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Homemade Belgian Buns

Homemade Belgian Buns – nothing beats a freshly baked iced bun with a cherry on the top. Filled with homemade Lemon Curd & juicy sultanas – so much better than Greggs!

One of my favourite treats when I go to a cafe or a bakery is an iced bun, especially if there’s a cherry on the top.

Regular readers will know about my love of bread baking and I thought I’d have a go at recreating my favourite cafe treat.

A close up image of Homemade Belgian Bun with buns in the background.

For Homemade Belgian Buns I use my easy all in one sweet bun recipe, the same dough I use for Chelsea Buns. It’s a lighter dough than a standard enriched dough and it has a quicker rise. The result is a batch of soft and fluffy buns.

Once you have your Belgian Bun dough, it’s simply a matter of lemon curd filling and dried fruit before baking. I used lemon in the icing for a double hit of lemon.

Belgian Buns on a work surface, 2 buns without icing, 2 buns with icing and a cherry on the top and the fifth being iced.

You’ll find easy step by step instructions in my video to help you make the best Belgian Buns.

Homemade Belgian Buns make a great alternative to hot cross buns at Easter, a delicious breakfast bread or teatime treat.

Homemade Belgian Buns on a cooling rack.

What Is A Belgian Bun ?

Top shot image of freshly iced buns on a cooling rack.

Apparently Belgian Buns aren’t Belgian at all. Although I’m told you can find similar dough based buns known as a rozijnenkoek or couque suisse in bakeries in Belgium.

A Belgian Bun is like a Chelsea Bun but with icing and a cherry  on the top. OH and I had a debate about the filling in a Belgian Bun – should there be lemon curd with the sultana filling ?

Belgian Bun on a tea plate cut in half to reveal lemon curd filling.

The famous Belgian Bun from Greggs has lemon curd inside. So my plan was to offer my taste testers a “with curd” and a “without curd” bun.

It never happened because everyone who tried the first batch of buns loved the lemon curd filling and said this is what makes the buns so special.

Close up shot of iced buns with a cherry on the top on a cooling rack.

What equipment do I need ?

  • Optional: A stand mixer – I use my KitchenAid stand mixer to knead dough as it makes light work of kneading. But don’t worry if you haven’t access to a stand mixer. You’ll need a bit of elbow grease but you can easily knead by hand.
  • 2 baking trays / sheets lined with baking parchment.

What ingredients do I need ?

For ingredient quantities, scroll down to the recipe card.

Butter in a dish, next to a jug of milk, a scoop of flour, a packet of dried yeast, a plate of sugar and an egg.

Dough ingredients

  • Bread flour – I use Marriage’s white bread flour for its high gluten content, essential for a soft and fluffy bun.
  • Yeast – I’ve used instant yeast, also called fast action yeast or quick yeast.
  • Sugar – only three tablespoons in the dough as there is plenty in the lemon curd and sultana filling and icing.
  • Salted butter – to enrich the dough and give it flavour.
  • Milk – essential for delivering a lovely soft bun.
  • Egg – I used 1 large egg.

Filling ingredients

A jar of lemon curd with a dish of sultanas.
  • Lemon curd – I use my easy microwave lemon curd but you can of course use commercially available lemon curd. In that instance, I’d recommend buying a jar of good quality curd and avoid the budget brands if you can.
  • Sultanas – juicy sultanas or you can substitute with raisins.

Topping Ingredients

Icing sugar in a bowl, a measure cup of lemon juice and a dish of glacé cherries on a work surface.
  • Icing sugar – also called confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar.
  • Lemon juice – I’ve used fresh lemon juice as I prefer the taste but you can use bottled lemon juice.
  • Glacé cherries / candied cherries – an essential ingredient in a Belgian Bun. Use a whole one or a half on each bun.

What Is The Difference Between Instant Yeast & Active Dry Yeast ?

I’ve used instant yeast in the recipe, often called fast action or quick yeast. This yeast has the advantage that you can add it directly to your flour.

I like to use Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast which comes in a handy 125g packet. Once opened, Dove’s Farm Yeast will keep for up to two months if you store it in a cool dry place. I order my yeast from Amazon in packs of three and the Use Before date has always been a couple of years in the future.

Active dry yeast  needs to be dissolved first and left to bloom.

Can I Use Active Dry Yeast In This Recipe ?

Yes you can!

Add 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast to the warm milk along with a spoon of the caster sugar, stir and leave for 10 to 15 minutes to bubble up.
Now you’re ready to make the dough.

