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Marzipan buns

Updated: Tue, 7 December, 2021

The perfect breakfast is a big mug of freshly made coffee and a marzipan bun. Or two.

marzipan buns

Marzipan facts and myths

Marzipan is the white, crumbly stuff you buy in the shops, right? The sickly, artificially flavoured icing or frosting that everyone invariably peels off, picks out or simply leaves on the plate, because it just serves as a decoration and isn’t truly edible. Right?

Wrong. All wrong.

Marzipan is wonderful stuff, easily made at home even by wannabe chefs with two left arms who can just about mix together icing sugar and lemon juice. No offence intended. It can and should be made at home, for the purpose of icing, frosting, decorating, filling – and eating in truffles or with a spoon, straight from the jar.

Marzipan is seriously underrated and I was as much to blame as anyone for thinking the opening paragraph.

Since discovering homemade marzipan, I spent last Christmas period trying to invent new bakes that could benefit from marzipan filling or icing.

sweet buns with marzipan filling

How to make marzipan?

There are two methods: the classic old school German resulting in not very sweet, gorgeously truffable paste. The other method veers more into the French and English ways, by adding egg and lemon juice to the mix which is sometimes more sugar than ground almonds.

English recipes and festive bakes feature marzipan in Simnel cake at Easter and as a layer of icing on the Christmas cake.

It might be odd that eggs are added to the English marzipan considering this nation’s mortal fear of raw anything. Some sensible souls will be reassured that the amount of sugar used in marzipan stops bacteria from growing in it even at room temperature. Others will use pasteurised, liquid eggs which I personally would not touch with a barge pole.

homemade marzipan filled buns

How to use marzipan safely?

What to do then? I make sure I buy my eggs from a safe producer. If I want to use them raw, I wash the shell thoroughly with warm water and soap.

For an extra precaution, use the eggy marzipan for the confections that will be baked or cooked and make the traditional, eggless type for raw use. With a drop of lemon or rose water, but never ever the vile, cheap almond extract.

And so, once you get started I’m sure that like me you will end up with surplus marzipan to keep in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer until required.

For example, as a filling in the softest, fluffiest, nicest buns you can imagine, just the thing to make around February – between Christmas breads and Easter hot cross buns.

Or, frankly, any time of the year.

sweet breakfast marzipan buns

Best dough for breakfast buns

The recipe below is for very soft and buttery, but also quite forgiving dough. I needs a starter or a ferment to prove for about an hour, then the main dough needs just a little attention when adding butter to it. It’s a large amount so it needs to be added in stages, otherwise all the yeast in the world will not manage to lift such richness.

Once it’s doubled in volume, the dough can be either rolled out and cut with a pastry cutter into rounds, or simply cut into morsels rolled up into balls, then flattened.

Make sure you seal the marzipan stuffed buns very well or they’ll crack open. Though marzipan is thick and thus not lethal like jam for instance, which tends to want out through the minutest sloppy sealing in buns or rolls.

I like to bake them sometimes in a bun or a muffin tin because they will look so neat: shapely round domes rising above a mushroom stalk/muffin base. But there is nothing wrong with simply placing shaped balls onto a baking sheet and baking them like that.

They will keep quite well when wrapped tightly - perfect for a few days’ worth of breakfasts or afternoon teas.

stollen breakfast buns

More bun recipes

Austrian breakfast specialty, Buchteln, are filled with jam and baked snuggled up together. Perfect for sharing.

Cinnamon honey buns, glazed with butter and honey and made from sourdough are absolutely epic. No wonder they serve as currency in some prisons!

Swedish feast of St Lucia is celebrated in December with delightful saffron buns aka lussebullar.

More marzipan confection recipes

My beloved Christmas bake is traditional butter Stollen – with fruit, nuts and marzipan of course.

Make sure your marzipan production has plenty of leftovers, to make marzipan truffles coated in chocolate.

And there’s this wonderful marzipan loaf cake you can make if there is still a crumb or two of marzipan left.

Marzipan buns

Servings: 16 bunsTime: 3 hours 15 minutes


  • For the marzipan filling:
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • For the starter dough:
  • 185g strong white flour
  • 7g fast-action or 30g fresh yeast
  • 150ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • For the main dough:
  • 185g strong white flour
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 40ml milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • beaten egg for brushing and glazing


1. To make the marzipan, put the ground almonds, icing sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Mix with a spatula, gradually adding the lemon juice, until the marzipan is smooth with a doughy consistency. Form a ball or a long sausage shape on a surface liberally dusted with icing sugar, wrap in cling film and refrigerate.

marzipan sticks

2. For the dough, mix all the ingredients for the starter in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour in a warm place. In the meantime grind the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar and mix with the other spices.

3. Add the spice mix to the starter dough together with all the ingredients for the main dough except for the butter. Add a pinch of salt, then mix with your hands or in a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment for about 2 minutes.

4. Add half the butter and knead or mix for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the butter. Knead for about 10 minutes, until all the butter is incorporated and the dough is beginning to look silky smooth, stops sticking to your hands or bounces off the sides of the standing mixer bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean sheet of cling film and set aside to rise for 1 hour, punching it once to degas halfway through the time.

risen bun dough

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 16 pieces, about 50g each. Shape them into small balls and flatten on the work surface. Place a chunk of marzipan on each round, brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg and roll tightly around the marzipan, making sure it’s well sealed (you can brush with more egg to be sure).

filling buns with marzipan

6. Place the buns in muffin or bun tins, seam side down. Cover with a tea towel or place in an inflated plastic bag (just blow into it and tie the end!). Leave them to prove in a warm place for about ½ hour while you preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

baked marzipan buns

7. Brush the buns with the remaining egg mixed with a couple of tablespoons of water and bake for 15 minutes until glossy browned. Cool the buns in the tin for a few minutes, then remove onto a wire rack and dust lightly with icing sugar.

Originally published: Sat, 20 February, 2016

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Your comments

Thank you again :) Excited to try them out!
7 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Absolutely: thick jam, Nutella, raisins or chopped nuts for instance.
7 months ago
I see, thank you for the reply! Would this recipe also work with other fillings?
7 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Melisa - it certainly would though it'll be difficult to measure out half an egg yolk. You could bake the whole batch and freeze half of them perhaps?
7 months ago
Hello! The recipe seems exciting but I was wondering if it would still work if I halved the amount. Thank you!
7 months ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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