A delicious way to combine pumpkins and cinnamon in to a soft dough rolls with cream cheese frosting. Easy to follow recipe with yeasted – enriched dough.
I’ve just returned from my trip to Prague and literary just missed a famous cinnamon rolls shop opening their first two shops in Prague. I was totally gutted, as I was so looking forward to try the famous cinnamon roll with sticky icing!
Whilst drooling over the company’s Instagram account, I thought to myself that if I can’t try the cinnamon rolls, surely I can try to bake them at home! I’ve already baked cinnamon star before, Chelsey buns and swirls, so why not this recipe?
But since it’s autumn I thought I’d give the cinnamon roll a bit of a twist and make a pumpkin cinnamon rolls and instead of sticky icing, I’d use cream cheese frosting.
If you fancy baking along, carry on reading…
MORE SWEET DOUGH RECIPES (ENRICHED DOUGH WITH YEAST)
- Cinnamon Star Bun >>
- Light & Fluffy Pancakes (with yeast) >>
- Traditional Czech Kolache (Apple filled cakes) >>
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls ingredients notes
There are couple of different options, you have here. If you prefer your pumpkin cinnamon rolls to be a bit firmer (but easier to work with), choose a strong bread flour (white).
If you like your rolls to be very soft (and who doesn’t!) use plain (cake) flour.
What I actually find the most useful is to use 50% white plain flour and 50% strong bread flour. This gives me enough gluten to work with, but my cinnamon rolls stay nice and soft.
These days I just use instant dried yeast. It’s convenient and plus it’s actually quite difficult to get hold of fresh yeast unless you order it from a specialist company.
One sachet is about 7g which is enough for 500g of flour (slightly more than 3 cups) for normal bread and I use anything up to two sachets (14g) for enriched dough (which is what we are making today).
The brilliant thing about instant yeast is that you can just open it and throw it in the flour mixture and don’t need to worry about salt damaging the yeast or anything like that. The yeast will start to get active, when you mix it with water.
If you do happen to have fresh yeast, you’d need to use twice the amount in any given recipe. You should also dissolve the fresh yeast in a bit of warm water, add a teaspoon of sugar and leave the yeast for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.
Then and only then you can add it to your dough. Make sure you don’t add salt directly into the yeast as this can completely damage the life culture that you’ve just created.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
If you have a shop bought pack that’s great, if not here is my homemade version of this delicious pumpkin pie spice. Make up a jar and you can use it all autumn on just about anything!
If you are just about to carve a pumpkin for this autumn season, you will end up with a lot of pumpkin puree or flesh, which is great because you’ll need it for this recipe.
If you have a can of pumpkin puree in your kitchen cupboard, great, but if not, check out my recipe for pumpkin butter, which does include pumpkin puree recipe too.
The difference between the pumpkin butter and pumpkin puree is that pumpkin butter is much thicker, ritcher and contains sugar.
On the other hand pumpkin puree is just roasted and then blended pumpkin usually without any additional flavours.
You could use pumpkin butter in this recipe, but you’d need to adjust the amount of sugar, spice and liquid the recipe already has. This means less sugar, less spice and more liquid.
You could also use a fresh pumpkin (or canned – tinned pumpkin), but the flavour will be less intense (as it’s not roasted) and you won’t get the full benefit of the pumpkin.
MORE PUMPKIN RECIPES
- Pumpkin Pie >>
- Pumpkin & Chia Breakfast Smoothie >>
- Pumpkin Pie Spiced Oatmeal >>
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Muffin >>
- Pumpkin Donuts (Gluten-Free) >>
There is no point counting calories with this recipe, so please don’t use low-fat cream cheese. If you do that and you add icing sugar to it (which is how you are going to make the cheese cream frosting), the cream cheese will just turn into water.
Believe me, when I say this, I’ve tried! You have to use a full-fat version of cream cheese for this recipe and just do a few more laps around your local park!
NOTES ON THE CINNAMON ROLLS BAKING METHOD
Kneading enriched dough
When I say, knead for 10-15 minutes, I mean knead for 10-15 minutes by hand.
So if you are using a mixer or a food processor with a paddle attachment to knead your dough, the time will be much shorter – about 5-6 minutes.
How to tell that your enriched dough is kneaded enough
If you time yourself and you don’t add any extra flour to your dough mix, 10-15 minutes is sufficient to develop a nice strong gluten strands.
It’s 10 minutes if you are listening to an energetic song (because you’ll knead faster…) and 15 min if you’ve never kneaded dough before or you don’t want to exhaust yourself at the first hurdle.
Or it’s 13 minutes if you are listening to the Archers…
Proving enriched dough
The time given in the recipe is just a guide. It could be 45 minutes or it could be 2 hrs. It very much depends on how warm or cold your kitchen is and where you are leaving your dough to prove.
What’s more important than the time, is the size. Your dough needs to double in size before you shape it and leave it to prove again.
If you can’t work out what’s double, just use a removable marker pen (or pencil or even a sticky note) and mark where your dough is (the level) before it starts to prove.
I’ve had people at my bread baking courses, who would take a quick photo on their mobiles from the top of the bowl and the side to remind themselves what the dough looked like at the beginning. I thought that was a pretty smart solution!
If you are used to baking traditional yeasted bread, you will also notice that this sweet (enriched) dough will take much longer to rise.
This is because of all the extra ingredients we have been adding in. The eggs, sugar, milk, pumpkin puree – all of this weights the dough, so that the yeast needs to work extra hard to rise.
Baking enriched dough & how to tell that your pumpkin cinnamon rolls are baked
The baking temperature is much lower than for normal bread or even cake. It’s 170C or 340F (low to medium gas) and the temperature needs to be constant.