How To Make Homemade Belgian Buns

Homemade Belgian Buns are much easier to make than you might think. If you have a stand mixer, it’s even easier – I use my Kitchen Aid.

Belgian buns on a work surface with the bun in the foreground being iced from a spoon.

Make your dough

  • First, warm your milk in the microwave for one minute so the liquid temperature is tepid to warm. At this temperature the yeast is encouraged to start working – too high a temperature will kill the yeast.
A mixer bowl with dough ingredients ready to be mixed and a mixer bowl with kneaded dough.
  • Add all your dough ingredients to the mixer bowl of a free standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
  • Knead on a low setting for about 10 minutes until your dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Alternatively, you can mix by hand. Stir the ingredients together until they form a ball and then knead for 10 to 12 minutes.
Stretched dough in fingers between two hands to check you can see through it.
  • An easy way to check your dough is ready is to use the windowpane test. Pinch off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it apart. Hold it up to the light – it should be translucent and free from big holes.
  • Place your dough in a large greased mixing bowl and cover. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least one and a half hours or until doubled in size.
A bowl with freshly made dough and a bowl with risen dough side by side.

Shape and Bake

  • Now it’s time to turn out your dough. Gently roll or press out into a rectangle of about 40 x 25 cm (16″ x 10″).
4 images to show dough being flattened out, then rolled out with rulers to show measurement, spread with lemon curd and sprinkled with sultanass.
  • Spread the dough with lemon curd and sprinkle on the sultanas.
  • Starting from a long side, tightly roll up the dough like a Swiss roll or jelly roll.
  • Cut into 12 equal slices and arrange on your your lined baking trays. Cover with a cloth or greased cling film.
4 images to show rectangle of filled dough in various stages of being rolled up and then sliced.
  • Leave to rise for about 45 minutes.
  • Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Use a preheated oven at 400°F / 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6.
Proved Belgian Buns on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and the tray in the oven.
Baked Belgian buns fresh from the oven still on a lined baking tray.

Make your lemon icing

  • Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and mix with the lemon juice until nice and smooth. The icing should drop slowly off your spoon. Add extra lemon juice if necessary.
  • Spoon the lemon icing on the top of each bun and crown with a cherry.
4 images to show icing being mixed, then icing poured over a bun and a finished bun with a cherry on the top.

FAQs

What’s the difference between a Chelsea bun and a Belgian bun?

Belgian Buns and Chelsea Buns are both sweet buns. The difference is in the filling and shape. Belgian Buns are round in shape, filled with lemon curd and sultanas and finished with glacé icing and a cherry. Chelsea Buns are famous for their distinctive square shape, filled with cinnamon butter and dried fruit topped with a simple sugar glaze.

What is the yellow stuff in a Belgian bun?

The mystery yellow stuff in Belgian Buns is lemon curd, a cooked mixture of eggs, lemons and butter. It’s a versatile lemony spread often used on cheesecakes or in tarts. Lemon curd and sultanas are the filling in a Belgian Bun.

Can I freeze Homemade Belgian Buns ?

Yes, you can ! Belgian Buns freeze better without the icing. Having said that, I have frozen Iced Belgian Buns successfully, you just get a dull finish to the icing.
Open freeze and then transfer to a freezer bag or sealed container.
Will keep for up to three months.
Defrost at room temperature before topping with lemon icing and a cherry.

Baked buns on a cooling rack.

How long do they keep ?

Although fresh is definitely best, Homemade Belgian Buns will keep for 2 to 3 days stored in an airtight container.

Belgian buns on a wooden board freshly iced with cherries and blobs of icing on the board.

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If You Like Homemade Belgian Buns … you might also like:

Pin Homemade Belgian Buns

A set of three photo images - starting with a close up of freshly iced Belgian Buns on a cooling rack. Second image is of a split bun revealing the lemon curd filling. Last image is of freshly baked buns cooling on a rack.
Iced buns with a cherry on the top on a cooling rack.

