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Swedish Semla Buns Recipe for Fat Tuesday/Lent

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Learn how to make Swedish Semla Buns with this easy recipe. Swedish Semla buns are eaten by Swedes around Lent, typically on Fat Tuesday/ Pancake day (depending on where you are from). They are delicious cardamom buns filled with marzipan and whipped cream.

This recipe makes 6 Swedish Semla Buns and I adapted it from this fantastic recipe created by Bronte Aurell of the Scandinavian Kitchen. The Scandinavian Kitchen is an awesome little Scandi cafe in central London, so if you're from London or just visiting, I'd definitely check it out!

Ingredients Used:

For the buns:

12g fresh yeast (or 6g active dry yeast)

40g melted butter

125ml whole milk

20g caster sugar

1 pinch salt

½ tsp baking powder

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp ground cardamom

Approximately 150-200g plain bread flour

For the filling:

50g Marzipan

A dash of milk 250ml whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract Icing sugar to dust

* Note: The original Scandinavian Kitchen recipe also includes a dollop of custard or Crème Pâtissière. I simply chose not to include it because I'm not a fan.*


  1. Melt your butter and add your milk, warming to a lukewarm temperature of around 37-38ºC. Add your yeast and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add your sugar and stir, then add half of your flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add ½ egg an egg and preserve the other half for brushing your buns before baking.

  3. Mix well, and then add the rest of your flour bit by bit until your dough is sticky but not wet. Do not add too much flour or you will have dry buns. Nead for 5-10 mins, then cover and leave to rise somewhere warm for 30mins.

  4. After 30 mins, knead your dough for 5mins and then cut into 6 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then leave to rise again for another 30 mins.

  5. You then brush your buns with egg wash and bake on 200ºC for 8-10mins.


    As soon as you remove your buns from the oven, cover with a damp cloth to avoid cracking.

  7. Once cooled, cut a lid on each of your buns. Remove a third of the inside of your buns and combine the crumbs with your marzipan and milk. Then spoon your filling back inside your buns.

  8. You then need to whisk your thick whipping cream with your vanilla essence until thick. Once thickened, pipe the cream on top of your buns. Place the lids back on your buns, and then sprinkle icing sugar over the top.