I love pastries. A lot. Especially cinnamon rolls. It’s a borderline obsession really. I’ve baked plenty of different kinds of cinnamon rolls and they always seem to be devoured very quickly. As much as I love the sinfully classic American-style glazed cinnamon rolls, they can get too sickly sweet. After devouring 3 of them, one might feel a toothache coming along. Hence, Nordic-style buns like pulla or kannelbullar are my go to pastries to bake. They have just the right amount of sweetness and I love the addition of cardamom in the dough itself.

This time, I decided to bake something a little different. Butterkaka is another classic Swedish pastry. It has the same dough to cinnamon rolls but it’s filled with a sweet almond paste and a bit of vanilla custard instead. To switch it up, I added a touch of bourbon instead of vanilla extract to the custard. The addition of cinnamon in the almond filling makes it taste more like the cinnamon rolls I grew up eating.

It may be a warm day and a hot oven might have made it worse, but a craving is a craving and it has to be fulfilled. I also don’t have a mixer so kneading the dough was quite the workout but all the effort and sweat was worth seeing these glorious golden brown rolls came out of the oven. Plus, nothing makes your home smells better than the scent of freshly baked pastries. I was impatient at letting it properly cool before taking one to eat when it was still quite warm. To make it even more indulgent, I drizzled some homemade bourbon salted caramel glaze on top after it properly cooled. I’d be lying if I say these would last a few days. Then again, it’s mostly cause I have little to no self control to tasty baked goods.

Ingredients (yields 6 buns)


  • 5g easy bake yeast (1.5 tsp)
  • 120ml milk
  • 35g butter, softened & cut into cubes
  • 35g sugar (~3 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 205g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1 small egg yolk
  • 60 ml heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar

Almond filling:

  • 30g ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • Pearl sugar to sprinkle


  1. In a big bowl, mix flour, yeast, sugar, cardamom and salt.
  2. In a small saucepan on stove or bowl to microwave, heat milk until lukewarm (~37C)
  3. Drop butter into bowl of flour and rub it in with your fingers. It should resemble coarse breadcrumbs and no big lumps of butter remain.
  4. Little by little, add the warm milk in. Continue to mix with your hand or wooden spook until a shaggy dough form.
  5. Roll it out on floured surface. It’s okay if its a bit wet. Knead for 10 minutes until it forms a smooth ball and no longer sticks. Add a tbsp of flour at a time if you feel its too wet
  6. Place it back in a bowl and cover to leave to rest for 1.5 hours until doubled.


  1. Whisk yolk, sugar & cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat cream and milk on stove until almost boiling. Keep whisking as you do. Stir in the bourbon once you take it off the heat.
  3. Mix liquid into the yolk mixture little by little. It’s important to whisk constantly to prevent any cooked strands of egg.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens. It should become quite thick. Do NOT let it boil.
  5. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to avoid a skin from forming. Leave at room temperature.


  1. Put the ground almonds and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add water and stir with spatual until a soft paste forms. Add a bit more water if it looks too dry.
  2. Add the softened butter, cinnamon and salt. Butter should be soft enough that its easy for it to be incorporated into the mixture. Set aside.


  1. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll it to a thin rectangle, around 1/4–1/2 inch thick.
  2. Spread a layer of the almond paste filling over the dough. Use a spatula to even it out.
  3. Roll up dough tightly from one long side. Cut into 6 rolls.
  4. Line or grease an oven oven proof pan or cake pan (around 9 inches wide).
  5. Put 6 buns on the pan, making sure to not to overcrowd. You’d want a bit of space in between as they expand more in the second rising.
  6. Cover pan with kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 200C
  8. Carefully make a small hole in the middle of each bun using your finger.
  9. Put the custard in a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe a blob of custard in each hole. You can also use a ziplock bag and cut off the tip.
  10. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and add a splash of milk.
  11. Brush the buns with the egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  12. Bake the buns in the the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. If the tops are browning too much, lower heat to around 180C.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool under a clean kitchen towel. They’re best eaten the same day, but they’re also quite delicious the next. They also freeze well when baked. Just make sure to let them cool completely before freezing.
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