Festive Chelsea Buns

by Thyme Recipes 1 Dec 15

A classic yeasted bun with a Christmassy twist

What lovelier treat can there be than the smell of a yeasted bake fresh from the oven, redolent with the smells of Christmas. Our recipe is rich with mixed spice and almond essence, with the cranberries glistening like jewels.  This is such a classic bake and delicious with a cup of chai mid-morning on Boxing Day.


For the flying sponge
200g white flour
20g yeast
270g water

For the dough
300g white flour
10g salt
75g butter
75g sugar
480g flying sponge

To finish
1 beaten egg
Melted butter
2-3tbsp caster sugar
2tsp mixed spice
3-4tsbsp dried cranberries

50g icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Oven : 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4

Finished dough temperature : 25ºC


  1. To make the flying sponge, cream together all the ingredients and stand at room temperature for 30-40 mins.
  2. For the dough, place the flour and salt into your mixing bowl, add the flying sponge and bring together to rough dough, add the sugar and butter then continue to mix in. When these ingredients are fully incorporated, then turn out onto your work surface and continue to tear down until silky.
  3. Form into a ball, return to the mixing bowl and cover to prove for 30-40 mins.
  4. When the dough has had its bulk prove, turn the dough out onto the work surface and roll out to a rectangle of about 30cm wide and 45cm tall, then paint the bottom inch or so with egg, the rest of the surface will be painted with melted butter sprinkled with sugar and spice then place the fruit evenly on the top of this, starting at the top of your rectangle start rolling down, keeping an even tight roll like a Swiss roll (but pulling the roll back away from you to create tension), when you get to the bottom the egg strip will seal it.
  5. Paint the outside of this roll thoroughly with melted butter, this will make sure the buns separate when baked. Cut into 12 even sized pieces and place into a baking dish about 20cm by 25cm and pack them closely together, standing upright so that the swirl is to the top, pat them down to make them even and place into your plastic bag to prove for about 40 mins.
  6. Place into the oven and bake for 17-20 mins.
  7. When ready, take out of the oven, wash with a sugar icing, flavoured with almond extract while still hot.