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Making Chelsea buns: Vegan MoFo


"So what's a Chelsea bun, then?" is a question you might ask if you're not from Blighty. If you are, chances are you'll be familiar with these sweet and doughy confections.

If you're not, let me explain: the Chelsea bun is not a million miles from a cinnamon bun - it's dough, rolled up with a cinnamony and a fruity filling, then glazed.

I guess the main difference between the two is that there's a more bread-like cast to the Chelsea bun, rather than a cakey one. Chelsea buns are made with white bread flour and there's no sugar in the dough - all the sweetness comes from the brown sugar in the middle, and the glaze on top.

Here's the recipe I used, only I omitted the egg and used vegan spread rather than butter.

Oh, and I also made it with wholemeal flour because I'm really healthy like that (not in any way at all because that's all I had and I couldn't be bothered to go to the shops. Not at all.) It may not be a traditional Chelsea bun and royalty would probably grumble, but when they stop taking my taxes, then maybe I'll consider doing Chelsea buns right. Yeah, in your face, queen!

The filling of Chelsea buns is often mixed peel or raisins, but I've used a bit of peel and some sultanas because I find raisins creepy. There, I've said it - they freak me out. It's sultanas or nothing here, but if you're making Chelsea buns, you're free to use the dried grape of your choice - I won't tell on you.

They're not that hard to make, and not too much bother if you ignore the rising time of the dough. It's just a case of making the dough, leaving alone for a bit, rolling it out, filling it up and baking. Oh yeah, and glazing it.

I've not made it sound simple have I? Don't let me put you off.  Your cup of tea will thank you.


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16 comments

  1. Do they creep you out because they look like little bugs? Because they totally look like little bugs!
    Chelsea buns sounds awesome, they're like cinnamon bun's modest cousin.

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  2. They look really delicious! I've not heard of Chelsea buns but I'm a big fan of cinnamon buns and any type of fruity bread gets my tick of approval.

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  3. Those look about the right amount of toothsome to accompany a cup of tea. They also look a lot like the cinnamon buns I used to make because it's quite possible my cinnamon buns were more like Chelsea buns than proper cinnamon buns. (Not white flour, though.) Not that I'd ever heard of Chelsea buns, but now I know.

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  4. These sound completely perfect. I love the idea of a bun that doesn't use a sweet dough. I bet the wholemeal gives them a fantastic nuttiness.

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  5. My DH will be delighted with this - I haven't made these in a long time as couldn't find a good vegan recipe. Thanks :)

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  7. Yum! I've never heard of chelsea buns! I'm not a huge raisin eater myself, much rather enjoy fresh grapes. Ha ha!

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  8. Something else I haven't ever heard of before. I agree with Andrea, they look a lot like cinnamon buns to me and would be perfect with a bit of tea. :-)

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  9. They look so tempting – carbolicious!

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  10. LOL...raisins creep me out too! Keep them out of my breads and cakes and cinnarolls...they can stay in chewy dense granola bars and maybe in oatmeal cookies if they're super thick and chewy, like the granola bars I guess. I usually end up subbing in chopped dates or figs for raisins in baking, but sultanas are perfect! :)

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  11. I've made plenty of cinnamon buns in my day, but never Chelsea buns. Love how they're truly fruit-filled, and I can already imagine all the exciting variations that could come of switching up those morsels. I already have dried cherries, dates, cranberries and apples on hand, so I may just have to start up a trial on that theory...

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  12. Yum! I love Chelsea buns and have not had one in so long. Yours look wonderful!

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  13. I love Chelsea buns! I prefer bready to cakey. I'm definitely going to try the recipe you posted. Have you been able to find any place selling vegan buns?

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  14. Love this! Cinnamon rolls always too sweet for me but these sound like a great version, especially with the whole wheat flour
    My aversion to raisins is most likely since i ate too many as a childhood snack, but sultanas are a great swap!
    Ttrockwood

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  15. Mmm, sounds like I would enjoy these even more than cinnamon rolls, if such a thing is possible. Michael is creeped out by raisins too...and by creeped out, I mean he hates them with a burning, vengeful passion. But I bet these would be awesome with something like dried cranberries too!

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