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These freshly baked buns with orange jam and custard cream filling are to die for. They are soft, fluffy and sweet with zingy marmalade and silky cream. You can also fry them for delicious doughnuts.

Back in December, when I was recovering from Covid-19, I had a massive craving for oily, sweet and naughty Krispy Kreme doughnuts. My body was screaming for sugar, and I got my fix. It was totally worth it.

Three months later though, I caught myself still thinking about that mid-night feast. This could only mean one thing – I had to recreate something similar, but just a bit less oily…

Having said this, I think everyone would agree that creating a healthy version of doughnuts is “mission impossible”. Some things are just naughty and there’s no point claiming ‘I’ve just found a healthy version!’ They’re never quite right.

Despite this, I took the essence of this decadent dessert and extracted it into these lovely homemade baked buns with silky custard cream filling.

When you think about what doughnuts are, they’re basically yeast dough with a sweet filling and oily crust. So, these buns provide all these things, except the oily crust.

Don’t forget you can always change the filling if custard isn’t your thing too!

Baked Buns with Custard Cream Filling

Baked Buns Tips and Tricks

With almost 20 steps on this recipe, I’m aware it can seem a little intimidating. Don’t worry though, it’s not as difficult as you might think – as long as you nail the basics.

  • Milk should be a little warmer than room temperature (around 30-40 degrees). If you don’t have a thermometer, it’s not a problem. Just dip your finger into your jug of milk. If the temperature is comfortable to hold your finger for a minute – it’s good.
  • You can swap dried yeast for 20g of fresh yeast.
  • Mix the dry ingredients before adding the yeast mixture. Yeast hates salt and the moment it touches it, the yeast stops doing its job. By mixing the dry ingredients, you’ll avoid this.
  • When you make the custard – don’t rush. Take your time. Pour the milk mixture into the beaten eggs very slowly, always (always!) whisking it. This will help prevent the eggs scrambling.
  • After the buns are baked, don’t wait too long. Start piping the custard the moment you can easily hold the buns in your hands. If you wait too long, the sponge becomes too hard, and you won’t be able to add much filling (and let’s be honest – the filling is the best part and we need a lot).

These freshly baked buns would be perfect for Easter! They are not too sweet and just crazy fluffy. Basically, they’re like a hot cross bun combined with a doughnut.

Baked Buns with Custard Cream Filling



150ml warm milk
7g dried yeast
300g plain flour
50g caster sugar
50g melted butter
1 egg
A pinch of salt

Custard Cream:
100ml double cream
350ml milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

To serve:
3 tablespoons of orange marmalade
Icing sugar


Prepare the buns:

  1. Warm the milk until it’s lukewarm (around 40 degrees), add the dried yeast and leave for a couple of minutes until it starts bubbling.
  2. Add the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix everything together and pour in the yeast mixture.
  3. Add the melted butter, egg and a couple of drops of vanilla extract. Combine everything together.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it’s smooth. Transfer it into an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
  5. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 12 same sized balls. Form smooth looking buns by gently kneading the balls.
  6. Spray a muffin tray with baking oil and place the prepared buns in it. Leave the dough to rest for 40 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  8. Brush the buns with beaten egg and bake them for 20 minutes.

Prepare the custard cream:

  1. Add the double cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan. Gently bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs together with cornstarch.
  3. Take the milk mixture off the heat and very slowly, always whisking, pour this mixture into the eggs (this way you’ll avoid scrambled eggs).
  4. Pour the cream back into a saucepan, add the vanilla extract and heat it for 5 minutes (always stirring) until it starts firming.
  5. Pour the cream through a sieve to remove any lumps.

Finish the buns:

  1. After buns are baked, pierce one hole in the middle of the base.
  2. Add the filling into a pastry bag with a small piping nozzle.
  3. Pipe the custard into the buns through the holes.
  4. Heat the marmalade until it gets liquidly and brush the tops of the buns with it.
  5. Finish the buns by dusting the icing sugar on top.
Baked Buns with Custard Cream Filling