Leila Lindholm’s Classic Swedish Cinnamon & Cardamom Buns

December 1, 2015

Author Notes: What has made Leila such a famous name in Sweden is her dedication to the traditional food of the country. Though she has explored foods from all corners of the globe (she was preparing for a visit to Morocco as we spoke), a passion for Swedish home cooking is at the core of what she does.

Through giant mouthfuls of cinnamon bun, we ask Leila her trick for making them so perfect: “A lot of cardamom is an absolute must for me. And I take them out of the oven before they are fully baked, so they are very soft.”
The Curious Pear

Makes: approximately 18 buns


For the dough:

  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 300 milliliters (1/2 pint) milk
  • 135 grams superfine sugar
  • 7 grams (1 packet) fast-action dried yeast
  • 150 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 660 to 720 grams bread flour

For the cinnamon filling:

  • 200 grams unsalted butter, softed
  • 90 grams superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Beaten egg, for brushing
  • Golden syrup and water, for brushing
  • Ground cardadmom, for sprinkling
  • Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
In This Recipe


  1. Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until fine.
  2. Pour the milk into a pan. Add the cardamom and gently heat until around 115° F (45° C).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, briefly mix sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Don't worry if the butter is still a bit lumpy.
  4. Add the milk and cardamom, mix briefly, and add most of the flour.
  5. In a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth, and soft. (Alternatively, knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough should be a little sticky: Don’t add too much flour at once, as you don’t want to end up with a dry or hard dough.
  6. Cover the bowl with the tea-towel and leave the dough to proof until doubled in size.
  7. In the meantime, make the filling: Mix all three ingredients until well combined and smooth.
  8. Once the dough is well risen, tip it onto a floured work surface and divide it in two.
  9. Roll half the dough into a large rectangle and spread half the filling on top, covering the whole rectangle.
  10. Fold the dough into three like a business letter (fold the top long side down to the middle, then fold the bottom long side over the top).
  11. Cut the dough into 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) strips, then cut every strip down the middle, leaving one end intact (so they look like a pair of trousers). Twist the two “legs” into a knot (this does not have to be very precise, you can go a bit freeform).
  12. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Brush the buns with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.
  14. Brush the still-warm buns with golden syrup mixed with water and sprinkle with ground cardamom mixed with superfine sugar.

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