Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Yields 16 to 18 buns


  • 6 T butter, to be divided
  • 1/2 c milk, warmed
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
  • 3 1/2 c AP flour
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for coating rising bowl


  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T milk
  • 2 c powdered sugar, sifted

Make your dough: Melt your butter in a little saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup of your melted butter and stir to combine. Add the yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix until combined. Switch the mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on the low setting. Scrape the mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place – it should just about double in size.
While the dough is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop the dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush the reserved melted butter over the dough. Stir together the remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over the dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. With a sharp serrated knife gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections.

Divide the buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes. If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

Heat the oven to 350°F for 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze – beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in the milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic wrap and bake the buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Transfer the pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle or schmear with the cream cheese glaze. Then…have at them!