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Sticky caramel buns

Australian Gourmet Traveller Portuguese Easter dessert recipe for sticky caramel buns.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus proving, infusing
  • Serves 12
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Sticky caramel buns
These can't-stop-at-one caramel buns are based on the traditional Portuguese Easter bread folar da Páscoa. The traditional method involves complex folding and rolling, and closely guarded recipes. We've chosen to omit the hard-boiled egg that's traditionally baked in the centre of each bun. This simplified version means you'll be able to tuck into these sticky golden beauties sooner rather than later.


  • 5 gm dried yeast
  • 160 ml lukewarm milk
  • 350 gm plain flour
  • 2 tsp aniseed
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • Finely grated rind of 1½ lemons
  • 140 gm softened butter
  • For dusting: brown sugar
Caramel spice mix
  • 80 gm softened butter
  • 60 gm brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp aniseed
Caramel glaze
  • 220 gm caster sugar
  • 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped


  • 1
    Combine yeast with half the milk in a bowl, stir until yeast dissolves, then stir in 25gm flour until smooth. Cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, combine aniseed and 30ml boiling water in a heatproof bowl, stand to infuse (15-20 minutes), strain and reserve aniseed and liquid separately.
  • 3
    Combine sugar, lemon rind, butter, remaining flour, remaining milk, reserved aniseed and yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until a rough dough forms (2-3 minutes), then add a little reserved aniseed liquid at a time, kneading until a smooth sticky dough forms (4-5 minutes; you may not need all the liquid). Transfer to a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (45 minutes-1 hour).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for caramel spice mix, combine ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • 5
    Preheat oven to 180C. Knock back dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 18cm x 50cm rectangle. Spread evenly with caramel spice mix and, with longest side facing you, roll into a cylinder. Cut into 12 even pieces and place each piece, cut-side up, in a canelé mould well buttered and heavily dusted with brown sugar. Place moulds on an oven tray and stand for 10 minutes, then bake until risen and golden (25-30 minutes; cover with foil if buns get too dark). Turn out of moulds immediately (be careful of hot caramel) and cool on a wire rack.
  • 6
    Meanwhile, for caramel glaze, combine sugar and 80ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Cook until dark caramel (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add butter and 60ml water (be careful; hot caramel may spit) and stir to combine. Serve buns warm or at room temperature, topped with caramel glaze and sprinkled with extra cinnamon. Sticky caramel buns are best eaten on day of making.