Soft and fluffy sweet potato brioche-style dough is swirled with cinnamon sugar and dotted with jammy blueberries in this cinnamon roll recipe. Glazed with a tangy orange, vanilla bean & cashew 'cream cheese' frosting, they are the perfect transitional summer-autumn weekend brunch treat.
How on earth is it February already? The first few months of the year always fly by don't they? At least that means that an end to these 40 degree days is fast approaching. I love the idea of Summer (and the produce!), but honestly you can mostly find me indoors in the air conditioning during the hottest 3–4 months of the year. I can't deal. This pale skinned, freckly girl can not take the Summer humidity and the crazy strong heat of the Australian sun, and thanks to that hole in the freaking ozone layer right above Aus, I end up burnt to a crisp in about 5 seconds whenever I dare to venture outside.
So as much as I love the idea of hot weather, beachy weekends and just living the outdoor life, I don't last too long. By February (3 months of hiding inside already), i'm always way too eager for the cooler Autumn weather (though that generally doesn't present itself until around April / May – damn sub tropics!). So the recipe today combines a little Summer loving (berries!) with the Autumnal flavours of sweet potato, spice and yeasty sweet bread. Because i've got a yearning for the cooler days and coziness ahead.
Cinnamon rolls (and sweet yeasty rolls in general) are one of my all-time favourite things to bake, and these have definitely made my top 10 list of sweet bun recipes. The middle of the bun is where i'm at, it ends up being this delicious mess of soft dough, spiced sugar, jammy berries & tangy glaze. It's seriously heaven. They are all long-lost best friends and soul mates, i'm glad I had the chance to bring them together, and right before Valentines Day! Such good timing.
Speaking of Valentines Day, this would be a prettttty nice thing to make and bake for your signigicant other on the morning of, with a big mug of coffee and fresh orange juice. You can make the buns (and the glaze) the night before – just fill & cut the buns, place them in the baking dish, cover and place in the fridge overnight. Then, in the morning, take the buns out of the fridge a few hours before baking, let them come to room temperature and double in size. Then continue with the recipe as written!
A+ Valentines breakfast. AND if you'd like to make them more valentines-y or if you have no blueberries around, just swap the blueberries for chopped dark chocolate. It will fit in just as well in this recipe.
I've adapted the sweet potato dough from the Kitchn, from a recipe by Samatha Seneviratne (of Love, Cake). It's super fluffy and has just the right amount of sweetness (though the sweet factor is bumped up A LOT by the orange glaze). The sweet potato helps to create a tender dough whilst adding natural sweetness, a little earthy flavour and a pretty saffron hue. I roasted a whole sweet potato, then scooped out the cooled soft flesh and pureed it in a food processor for this recipe. Pumpkin puree would also be a nice addition to the buns if you don't have any sweet potato around.
The buns are swirled with cinnamon sugar and dotted with blueberries that roast as the buns cook, creating a tangy-jammy filling and adding a little sweet burst of seasonality. The orange, cashew glaze is specked with vanilla bean seeds and is reminiscent of the traditional cream cheese version, but with a little extra tang (and less heaviness!). It's only lightly orange-y, I didn't want the orange to overpower the rest of the buns so I kept it on the subtle end of the spectrum by cutting it with a little lemon juice. If you'd like more of an orange bang, just swap in a little of the lemon juice for extra orange juice.
I wanted to take some action and process shots for this post but, alas! The sun was quickly fading because I woke up too late (oops) and didn't get to cooking until the afternoon. So, I was in a bit of a rush to catch the natural light for my final photos… If I make them again soon though I'll add some extra photos to help with the bun-making process! If you make these, leave me a comment and tell me how they go – It would make my day! Happy baking!
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Blueberries + Orange Glaze
Yield 8 rolls
vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free
Soft and fluffy sweet potato brioche-style dough is swirled with cinnamon sugar and dotted with jammy blueberries in this cinnamon roll recipe. Glazed with a tangy orange, vanilla bean & cashew 'cream cheese' frosting they are the perfect transitional summer-autumn weekend brunch treat.
