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This is a morph of a previous post, How to Make Frosted Donut Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes. The method is exactly the same only we are replacing the cinnamon and sugar filling with pre-made pastry fillings. Here you’ll find images for three that we made for this post: Raspberry, Apple Walnut with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Pineapple with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Pre-made pastry fillings are amazing and you have a lot to work with:
Chocolate Bavarian Cream
You can also mix fillings to make swirled filling. Raspberry Cream is one of our favorites but so is Blueberry Lemon.
Again, you don’t have to use a donut mix to make these sweet roll cupcakes. But a donut mix makes phenomenal rolls—light and fluffy and with terrific flavor.
We’ll review how we make them and give you the recipes.
Step 1: Mix the dough and let it rise.
Mix the dough according to package instructions. If you are using our Donut Cinnamon Bun Mix, be precise in your water measurement. Your dough should be soft and almost sticky. The softer your dough, the lighter your buns will be. Put your dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise. We stick the bowl in plastic proofing bags but you can cover your bowl with greased plastic wrap. Because the dough is soft, it will stick to ungreased surfaces.
Let the dough rise until it is puffy. The tendency is to be in too big of a hurry. How long it takes will depend on how warm your kitchen is. Yeast is very sensitive to temperature. In a cooler kitchen it may take an hour and a half or more. If you want it to rise faster, put it in a warmer place like a sunny window sill or on top of the refrigerator.
Step 2: Form the buns.
To form the buns, you want the dough rolled as thinly as possible and into a narrow strip.
Dust the countertop lightly with flour. We use a flour and sugar shaker to get a nice, light coating of flour.
Form a long log with the dough about an inch and one-half in diameter. With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough lengthwise. If you are using our mix, it will have a lot of gluten and therefore springback—the dough will try to bounce back rather than stay rolled and thin. Be a little patient. You may need to press firmly and roll it for several minutes. It helps to let the dough rest for several minutes and then come back and put the finishing touch on your strip of dough.
Your rolled strip of dough should be about nine inches wide by 32 inches long.
Measure two cups of pastry filling. Spread the filling evenly across the dough to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Easier than measuring, you can clip the corner on the bag and squeeze out what you think is the right amount of filling. Be generous. If you want a two-tone, two flavor filling, squeeze some from each bag in alternating strips across the dough.
Starting on the long edge closest to you, start rolling the dough pinwheel style into a log with the cinnamon trapped inside. As you complete the log, pinch the edges of the log to seal in the filling. Pinch the ends of the log to seal them. Form the log with your hands, stretching it or compressing it in places, to make in roughly uniform in diameter and 32 inches long.
Fill a muffin pan with paper liners. You will make 32 buns. You may wish to spray the insides of the liners with a baking spray so that the cooled buns do not stick to them.
Cut the 32-inch log into four equal pieces and slice each of the four pieces into eight pieces so that you have 32 cinnamon buns. As you slice them, place them in the paper liners. Don’t worry about the slices being too neat.
Step 3: Rise again and bake
Cover and let the buns rise. Again, this is easier with a proofing bag so that you can tent the covering over the rolls. Let the dough rise until it is very soft. An hour is not too long in most kitchens.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for twelve minutes if you are using a dark muffin pan. Lighter pans will take longer. We have found that if we bake them longer, the buns tend to be crusty. Less and they’re a little gooey. But every oven is different.
When the buns are done, remove the buns in the liners to a cooling rack. Spoon frosting over them, partially covering the tops.
If you are using our mix, you will find a frosting recipe. Our pre-made cinnamon bun frosting is perfect. You can use a recipe for a powdered sugar or cream cheese icing.
Serve these fresh. They are best when warm.
Raspberry Cream: Use one cup raspberry filling and one cup Bavarian Cream filling
Apple Walnut with Cream Cheese Frosting: Use two cups apple filling and one cup chopped walnuts. Frost with a cream cheese frosting.
Pineapple with Cream Cheese Frosting: Use two cup pineapple filling. Frost with a cream cheese frosting.
Lemon Blueberry with Lemon Frosting: Use one cup blueberry filling and one cup lemon filling. Frost with a lemon frosting.
Cherry Cream Cheese with Fudge Frosting: Use one cup cherry filling and one cup cream cheese filling. Frost with a fudge frosting.
Suggestions for extra rolls
Most of us don’t have the three muffins pans necessary to bake all thirty plus rolls at once. Put the first dozen in your pan and the rest of the mini bun dough pieces in paper liners lined up on a baking sheet. Cover and bake the buns in batches fifteen minutes apart as you free up your muffin pan.
If you don’t want to bake all the buns the same day, cover the pan with a proofing bag and place it in the refrigerator before letting the buns rise. As the dough becomes cooler, the yeast will become dormant and the dough will stop rising. You can store your unbaked rolls for up to four days this way.
To bake, remove the chilled buns in the pan from the refrigerator, let the dough warm to room temperature, and allow the buns to rise. This may take several hours.
For another way to store them, baked but unfrosted buns can be wrapped and frozen. To serve, let them thaw and reheat them in an oven set at 250 degrees. Then add the frosting to the warm rolls.
What you’ll need
We would love to have you try our Donut Cinnamon Bun Mix. Your favorite recipe will work but this mix is delightful.
The cinnamon bun premade frosting is the perfect complement, designed for cinnamon buns. It comes in a tub with a snap-on lid so that you can use the frosting for multiple batches.
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska to Miami, Florida. He and his wife Merri Ann Weaver founded The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho. They have five children and six beautiful granddaughters.