Simnel ‘Chelsea’ Buns

Inspired by last weeks episode of the Great British Bake Off which was bread week, I baked some Simnel ‘Chelsea’ Buns from my Everyday Bake Off recipe book (page 170).


What you’ll need:

200ml milk (full fat or semi-skimmed)  IMG_1260
50g unsalted butter
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light brown muscavado sugar
1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
150g luxury dried fruit
1 medium free-range egg, at room temperature
400g white marzipan

To finish:

100g icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons lemon juice

What you do:

Firstly, just let me say that as previously mentioned I do my baking on a budget. Therefore I didn’t go out and buy luxury dried fruit, I made do with the regular sultanas I had, and I used yellow marzipan as I had some left over from a previous recipe. The buns tasted delicious so have no hesitation in improvising.

Put the milk and butter into a pan and warm on a low heat to melt the butter. Leave to cool till lukewarm.

Chelsea Buns

Put the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, lemon zest, and dried fruit in a large mixing bowl  and mix throughly.

Chelsea Buns

Make a well in the middle. Beat the egg into the milk/butter mixture and pour into the well. Work it all together by hand or with a dough hook to form soft but not sticky dough.

Chelsea Buns

Lightly dust hands and work surface and knead thoroughly for about 10 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with cling film or lid and leave to rise for about an hour. I was so pleased because this was the first time when using bread flour and yeast and leaving something to rise; it actually did!! Whoop whoop!

Uncover the dough and punch down the dough to flatten. Turn onto lightly floured work top and cut into 2 pieces. Roll out one half to approx 36 x 18cm.

Gently knead the marzipan, cut in half and roll to a thin rectangle to fit your dough.

Chelsea BunsPlace the marzipan on top of the dough and gently press and roll up like a swiss roll. Cut evenly with a sharp knife into 8 even slices. I’d used half the ingredients so I only cut mine into 4.

Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Chelsea Buns

Arrange them cut side up into a greased tin, so they are barely touching, they will join up as the dough rises and when cooking. Cover with a dry tea towel or cling film and leave for approx 35-45 minutes.

Chelsea Buns

Towards the end of this proofing time, heat the oven to 200°c. Bake for approx 25 minutes until golden brown.

While the buns are baking make up the icing. Make a smooth, thick but spreadable icing.

Chelsea Buns

Remove the tin from the oven and place on a wire rack, leave to cool for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and turn out the buns.

Chelsea BunsSpoon over the lemon icing and leave to cool before pulling them apart.

In hindsight, the tin that I used was too big for the amount of buns made. You can see from the the photo above that the top row of buns didn’t fuse together. The bottom row weren’t too bad but I’ll know for next time 😉 and they tasted delicious warm from the oven. Very pleased with these!

Chelsea Buns







  1. August 30, 2015 / 11:31 am

    I always imagined these would be hard to make, but you’ve made it look quite simple and very delicious. I love marzipan.

    • August 30, 2015 / 4:55 pm

      Thanks Amanda. I find the hardest bit is getting the dough to rise, which is partly out of my control 🙂

  2. August 31, 2015 / 10:47 am

    I’m impressed. They look gorgeous!

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