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Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

Updated: May 13, 2020

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

Soft and fluffy rolls filled with sweet/sour rhubarb, spiced with cardamom and topped up with buttery and crunchy streusel.

Cardamom is added to the main dough. This earthy spice pairs really well with rhubarb. On top of that, cardamom does not compromise the texture of buttery dough (like, for example, cinnamon or nutmeg) and helps to smooth digestion of yeasted buns.

Rhubarb filling is cooked for few minutes, lightly spiced with cardamom and scented with vanilla. Streusel is cookie-like, crunchy and buttery. All in all - a well rounded sweet roll!

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

In Poland these rolls are called ‘drozdzowki’. Every good bakery would offer a variant of these, with different seasonal fruit, cream cheese or streusel and lemon or vanilla icing. So, today we are sharing one of our favourite combinations - rhubarb, cardamom and buttery streusel topping.

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

For a good bake:

  • Proof the yeast - whether you are using fresh yeast (yeast cake) or active dry yeast, start your baking right by activating the yeast. We are using here a specific way of yeast proofing. Sugar is melted and heated up with milk, water and small amount of flour, then yeast is added and set aside to proof. This little sugar bomb will energise the yeast from the get-go. After 15 minutes the mixture should become bubbly. If it doesn’t - the temperature was too high/too low or check BBE date on yeast.

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

  • Fluffy texture - there are few things in these buns which contribute to light texture. Extra egg yolk adds to the softness of the dough. We are adding only small amount of butter to these, together with small amount of olive oil. To achieve fluffy texture, which will not turn rock-hard few hours after baking, kneading and butter/oil incorporation is done in turns. Main dough is kneaded for few minutes and then left to rest for 30 minutes. Then, pliable butter is incorporated in 3 turns and olive oil is added at the end of mixing. This type of intermittent kneading helps the dough to relax in-between as well as contributes to soft texture and full gluten development.

  • Proof - try to keep the dough in warm place (23-26C). In first proof it should double in size (about 1hr - 1hr15min; if it triples - you pushed it too far). Give shaped rolls enough time in the second proof. The edges should visibly puff up.

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

  • Streusel - don’t go overboard covering your rolls with streusel - try to keep the middle light and place more topping on edges. Bake time needs to be short (for rolls not to dry out too much), if you place too much streusel on top - it will soak into fruit and won’t bake properly.

  • Bake time, no sneaky peeking - preheat the oven well and bake at 180C (160C) for 18-20 minutes. Don’t open the oven during baking.

On our Instagram @brunibakery you can find a short video showing how to shape these rolls.

You can also watch quick demo on how to shape these rolls on our YouTube Channel. Here is direct link to the shaping technique used in this bake.

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls recipe

Yield: 8 large or 10 smaller rolls

Time: 15min prep + 30min (1st rest) + 7min prep (butter/olive) + 1hr 15min (2nd rest) + 10min (shape) + 25-40min (final proof) +18-20min baking

Tin: large baking tray


For yeast proofing:

  • 130ml milk

  • 100ml water

  • 2 Tbsps (20g) all-purpose flour

  • 4 Tbsps (60g) sugar

  • 25g fresh active yeast or 7g (1 pack) active dry yeast

Main dough:

  • 450g all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 tsp coarse sea salt

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

  • 3-4 drops vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk, room temperature

  • 60g unsalted butter, pliable and chopped into 1cm squares

  • 15g (3 tsps) olive oil (or sunflower or canola oil)

Rhubarb Filling:

  • 400g rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1cm pieces

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1 Tbsp (10g) cornflour or tapioca (or potato starch)

  • 75g brown sugar (light brown or demerara)

  • 25g salted butter (or unsalted with a pinch of salt)

  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg white (leftover) mixed with 1 tsp milk

Streusel topping:

  • 125g all-purpose flour

  • 125g icing/confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

  • 125g unsalted butter, pliable


  1. Proof yeast: In a medium pot mix milk, water, flour, sugar and heat up to 40C. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Take off the heat and stir in the yeast. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. After that time the mixture should become bubbly and foamy. If it’s not - the temperature might have been too low/too high, or check BBE date on yeast.

  2. Prepare rhubarb filling: Mix chopped rhubarb with cardamom, cornflour and sugar. On a frying pan bring butter to sizzle, place rhubarb and fry on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end, add vanilla bean paste (or extract), mix briefly and set aside to cool down fully.

  3. Prepare the dough: In your main mixing bowl, mix flour, sea salt, cardamom. Add proofed yeast, vanilla extract, 1 large egg, 1 egg yolk and knead for 5 minutes until stiff dough forms (low-medium speed, dough hook attachment if using stand mixer). Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. When ready, add butter (slowly) - in 3 turns, kneading for 2 minutes in-between additions. When butter is incorporated (5-6 minutes, kneading at medium speed), add olive oil and knead for 1-2 more minutes. Cover the dough and let rest for 1hr - 1hr 15min. The dough should double in size (if it triples - you pushed it too far).

  4. Prepare streusel: Mix flour with icing sugar, coarse salt. Grate pliable butter into the mix and using your finger tips and palms of your hands work it into flour mixture until crumbly texture forms. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  5. Shape: When the dough is ready, knead for few seconds to de-gas. Divide into 8 (or 10 smaller) parts. Form each piece into a rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that the top is smooth. Place the ball seam side down and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round. Place shaped rolls on the baking tray, seam side down (4 large rolls, 5 smaller, per tray). Using glass, press to shape the circle in the middle for the rhubarb filling - press all the way to the bottom (extend the space by hands if needs be). Fill with cooled rhubarb filling, cover and let rest in warm place (23-26C) for 25-40min (edges should become visibly puffy). In a meantime, preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced).

  6. Bake: When ready to bake, brush edges with egg wash and sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 180C (160C fan forced). No sneaky peeking when buns are baking.

Storage: store wrapped in clean kitchen towel, at room temperature. Enjoy within 2 days.

Rhubarb and Cardamom Rolls

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