Homemade Belgian Buns

Homemade Belgian Buns – nothing beats a freshly baked iced bun with a cherry on the top. Filled with homemade Lemon Curd & juicy sultanas – so much better than Greggs!
4.96 from 151 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Afternoon Tea, Sweet Treat
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Proving time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • 2 large baking trays / sheets

Ingredients

Sweet Dough

  • 450 g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast I use Doves Farm
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar superfine sugar
  • 115 g softened salted butter
  • 200 ml warm milk
  • 1 egg beaten

Filling

  • 6 tbsp lemon curd
  • 115 g sultanas

Topping

  • 300 g icing sugar powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 12 glace cherries

Instructions

Make your dough

  • Combine all the dough ingredients, in either the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook fitted or in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix on slow speed number 1 for approximately 1 to 2 minutes then on speed number 2 for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • If mixing by hand stir the ingredients together until they form a ball and then knead for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Check your dough is sufficiently smooth and elastic to pass the windowpane test.
  • Place your dough in a large greased mixing bowl and cover. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least one and a half hours or until doubled in size.

Shape and Bake

  • Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle about 40 x 25 cm (16″ x 10″).
  • Spread the dough with lemon curd and sprinkle with the sultanas.
  • Starting from a long side, tightly roll up the dough like a swiss roll or jelly roll.
  • With a sharp knife cut into 12 even slices.
  • Lay slices flat on your lined baking trays and cover with a cloth or greased cling film.
  • Leave to rise from approximately 30 to 45 minutes until well risen.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6 . Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Make your icing

  • Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and mix with the lemon juice until nice and smooth. Add extra lemon juice if necessary, the icing should drop slowly off your spoon.
  • Spoon the lemon icing on to the top of each bun and top with a cherry.

Video

Notes

  • Best eaten on the same day but they will keep for 2 to 3 days stored in an airtight container.
  • Belgian Buns can be frozen, they freeze better without the icing. Having said that, I have frozen Iced Belgian Buns successfully, you just get a dull finish to the icing.
    Open freeze and then transfer to a freezer bag or sealed container.
    Will keep for up to three months.
    Defrost at room temperature before topping with lemon icing and a cherry.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

I am taking my mouth wateringly delicious Homemade Belgian Buns to this week’s Fiesta Friday #162 which is a weekly foodie party hosted by the lovely Angie. This will be my first week co hosting so I’m pleased I’ve got a fellow co host, Liz from Spades, Spatulas & Spoons to help me out.

I’m also entering Homemade Belgian Buns into a couple challenges this month:

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Recipe Rating




Natalie

Sunday 12th of September 2021

They tasted really lovely, thanks for the recipe Sarah! Natalie

Sarah James

Sunday 12th of September 2021

So pleased you enjoyed them Natalie. It's a pleasure to share the recipe.

Natalie

Saturday 11th of September 2021

Hi there! Just wanted to double check the yeast quantity in this recipe as it sounded rather a lot. At the beginning of the recipe you said you used instant yeast but the recipe calls for 1tbsp instant yeast, I just weighed that out on the scale and it was about 10g. Is this correct? Thanks so much! The recipe looks gorgeous, am trying it this afternoon 😊

Sarah James

Saturday 11th of September 2021

Hi Natalie, thanks for getting in touch. Don't worry, the yeast quantity is correct as the recipe needs more yeast than a regular bread dough to compensate for the added egg, butter and sugar. Just double checked how much a tablespoon of instant yeast weighs on my scales and it comes in at 9 grams. Enjoy Belgian bun making and do let me know how you get on.

Taghrid Jammoul

Thursday 1st of April 2021

They only need 15 minutes the recipe says 20-25 minutes it’s too long

Sarah James

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Hi Taghrid, thanks for getting in touch. Oven temperatures can vary from oven to oven. I bake my Belgian Buns for 25 minutes at 200 C in a conventional oven. I'm wondering if your oven is fan assisted? it can make a difference of up to 20 degrees and would explain why your Belgian Buns were baked in 15 minutes. I'm in the process of updating my site with fan oven temperatures and I've added 180 C to the recipe card today.

Sunny

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Is there any way I can prep these a night before and bake them in the morning? If so, at what point should I stop the prep and should it be stored in fridge until the morning!?

Thanks so much!

Sarah James

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Hello Sunny, yes you can prep the night before. I find the best results are from retarding the dough in the fridge overnight. Let your dough rise in a covered bowl for about an hour before you put it in the fridge. When you bring it out in the morning let it come back to room temperature before you roll the dough out and spread with lemon curd and sultanas. It usually takes about an hour to come back to room temp in a warm kitchen. I haven't tried putting the buns in the fridge ready shaped in case the lemon curd seeps out of the buns. Hope this helps, let me know how you get on.

Taq

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

These were absolutely delicious! I made these following the recipe exactly, not only were the instructions so easy to follow but the end result was absolutely better than anything I’ve had from a store.