You need to make sure that your oven is preheated to this temperature before you add your pumpkin cinnamon rolls in and then keep the oven door closed until the rolls are done. This should take about 25-30 min.
They should have a nice golden colour and if you test them with a wooden skewer, it should come out clean and dry (not wet).
The only problem is that the filling will make the rolls very sticky and soft, so it’s not always very easy to tell if they are done or not by just testing them with the wooden skewer.
I usually go by the time 25 min and then take them out, unless they are very pale, if which case I give them another 5 minutes.
How to keep traditional cinnamon rolls
Your cinnamon rolls should last for about 2-3 days and are best kept in the fridge stored in an airtight container.
How to freeze & defrost pumpkin rolls to serve later
Once frosted with the cream cheese, they are not particularly suitable for keeping in a warm room or for freezing.
If you are planning to freeze them (for example if you are planning ahead of the festive season or want to make ore cinnamon rolls for a special occasion), you can bake them, but don’t ice them with the cream cheese.
Leave the cinnamon rolls to cool down completely and then freeze on the same day. When you are ready to serve your cinnamon rolls, defrost them overnight in a room temperature first.
Then warm up your oven to about 180C or 350 F and place the rolls on a tray (tightly together, so that they don’t loose too much moisture) and warm them up for 5-7 minutes.
Prepare your cream cheese frosting as per my recipe and ice the cinnamon rolls as if they were just baked.
Serve warm, if you can and they will taste like you’ve just baked them!
Recipe batch size
This recipe makes 12 very large pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
How to change the size of the recipe
You can easily make just half of this recipe, by halving all the ingredients and following the recipe as it is. The baking time will be the same, but the proving time will be shorter (by about 1/4 or 1/3 of the time, depending on your room temperature).
The only issue I see with making just half of this recipe, is that you need to do the same amount of work (and heat up the oven for the same amount of time) as you would if you baked the whole batch.
If you are baking just for yourself or two people (and you think that you won’t be able to eat the cinnamon rolls within 3 days), I’d suggest to bake the whole batch and freeze half for later, when it’s baked (see my notes for freezing and defrosting for later).
Scaling up this recipe
Scaling up this recipe is a little bit easier. I can comfortably knead up to 1500 grams (1,5 kg) of cinnamon dough and I regularly double or triple the recipe to make more if I’m catering for other people or bringing my cinnamon pumpkin rolls to a friend’s party.
A regular oven, can take three large trays of cinnamon pumpkin rolls in one go and you don’t need to change the oven temperature or increase the amount of baking either. Clever, isn’t it?
Traditional pumpkin cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting
Cinnamon Rolls Dough
- 250 grams white bread flour strong bread flour
- 200 grams plain cake flour all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 130 g
- 1/4 cup caster sugar 60 g
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp salt or less depending on your taste
- 1 1/2 sachet instant active yeast about 10 g of instant active yeast (or 20g fresh yeast)
- 1/2 cup milk 125 ml (use extra milk if the dough is dry)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (double or single cream) 60 ml
- 50 grams butter unsalted
- 3 tablespoon cinnamon powder or ground
- 1/2 cup light brown or brown sugar (can be mixed with caster sugar) about 100 – 120 g
- 100 grams butter unsalted
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 100 grams cream cheese full-fat
- 1 cup confectioners (icing) sugar 230 g approx
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
- pinch of fine salt
- Measure out the white bread and the plain flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add all the other dry ingredients – the sugar, instant yeast and salt.
- In a mixing jug, mix together the milk, cream, butter, pumpkin puree, vanilla essence and egg.
- Gently warm up the liquid mixture in a microwave so that it's a nice room temperature.
- Add the liquid into the flour mix and innitially bring everything together with a wooden mixing spoon.
- When you are ready, tip the dough on your kitchen work counter and start kneading. Count your 10-15 min from now. Don't add any more flour (use a scraper to knead the dough or a little bit of oil if your hands get very sticky).
- Continue kneading until the dough comes together, become elastic and it's nice and strechy.
- Place in a plastic bowl, cover with plastic and leave to rise. The dough should double in size. This can take 45 to 90 minutes depending on your room temperature.
- When doubled in size, gently bring the dough out to an oiled kitchen surface and roll out (from the middle of the dough) to a large rectangle. Use oiled wooden rolling pin.
- Mix the butter with cinnamon and sugar and crumble it with your hands. You can even warm it up a little until you can spread it easily.
- Using a spatula or a large dinner knife, spread a thin layer of the filling mixture over the dough. Make sure that you go all the way to the corners.
- The next job is to roll the dough, starting at the widest side and gently rolling the dough until you get a chunky log.
- Starting from the middle, cut with a sharp knife the dough into 10-12 pieces. These should be around 3-4 cm wide (1.5 – 2 inch). Don't worry if you have less or more.
- Depending on how many rolls you have, decide on a baking tray. It should be big enough to hold all rolls with about 1.5 cm (1 inch) gaps. The rolls will grow as the prove for the second time, but they need to be close enough to support each other (and not to try whilst they bake).
- Grease your baking dish and transfer the rolls (standing up) to the baking tray/dish.
- Cover the rolls and let rise until they are nearly doubled again. This could be about 30 -40 minutes.
- Make sure that your oven is preheated to 330 degrees F (170 degrees C or medium gas oven).
- Once your rolls have risen, spray them with a bit of water and bake on the middle shelf for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Whilst your rolls are baking, prepare your cream cheese frosting by stiring together the cream cheese, confectioners (icing) sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a fork until nice and light.
- When the rolls are baked, place them (in their baking tray) on a cooling rack.
- Wait until they cool down a little and then spread the cream cheese frosting over them.
- Enjoy them with a pot of freshly made coffee and your friends!