onto the dough rectangle until completely covered (go all the way to the edges!)

  11. Facing the rectangle longways, fold it into 3 equal sections. Fold the left side to the middle of the rectangle, then fold the right side over the left side. Turn the dough longways and roll it out a few times.

  12. Using a ruler and pastry wheel (or pizza cutter, or sharp knife) cut 2 cm strands. You should have about 15-20 strands.

  13. Let's form them into buns. Make a peace sign with your non-dominant hand and wrap a strand around your fingers 2-3 times, then carry the strand in between your two fingers, tucking the tail of the strand into the bottom of the hole. Then slip your fingers out of the bun and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the strands. Refer to my Instagram video above to see a quick clip of it.

  14. When all of the buns are formed, make sure they have enough space on the baking sheet (you may need 2 sheets) since they will expand during the 2nd proofing and baking. Cover the sheet with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for another 30-40 minutes or until more puffy.

  15. While the buns are proofing, set the oven to 425 degrees F or 220 degrees C (convection/fan mode). Then make the glaze by heating together the 1/4 cup milk, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan on low heat, until it forms a smooth liquid. Set aside.

  16. Grind some more cardamom, then mix it together with the regular sugar in a separate bowl. Set aside.

  17. When your buns are finishing proofing, brush on the 2 tablespoons of milk amongst the buns as a sort of "milk wash" instead of an egg wash.

  18. Bake the buns for around 12 minutes or until golden/lightly-browned on top. You may need to rotate the sheet halfway through to make sure they get evenly golden.

  19. When out of the oven and still warm, brush on the glaze and add the sugar and cardamom topping. Give it about 10-15 mins for the glaze to thicken, then enjoy!!


Notes:

* I suggest prepping what you can in advance before you start. It's nice having the flour and other ingredients measured and ready to go beforehand 😊

* Try to only use cardamom seeds that you grind yourself from scratch, not pre-ground cardamom powder. It gives a better, fresher flavor and looks pretty to see the flecks of cardamom throughout the buns.

* Don't over-grind your seeds since you want them to maintain some texture and structure.

* This recipe can be made with a stand mixer if you prefer doing it that way.

* Be careful to not over-knead the dough. Kneading it too much makes the dough tough and we want it to be as light and airy as possible.

* These are most delicious eaten the same day they're made 😊




Lots of love,



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