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These Zesty Citrus Buns are a perfect excuse to stock up on Cara Cara oranges or Meyer lemons.Stephanie Eddy/The Globe and Mail

Celebrate citrus season.

These buns are made from a soft, sweet dough spread with a tangy lemon cream cheese filling and topped with a sweet orange glaze.

It's a zesty twist on the traditional cinnamon bun and the perfect excuse to load up your shopping cart with bags of Cara Cara oranges and Meyer lemons.

Servings: 12 buns

Ready Time: 3 hours (including rising)


1/2 cup (105 grams) sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons (16 grams) instant yeast

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups (657 grams) flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup (40 grams) flour


2/3 cup cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

Orange glaze

1 1/2 navel or Cara Cara oranges

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 to 4 cups icing sugar


Place the sugar in a mixing bowl and cover with warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and set aside to soak for 5 minutes.

Microwave the milk in a heatproof bowl for one minute to bring it to room temperature. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla.

Whisk the milk mixture into the yeast mixture in the mixing bowl. Place the 4 1/2 cups of flour and the salt on top. Stir using the paddle attachment until it forms a sticky, batter-like dough.

Mix in the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and use your spatula to push the dough to one side. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of flour over the dough and the bottom of the bowl.

Use the dough hook to knead at your mixer’s recommended setting (usually level 2) for 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first. After 5 minutes it should only stick a little to the bottom of the bowl but be clearing the sides; if it isn’t, add 1 to 2 tbsp of flour and allow to knead for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The dough should be kneaded for a total of 7 to 9 minutes, until it is smooth, elastic and slightly tacky.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Stir together the cream cheese, icing sugar, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest until completely combined.

Once the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and knead a few times to deflate. Flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 15-by-15-inch square.

Use a spatula to spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving 1 inch uncovered on one edge. Roll the dough into an even log, brush the unbuttered edge with water and press to seal. Use a serrated knife to cut the log into 12 equal pieces.

Grease two 9-by-15-inch glass or ceramic baking pans and evenly space 6 cinnamon rolls on each pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the buns are touching. While the buns are rising, make the orange glaze.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Uncover the pans and place side by side in the middle of the oven. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate the pans. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until the buns are brown on top but only light golden brown on the sides. Cool the pans on wire racks.

To make the glaze, zest and squeeze the orange juice and add the juice and zest to the same bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and whisk in 3 cups of the icing sugar until smooth. Whisk in an additional cup of icing sugar to thicken the glaze if necessary.

Glaze the buns while they are still warm. The buns are best served fresh, but you can microwave leftovers until warm.