Pumpkin Swirl Buns

I love any kind of swirl bun, and have made quite a few different kinds over the years here on Handmade Charlotte. But, I’m not exaggerating when I say that these might be my favorite of them all. The pumpkin filling is sweet and full of holiday spice, then buns are tender and topped with tangy icing – a perfect bite. My kids agreed they were even better than our old stand-by, the famous cinnamon roll. I am certain we will wake up to these Christmas morning.

Note: I used a no-knead brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. This dough is wonderful because it can be mixed together and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The brioche master recipe will make about four pounds of dough, and this recipe only needs two pounds.)


1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Pinch salt

2 pounds Brioche dough (see note above)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt


For the filling:

Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, ginger, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (the mixture is quite thick, so you need to look for slow bubbles). Once the puree is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove the puree from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

For the buns:
On a lightly floured surface, fold the dough over 3-4 times and then form it into a ball. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the dough.

Roll the dough up, starting at the short end. Using a sharp kitchen knife or a scissors, cut the log into 12 equal pieces.

Set the buns in the prepared pan, 1 1/2 to 2-inches apart. Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they have almost doubled in size. (You can set these up the night before and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour.)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350F. Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch pan (or other pan that will fit 12 buns).

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger and the tops are light golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool 10-15 minutes before frosting.

For the frosting:
In the bowl of the standing mixer, mix the butter until creamy. Add the cream cheese to the mixer, and beat on high until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix on low until combined. Increase the mixer to medium-high, and beat again until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).