Make sure to start soaking the cashews for the frosting at the very beginning of the recipe so that they have a good 2–3 hours to soften.
for the dough
- 220ml / 2/3 c + 3 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
- 70g / 5 Tbsp coconut oil or vegan butter cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup cooled sweet potato purée, from approx. 1 roasted sweet potato
- 375g / 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp chickpea flour
- 50g / 1/4 cup raw granulated sugar or maple sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
for the filling
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or soft vegan butter
- 100g / 1/2 cup packed light muscovado or light brown sugar
- 50g / 1/4 cup raw granulated sugar or maple sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground ceylon cinnamon
- pinch fine sea salt
- 210g / 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
for the frosting
- 150g / 1 cup cashews, soaked 2–3 hours in cold water
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted & cooled
- 70 g / 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp raw icing sugar (or use approx. 4 Tbsp maple syrup for a less sweet & less refined frosting)
- 100ml / 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
- 3 Tbsp coconut milk
- zest of 1 unwaxed orange
- 3 tsp. fresh orange juice
- 3 tsp. lemon juice
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- little pinch fine sea salt
make the dough
- In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk just to a simmer over medium heat (don't let it bubble too much). Remove from the heat and add the coconut oil / vegan butter to the saucepan to melt. Once melted, add the milk mixture to a small bowl and let it cool until it's just warm to the touch (not hot, or it will kill the yeast), about 40 degrees celsius / 105 fahrenheit.
- Once the mixture has cooled, add the sweet potato purée and whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, combine the flours, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the milk-sweet potato mixture and mix just until combined.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on low speed until it begins to come together, then increase the speed to medium-high and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 8–10 minutes (if you are kneading by hand it will take a little longer). If you press a floured finger lightly onto the dough, it should spring back slowly (if not, continue kneading and re-test in a few more minutes). The dough should be lightly tacky but not too sticky, if it feels too wet & sticky, add another Tbsp or 2 of flour until it is a little drier.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and leave it in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (depending on the temperature of the room and activity of the yeast).
fill & shape
- To prepare the filling, mix together the muscovado sugar, raw sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside until you are ready to fill the dough.
- Lightly oil a 30cm / 12-inch cast iron pan or baking dish (or line a large baking tray with baking paper). Tip the risen dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 30 cm / 12 inch x 28 cm / 11 inch rectangle. Spread the 2 Tbsp of coconut oil / vegan butter evenly over the surface and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, then scatter over the blueberries.
- With the long side of the dough facing you, tightly roll up the dough (I use a bench scraper to help me here) and pinch the seam closed (make sure to pinch it well, or the roll will unravel whilst proofing/baking). With a serrated knife, cut the roll crosswise into 8 equal pieces (cut the roll in half, then cut those 2 pieces in half and then cut all 4 of the pieces in half = 8 even pieces!) . Gently set them in the oiled pan with the spirals facing upward. Cover loosely with a tea towel, and let them rest until the dough has almost doubled again, about 1 hour to 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350 fahrenheit. Uncover the rolls and bake until golden-brown and puffed and a skewer inserted into the middle roll, in the thick middle part of the dough comes out without any raw dough attached. About 25 to 35 minutes (mine took 35). You may need to rotate the pan as the rolls cook if you have an uneven oven.
- Let the buns cool for 15 – 20 minutes before frosting and eating! I actually prefer these buns served only very slightly warm, rather than hot out of the oven. Best eaten on the day of baking. However, to re-warm them the next day, just place them in the microwave for about 30 seconds until they have softened up again.
- While the buns cook, make the frosting. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place all of the frosting ingredients in a blender (preferably high-speed) and blend until completely smooth and emulsified. Pour into a bowl / jug, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
You can make the buns (and the glaze) the night before — just fill & cut the buns, place them in the baking dish, cover tightly and place in the fridge overnight. Then, in the morning, take the buns out of the fridge a few hours before baking, let them come to room temperature and double in size. Then continue with the recipe as written.