Cardamom Sticky Buns

Cardamom has a complex flavor. It’s citrusy, floral, spicy, and herbal all at the same time, and it’s highly fragrant, too. It pairs perfectly with cinnamon, coffee, tea, & pastries so I couldn’t resit experimenting. This recipe takes inspiration from one of my favorite breakfast treats, the sticky bun, and the cardamon roll that I have just recently discovered. I wanted a mash up of the two so the Cardamon Sticky Bun was born. I use a butter & egg enriched dough, swapping pistachios for the typical pecans, adding rose and a tart lemon cream cheese icing to balance out the sticky sugary glaze on top of the soft, fluffy buns. “Originally known as “schnecken” and still considered to be a Philadelphia specialty, it is believed that the sticky buns origin in the U.S. began in the 18th century when the German settlers brought baking tradition with them when they began settling near Pennsylvania. Hilda Lee suggests that Schnecken became popular among bakers in Germantown, a Philadelphia suburb as early as the 1680s…they are popular throughout the United States, they are often associated with Philadelphia and sometimes called “Philadelphia sticky buns,” although in Philadelphia itself, they are called “cinnamon buns.””


Special Equipment: Stand Mixer with Hook & Paddle Attachments, Microplane, Chinois, Scale, Half Sheet pan, Parchment Paper, OffSet Spatula, 9×5 Loaf Pan, Spatula, Foil, Spoon, Whisk, Mixing Bowl, Spice Grinder, Sieve 
Level: Medium
Yield: 12 large buns or 16 medium buns

Shopping List

2 Each Lemons, medium size

Dry Goods

2 1/2 Cup Bread Flour  
2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour  
2 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast 
2 Cup Shelled Pistachios, raw
3 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar  
45 Whole Green Cardamon Pods
1 1/2 Tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon 
1/2 Cup Dried Rose Petal 
3 Tablespoon Kosher Salt  
As Needed Maldon Sea Salt  
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup or Maple Syrup 
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract 
1 1/2 Tablespoon Honey 
1/4 Cup Neutral Oil 

6 Each Eggs, large

2 Cup Unsalted Butter  
2 1/4 Cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese  

Bun Dough


1 Cup | 212g Water, warm
2 Teaspoon | 7g Dry Active Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoon | 25g Honey
2 1/2 Cup | 325g Bread Flour
2 1/4 Cup | 300g All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoon | 12g Green Cardamon, ground 
2 Tablespoon | 14g Kosher Salt
3-4 Each | 138g Egg White 
1 Each  | 25g Egg Yolk 
1/4 Cup | 56g Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 Cup | 75g Neutral Oil

  1. Sift flour & weigh out all mise en place. 
  2. In the mixer’s bowl add warm water, honey, and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, let the stand & activate for 5-15 minutes.
  3.  Once yeast is activated (you will see bubbles forming) add in the egg whites, egg yolk, flours, salt, cardamom. 
  4. Mix with dough hook attachment on speed 1 for 5 minutes
  5. Add the softened butter. Mix another 7 minutes on speed 2
  6. Finish with oil. 
  7. Dough will be very soft, it should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Turn out into a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 – 2 hours). It’s a nice, soft dough, and pats out easily.

Sugar Smear


2 1/2 Cup | 500g Dark Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon | 8g Ceylon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon | 4g Green Cardamom (ground)
1 1/2 Cup | 350g Unsalted Butter
1 Teaspoon | 4g Kosher Salt

  1. Add all ingredients to stand mixer with paddle attachment, stir on low for about 1 minute or until ingredients are combined. 
  2. Turn mixer to high and beat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is light and fluffy. 
  3. Leave at room temp for easy spreading. Chill if not using right away. 

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing


2 1/4 Cup | 510g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 Each | 85g Fresh Lemon Juice, medium size lemon
1 1/2 Cup | 200g Powdered Sugar, aka 10x or confectioners
1 Teaspoon | 4g kosher salt

  1. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt to stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, beat on low until the sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. 
  2. Turn up to medium speed and while mixer is running, slowly pour in lemon juice. Beat until light white, thick but runny icing. It should drizzle from paddle or spoon. 

Sticky Glaze


1/2 Cup | 156g Light Corn Syrup or Maple Syrup 
1 Tablespoon | 14g Vanilla Extract 
3 Tablespoon | 43g Unsalted Butter, melted
1 Cup | 213g  Dark Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon | 4g Kosher Salt

  1. Whisk together syrup, melted butter, vanilla, salt. 
  2. Leave brown sugar separate – you will sprinkle atop glaze when preparing the pans to cook the buns. 

Cardamon Sticky Buns


2 Cup Pistachios, lightly chopped
1 Batch Bun Dough, recipe below
1 Batch Sugar Smear, recipe below
1 Batch Sticky Glaze, recipe below
1 Batch Lemon Cream Cheese Icing, recipe below
1/2 Cup Dried Rose Petals
As needed Maldon Sea Salt

  1. Make the Dough.
  2. While the dough is rising, lightly grease 4 9×5 loaf pans or a 9″ round cake pan.
  3. Make the glaze (recipe below). Divide the glaze evenly between the pans. Sprinkle the brown sugar atop the glaze.
  4. Make the sugar smear and lemon cream cheese icing (recipes below). Set aside keeping both at room temperature for easy spreading. 
  5. Assemble the buns:  Transfer the proofed dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat it into a 20″ x 24″ rectangle. 
  6. Spread the Sugar Smear evenly over the dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1″ wide along the top long end of the rectangle.
  7. Liberally sprinkle chopped pistachios a top the sugar smear, reserve some for garnish after cooking.
  8. Starting with the long smear covered edge closest to you, roll the dough into a log away from your body towards the uncovered dough edge. 
  9. Using a serrated knife or very sharp knife, slice the log into 12 slices. Rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices.
  10. Space buns in each of the prepared pans. Cover the pans, and let the buns rise till they spread out and touch one another, about 60 to 90 minutes. 
  11. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  12. Bake the sticky buns for 10 minutes on middle rack. Tent them lightly with aluminum foil, and bake until they’re a light golden brown, about 15 more minutes.
  13. Remove the buns from the oven, immediately loosen their edges with an off set spatula or butter knife. Working quickly & carefully turn them out onto a parchment covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns (if you wait to flip the buns out they will get stuck in pan and sticky glaze will not release).
  14. Drizzle Lemon Cream Cheese Icing on top. Garnish with chopped pistachios, dried rose petals, maldon sea salt. Serve warm, or at room temperature. 
  15. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Chef Notes | Tips

*One cardamom pod is the equivalent of 1/6 Teaspoon of ground cardamom.

*You can sub the bread flour with All Purpose. I like using a combination to give the buns better structure, rise and a chewier texture.

*I strongly suggest using a scale to weigh ingredients when making any doughs

*Glass and nonstick pans bake hotter than stainless steel or aluminum pans. Add a baking sheet or water bath to the bottom of the former pans to buffer the heat and prevent the sticky glaze from burning. 

*Dough is proofed and ready to bake when poked it bounces back slowly. Do not let over proof, this will leave you with buns that rise then collapse. 

Save your spot for my live class showing step by step instructions on Saturday, January 28th at 4pm. Watch, take notes, ask questions! If you can’t attend live, send your questions before class and watch the recording. ⤵️

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