Saffron, Cardamom Buns


Sugar and spice and everything nice…

These Scandi buns are the perfect Fika treat, Fika is all about small cakes and buns. In Sweden, pastries as a whole, are frequently called fikabrod.

Fika, the moment you take a break, often with a cup of tea or coffee, and find something baked to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, make time to take a break: that’s what fika is all about.”

I spent part of 2019 exploring Scandanavia, intrigued by their habits, I can’t wait to visit Sweden and Finland next.

These Saffron, Cardamom Buns are inspired by the many buns I’ve tried during my trips.

Saffron Cardamom Buns


  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 3 generous pinches of saffron
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast 
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 7 Tblsp sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tblsp ground cardamom 
  • 1 tsp salt
  1.  Place the milk and saffron in a small saucepan, place over medium heat, gently heat up the milk. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the saffron milk into a small bowl. Allow the milk to cool down to 45°C.   Sprinkle the yeast on top, give it a quick whisk and let it rest a few minutes to dissolve and activate. If the yeast looks like it’s clumping, whisk it gently.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, butter, cardamom, salt and the yeasted milk. Mix on the lowest setting, then change to the dough hook attachment and mix until just combined and beginning to form a dough, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue on low to knead dough, about 5 minutes. It should go from shaggy and coarse to smooth and shiny. 
  3. Line a 33cm x 23 cm sheet pan with baking paper and place the kneaded dough onto it. Using your hands, pat and shape the dough into a large rectangular block. Make 5 shallow, slashes in the dough with a knife. Cover the baking sheet with  plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.


  • 250 grams unsalted butter  slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tblsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes so it’s not so stiff that you can’t roll it out.  
  2. Make the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, cardamom and salt on low speed just to form a granular paste. Don’t overbeat it.


  1. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper, set aside
  2. Place the dough on a silicone mat or a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle 38cm x 45cm, with the shorter side facing you, pause occasionally between rolls to relax the dough by patting it, lifting it and pulling it to straighten out any ripples.
  3. Using an offset spatula, gently spread the filling all over the surface of the dough.
  4. With the short side of the dough facing you, make a single fold by, folding the top third of the dough down over the middle third of the dough, then fold the bottom third up on the top fold.
  5. Roll the dough to a rectangle,  30cm x 40cm, If any filling oozes out, use your offset spatula to remove it so your workstation doesn’t get sticky.
  6. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, trim any uneven edges. Cut the dough vertically into 1.5cm wide strips, 30cm long.  Twist the dough and loop through to form a ring, tucking the ends underneath.  Place on the prepared baking tray, repeat with remaining strips, space them apart to allow for proofing.  Leave the trays to proof uncovered for 1 hour.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder

While the buns are proofing, heat water, sugar, and vanilla bean powder in a small saucepan on medium heat until sugar has dissolved completely, simmer for 2 minutes and set the syrup aside.

Cardamom Sugar

  • 20 green cardamom pods, split and seeds removed.
  • 3 Tbslp sugar
Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder, until finely ground. Add the sugar and pulse quickly once more.  pour the cardamom sugar into a bowl and set aside.
Baking the buns;
  1. 30 min before the proofing time is up, preheat the oven to 220°C.  Once the hour is up, brush the buns with egg wash and bake for 8 min. lower the heat to 190°C and bake for 12 min longer.
  1. Remove the trays from the oven and brush immediately with syrup and spoon 1/2 tsp of cardamom sugar on each bun.
  2. Allow them to cool for 1o min before serving.

Fika time!


This recipe was modified from NY times a recipe from Fabrique Bakery.