Updated: Sep 21, 2021
So what's the difference between a cinnamon roll and a Chelsea bun? I've been searching for this myself and it seems the number one difference is that a Chelsea bun contains raisins or currants. But also I think it's usually coated in a fruit glaze after baking and for me personally, I think Chelsea buns should be baked separate on the baking tray, so they're not touching, this gives them a bit more chew and allows the icing to stick to all the surface area. I absolutely adore the Chelsea bun and often pick it out as a treat from my local market baker. It's an indulgent breakfast but one I never regret.
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 sachet instant yeast (about 10g)
3 & 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom or nutmeg if you don't have it
1/2 tsp cinnamon
80g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup icing sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Melt the butter in a microwave or in a pot on the stove. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in milk. Test the temperature with your finger, it should be lukewarm, this is to ensure the yeast can thrive. Stir in the sugar and yeast and set aside for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and spices. Pour in milk mixture and use a dough hook (or knead by hand) to beat the dough until it comes together, then knead for a further 10 minutes, until soft and not sticky to touch.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. You can also put your oven temperature on its lowest setting and put the dough in there if you want to hurry it along. OR I just discovered an amazing tip where I put the dough in the microwave and put it on defrost mode (!!!) and it will prove the dough in no time! Game changer. Every microwave is different, so I suggest just doing this a couple minutes at a time and checking it to make sure it doesn't start cooking or going crusty on the outside.
Meanwhile, make the filling by beating together the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, until smooth.
Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 40 x 25cm. Cover with filling mixture and spread out evenly, all over the dough. Sprinkle over sultanas and raisins.
Start rolling the dough, pushing the long edge away from you, rolling as tightly as possible (you can use a bench scraper to help if it's sticking to the bench), until you have a log.
Place the roll seam side down and cut into 12 even slices using a serrated knife.
Chelsea buns (in my opinion) should not be baked right next to eachother in a tray, therefore they need a lot of room when proving. I proved mine in the microwave! But otherwise just leave them somewhere warm, covered for about 1 hour, until the dough is soft and supple and doubled again.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place about 6 buns onto a lined baking tray, so they have plenty of space to grow and bake for 18-22 minutes, until slightly golden.
Boil the kettle and place apricot jam in a small boil, with 1/4 cup boiled water and whisk together into a syrup. Brush this onto baked buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
Once the buns have cooled slightly, mix the icing sugar with lemon juice, you want quite a thick consistency so it will drizzle nicely. Drizzle over buns, take your instagram pic and ENJOY the fruits of your labour.