How to bake Swedish Semlor Buns

How to bake Swedish Semlor Buns

By alicia gilbert

How to bake Swedish Semlor Buns

Semlor buns are a tasty Scandinavian tradition, usually eaten around and on Shrove Tuesday and they mark the arrival of Lent in Scandinavia . Also known as (fastelavensboller) in Norway and Denmark and semla, single (semlor) plural, in Sweden. Because Swedes are said to eat many semlor buns, shop bought and home baked, this day has become known as Fat Tuesday! In Iceland it’s known as Bursting Day! The best bit about Fat Tuesday, other than the name obviously, is the recipe that goes along with it. Semlor, a cardamon flavoured bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. It sounds incredibly simple but the sum is so much more than its parts, we have a big soft spot for this bun. 


 If you want to try these tasty Scandi buns before, here is the recipe from the Scandilicious cookbook to try, it’s from the book with the cherry’s on the cover above.

Makes 14

25g fresh yeast or dried equivalent, see this link to the yeast converter

375ml lukewarm whole milk                                                                                                 1 medium egg beaten ( plus additional beaten egg to glaze)

50g butter, melted and slightly cooled                                                                                FILLING

500g refined spelt ( or plain) flour                                                                                       300 ml whipping cream

1 tsp ground cardamon                                                                                                           1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp caster sugar                                                                                                                   2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp salt                                                                                                                                     100g marzipan, more if preferred

Dissolve the yeast if using fresh in luke warm water in a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir through. Sift the flour, cardamon, sugar and salt together in a large bowl and then stir the milk mixture and one beaten egg in with a large spoon until you get a sticky dough.

Turn the dough on to a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until it starts to feel smooth and elastic. You may want to use a dough scraper during the early stages of kneading. Put the kneaded dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and put in a warm place to rise. Leave it for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.

Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and punch once or twice to knock it back. Knead into a log, then slice into 14 pieces of roughly equal size. Shape these into alls and carefully place them on parchment paper on a large baking tray. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove and double in size again ( 20 – 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 180 C fan/ gas mark 6 while the buns are proving. Once they have risen, lightly glaze each bun with a little beaten egg and bake on the upper shelf of the oven for 20 / 25 minutes.

Allow to cool on a wire rack while you lightly whip the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the marzipan in 30 – 40 thin slices – maybe with a clean cheese slice or sharp knife. Slice the cooled buns in half and place 2 -3 slices on each bottom half. Spoon or pipe a generous helping of cream on to the marzipan, carefully place the bun lid on top and dust lightly with icing sugar. Serve piled high on a plate. Eating must involve lots of messy cream on your face and fingers!!!

They should look something like this:

semlor bun

Image from blog

The uncut unfilled buns can be kept in an airtight container for a couple of days or freeze for a later date, if you can resist them!


Watch this u tube video on how to make them too...


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Other recipes from the Scandilicious cooking book with the cherry cover this recipe came from contains:

Breakfast section from compotes, Scandi porridges, bakes. Brunch: soups, pancakes, cinnamon an chestnut bread, smoked salmon tartare, Jarlesberg and fennel muffins to name a few.

Lunch: Classic herring, special bread recipes, nordic club sandwich and many salads and more.

Afternoon cake :  from spiced blueberry juice Danish coconut dream cake, blackberry, almond, cardamon cake and Semlor for starters.

Dinner: beetroot and ginger soup, baked trout, Norwegian meatballs, spiced lingonberry cabbage and many more tasty meals.

The final desserts: 18 recipes from, iced nordic berries with white chocolate and cardamon sauce, Valhalla brownies, Finnish strawberry snow and lots of mouthwatering delights to try!

If you love the Scandinavian way of life and food take a look at our otherScandinavian books available, below.

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