Cinnamon Orange Sticky Buns

Riddle me this - is a sticky bun still a sticky bun when it has cinnamon in it? Or does it become a cinnamon bun? Is a sticky bun still a sticky bun if it has no pecans in it? Where does one draw the line between cinnamon and sticky bun? These are the important things we need to figure out.

In my personal opinion, a sticky bun is a sticky bun because of the glaze that sit in the bottom of the pan and gets all melty and gooey and sticky during baking. After baking, the bun is turned upside down and eaten. That is a sticky bun. Cinnamon buns, once again in my personal opinion, are baked and eaten right-side-up with no delicious glaze in the bottom of the pan (but there can be glaze on top).

However, I am no bun taxonomist and classifying the varieties of buns is not my day job. You can call these whatever you want. Heck, you can just call 'em "tasty", because that is definitely what they are. 

The filling and glaze is full of butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and of course, orange! The warm and comforting taste of spices and brown sugar pairs wonderfully with the bright orange flavour, just like a sunny fall day. There's a nip in the air and the leaves are on the ground, but it's still a bright and beautiful day! Next to rainy afternoons spent indoors, those are the best kind of fall days. 

Those kinds of perfectly sunny but chilly fall days call for these sticky buns in the morning. You can make the brioche dough the night before, ferment it, then pop it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, whip up the glaze, roll out the brioche, proof it, bake it, and eat! The smell of cinnamon and orange (and butter and sugar) will get anyone out of bed. 

Cinnamon Orange Sticky Buns

Sticky Bun Glaze/Filling

135 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g brown sugar
100 g granulated sugar
80 g honey
2 g vanilla paste
2 g salt
5 g ground cinnamon
zest from 2 large oranges


268 g bread flour
6 g salt
40 g sugar
3 g instant dried yeast
62 g whole milk
106 g eggs
136 g unsalted butter, soft

For the glaze/filling, combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the honey, vanilla paste, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Beat until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Set aside.

To make the brioche dough, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer, pour in the milk, vanilla extract, the eggs and stir to combine. Pour the dry ingredients on top. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Add one-third of the butter and switch the mixer to medium speed. Once that butter has been incorporated, add another third of the butter. Wait until it has been completely mixed in, then add the remaining butter.

Continue to mix on medium speed until full gluten development is achieved. To check for gluten development, perform a "window test". Stretch a small amount of dough with your hands. It should be elastic enough to be pulled until it is very thin and you can see through it without it ripping.

At this point, the final dough temperature should not exceed 27 C/ 80 F.

Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to ferment for 45 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a sheet pan lined with a silpat or greased parchment paper to prevent it from sticking. Wrap the sheet pan with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 12 hours.

Roll out the dough to a 12 x 12 inch square. Reserve 130 g of the sticky bun glaze/filling and set aside. Spread the remaining glaze/filling onto the brioche, getting right to the edges. Tightly roll up the brioche. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch thick segments. You may need to reshape them back into circles.

Grease a muffin tin with butter. Spread the reserved glaze/filling into each muffin cup, using about 1 teaspoon per cup. Place the sticky buns into the muffin tins.

Cover the muffin tin with plastic wrap and let proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 325 F. 

Brush the top of the buns with egg wash. Bake at 325 F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 300 F and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool slightly, then remove from the tin and cool them upside down until they are cool enough to eat.


  1. These buns are seriously calling to me. What a fabulous flavour! These sound awesome.

  2. these ARE important things to figure out... after eating plenty, with all different names, to be sure.

    1. It's research! You have to sample and do taste tests on all kinds of buns to figure out whats what.

  3. Wow these look delicious and hmmmm...I have never contemplated the appropriate taxonomy of buns...

  4. I have to agree the syrup makes it a sticky bun, no matter the spicing. :) They look delicious, and I am not usually fond of sticky buns.

    1. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of cinnamon buns or sticky buns, at least at bakeries. I find them waaay too doughy and sickly sweet. The great thing about making them at home is that you can make them however you like!

    2. I agree! Also you can customize the flavorings the way you want, and sometimes I can't help but add a little cardamon and nutmeg. :)
      Thank you for the recipe. I will report back when I get to baking them. :)

  5. these look amazing! You have a beautiful blog!

  6. I just had 1 Question: What is Vanilla Paste???

    1. Vanilla paste is like a thick vanilla-y syrup that has tons of seeds in it and lots and lots of vanilla flavour. It's like a super concentrated version of vanilla extract, but better. I use it often in place of vanilla bean in batters, custards, mousses, etc. You can buy it at baking stores or online (I use this brand -