These Rum and Raisin Sticky Buns are a bit more complicated and longwinded than most recipes on my blog but with Easter around the corner, I wanted to share a baking recipe that is not another reinterpretation of hot cross buns. The end result is a pillowy soft, buttery rich and deliciously boozy bun that makes all that effort worth it.

Rum and Raisin Sticky Buns

It was an Alison Roman recipe for Sticky Cinnamon Rolls in a recent newsletter that made me decide it has to be sticky buns rather than hot cross buns for Easter. And after chatting to my friend Emma while we were on a shoot the idea of Rum and Raisin Sticky Buns came into being. Lucky for me, Emma owns Gertie’s Rum, a premium craft rum distilled in Cape Town, so I was able to soak the raisins in some seriously good rum until plumped up and almost bursting.

The recipe is based on Alison’s recipe but I was quite fascinated with the concept of tangzhong that I had read about in the King Arthur Flour recipe for “Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Rolls”. The recipe describes tangzhong as follows “With origins in Japan’s yukone (or yudane), tangzhong is a yeast bread technique popularized across Asia by Taiwanese cookbook author Yvonne Chen. Tangzhong involves cooking some of a bread recipe’s flour in liquid prior to adding it to the remaining dough ingredients. Bringing the temperature of the flour and liquid to 65°C pre-gelatinizes the flour’s starches, which makes them more able to retain liquid — thus enhancing the resulting loaf’s softness and shelf life.”

I love to bake and I’m certainly not an expert baker but decided to make a tangzhong and see if it works. So I used half the milk and 3 tablespoons of flour in Alison’s recipe to make the tangzhong and add to the dough. Sticky buns are at their best on the day of baking but we had these buns a day later and they were definitely not stale or dried out. So I think the tangzhong method works. But I would suggest that you blast the rolls in the microwave for 15 seconds or so before enjoying the day after baking.

The rum soaked raisins are divided between the cinnamon sugar filling and the sticky glaze on which the buns are baked. With all the richness and sugar I don’t think the rolls need any glaze or cream cheese topping. They do get a quick brush of maple syrup for some extra shine and a sprinkle of salt to add some depth to the sweetness.

Do not overcrowd the pans, rather bake the rolls in two medium cake tins or a large rectangular cake tin. The uncooked buns need enough space when proofing and will expand considerably during baking.

I hope you enjoy baking this recipe for Rum and Raisin Sticky Buns. If you’ve made it, share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #heinstirred. It is always a treat to see the recipes made and enjoy. You can CLICK HERE for more Easter recipe inspiration.

The images in this post has been shot on photography backgrounds available at

Rum and Raisin Sticky Buns

Servings 12 buns


  • 1 ½ cups raisins and sultanas
  • 125 ml rum
  • Dough
  • 240 g full cream milk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 540 g flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 113 g butter at room temperature cut into cubes
  • Filling
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Glaze
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g packed light brown sugar
  • 60 ml full cream milk
  • 70 ml golden syrup
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Topping Glaze
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • sea salt flakes


  • Soak the raisins in the rum for 24 hours - 96 hours. The longer, the plumper and juicier the raisins will be
  • Make the tangzhong: Combine 113g of the milk and 3 tbsp of flour in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until thickened and resembling a paste, and the spoon leaves lines on the bottom of the pan
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer
  • Mix the rest of the milk, sugar, and yeast together and add to the tangzhong
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt
  • Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together into a dry, shaggy mess. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium speed until you’ve got a smooth, sticky dough (scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the flour get incorporated)
  • With the mixer still running, add the butter a few pieces at a time, letting the butter incorporate before adding more pieces.
  • Knead on a medium speed for another 5 minutes once all the butter has been incorporated
  • Transfer the dough into a greased medium bowl and cover with plastic
  • Place in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours
  • Once you’re ready to bake, prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients, stirring until the mixture looks like damp sand. Set aside
  • Place all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the butter has melted
  • Simmer for another 2 minutes and take off the heat
  • Grease 2 round 22cm cake tins with non-stick spray and pour the glaze in the pans, swirling to coat the bottom, then sprinkle half the raisins on top
  • Remove the dough from the fridge - it should be firm after resting
  • Lightly flour or oil a large work surface and turn the dough out
  • Using a rolling pin or your hands (I find hands easier) roll or pat the dough roll to about 25cm long and 30cm wide
  • Scatter the cinnamon filling mixture on top making sure it is evenly distributed
  • Sprinkle the rest of the raisins on top and gently push them down
  • Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough up, pressing and tucking lightly as you roll
  • Cut the log of dough into 12x 2cm pieces (cutting the dough from the bottom upwards with dental floss works well instead of using a knife)
  • Place the rolls in your cake pans, spaced well apart
  • Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let it proof until puffed up and almost double in size
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  • Bake the buns until they are puffed, deeply golden brown on the edges, and feel firm when tapped
  • Brush the rolls with a bit of maple syrup and sprinkle with sea salt as soon as you have removed them from the oven
  • Let cool slightly before serving

If you are looking for more quick, easy delicious meal ideas, my cookbook, DRUNK AND HUNGRY is available as a digital download. As the title states, the book consists of easy and flavourful recipes for when you find yourself drunk, and hungry. Savoury, sweet, vegan, vegetarian, bacon, cheese, spice, and carbs are packed into 15 easy recipes to satisfy your hunger while tantalising your tastebuds. The book has just been announced as the South African winner in the Digital Books category in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. It will now compete for Best in the World later this year at the Cookbook Fair in Paris.

Purchase the book by clicking on this link

Drunk and Hungry

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