Brioche Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

brioche cinnamon bun with cream cheese icing

During our mad dash to the grocery store during a small break in last weekend’s wicked weather I spied a can of cinnamon rolls that I so wanted to make mine. Alas, I kind of like myself too much to go there, and happily already had all of the ingredients needed to make up a gluten-free batch back at home. The crazy downpour and super strong wind gusts that shook my building hard enough that I was practically running for the nearest doorframe — seriously, it felt like at least a 3.0 earthquake, which is kind of a big deal for this east coast transplant — woke me early enough on Sunday to get my butter melted and cooled in time to have hot buns ready for breakfast.

They were exactly what I was looking for; a nice, barely sweetened brioche base for the bun plus a cinnamon caramel swirl all topped with a cream cheese icing with just enough lingering tang to balance out the sweetness. I still want to mess around with the recipe — as you can see, they do shrink up a bit out of the oven — but they are very, very close to being just right. (I’ll clearly indicate any updates at a much later date, it will be a while before I’ll have access to an oven.)

pan-o-brioche cinnamon buns

Brioche Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

(brioche base very heavily adapted from Five and Spice via Food52)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Preparation Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours
Baking Time: 18 – 20 minutes
Makes: 8 cinnamon buns


Brioche Base:

  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) millet flour, plus more for pan and rolling
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) garbanzo fava flour
  • 96 grams (1/2 cup) potato starch
  • 32 grams (1/4 cup) arrowroot starch
  • 9 grams (1 tablespoon) xanthan gum
  • 7 grams (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 18 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp (takes about 2 hours — it needs to be very creamy, like mayonnaise/sour cream/cream whipped to soft peaks, see photo here)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 21 grams (1 tablespoon) honey
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) water, room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:

  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp (as with buns above)
  • 48 grams (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 24 grams (2 tablespoons) evaporated cane juice or granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 57 grams (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 grams (1 teaspoon) honey, optional
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) powdered sugar


Make Dough:

Line an 8″ square baking dish with parchment (or grease with butter and dust with millet flour); set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together millet flour through ground cinnamon; fit mixer with paddle attachment. In a small spouted bowl or measuring cup, whisk together melted and cooled butter through water. Turn mixer to low and pour butter mixture into dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a millet-floured surface. Sprinkle the top with more millet flour, then roll the dough around a little, covering all sides with flour. Pat the dough into about a 9″ square. Gently spread surface with butter, leaving 1/2″ border on two of the opposite sides, taking care not to tear dough. In a small bowl, mix together dark brown sugar through ground nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over butter; pat down to adhere as best as possible. Roll dough into a tight cylinder from one side with non-sugared border to the other; seal edge/seam as best as possible to join sides. Cut dough into 8 even slices; place in pan with seams facing toward another bun instead of the pan.

Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap, followed by a clean towel, and set aside in a draft-free spot to rise for about an hour or until puffy and about doubled in size.


About 15 minutes before buns are through rising, position oven rack in the center and preheat to 425°F. Once buns have risen, unwrap and bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until buns are golden brown and cinnamon caramel filling is nice and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly for about 10 – 15 minutes before icing and/or removing from the pan.

Make Icing and Frost Buns:

In a small bowl, stir together softened cream cheese and butter until smooth. Stir in honey and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth. If desired, add up to 1/4 teaspoon more vanilla extract.

Dollop icing evenly onto each of the slightly cooled buns. Spread with a small, offset spatula or knife. Serve immediately! Store any leftover buns covered in the fridge. They are still tasty cold, though definitely harder, but they can be reheated in the microwave (half-power/defrost for 15 – 30 second increments).

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