Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemony Cream Cheese Glaze – Contestant #1

I am obsessed with citrus and sticky buns now!  I like lemon sweet things and lemon savory things.  But my two daughters don’t like lemon things.  I thought this was weird until I remembered back to making lemon bars when they were young and one of my daughters said, “It tastes like dishwasher detergent.”  What?!  Then I realized I used Lemon Cascade in my dishwasher.  And I did this many many times since I was always cooking and always doing dishes.  I would squeeze out the lemony goo into the cup on the door, just under the nose of my little girls in the kitchen toddling around.  And now they associate lemon scent with cleaning products and not delicious sweet creations like this.  So sad!  What can you do?   I found another recipe online today while working on this post that might top both of these, so watch out for contestant #3 soon!  But for now…

Meet contestant #1

This recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.  I somehow ended up down a wormhole of Mormon Mom Cooking blogs.  This is one of them.  All these happy young Mormon mom’s cooking away for their kids.  I used to be one of them.  Lots of happy memories of family and food!  I am not a practicing Mormon anymore which is a long story that does not belong on this cooking blog at all!  Even though I retired a few years ago, I still love the idea of food and family!  This recipe sounded like the perfect fluffy Utah Mormon decadent sweet roll that they do so well there in Utah!  They know how to make bread and use sugar!  I like the idea of lemon zest in the dough and the nutmeg in the filling.  And who doesn’t like cream cheese in the frosting!  How can this not be amazing!


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Sorry contestant #1.  These were very good but the winner is contestant #2, the Orange Rolls..until I try out the contestant #3.  Unfortunately, I undercooked these and that problem could not be rectified once the cream cheese frosting was slathered all over the top.  Being so worried about overcooking them led to this error.  Even if I overcooked them a little, there is so much glaze and frosting on both recipes they couldn’t be that bad.  The undercookedness didn’t affect my judgement though as both were undercooked.  These definitely win the prize for beauty though!  The dough was so different that the orange ones.  Much thicker and chewier versus the orange ones being light.  I think the knowledge from my errors applied to the new recipe I found which looks amazing might just turn out the real winner.  We will see…

Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemony Cream Cheese Glaze

You’ll need three lemons for this recipe – you’ll use the zest of all three and the juice from about two of them, depending on how big they are.


3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (I pour the buttermilk in a glass liquid measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute on 50% power) (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups (17.5 to 22.5 ounces) flour
Zest of 1 lemon (about a tablespoon)
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Lemon Filling:
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (about a tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons butter, softened
Lemony Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

For the dough, whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, lemon zest, sugar, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook (or you can use a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon). With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed; if the dough is still very sticky and hasn’t cleared the sides of the bowl yet, add a little flour at a time until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl but is still slightly sticky. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes (knead for 10 or so minutes by hand). See this tutorial for a visual. Don’t over flour the dough or the rolls may be dry – you’re going for a soft, slightly tacky dough that gives when pressed with your fingers but doesn’t leave a lot of doughy residue on your hands.
Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover the top tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 1-2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
For the lemon filling, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub the mixture between your fingers until well combined and fragrant (the smell will kill you with deliciousness). Add the nutmeg and lemon juice and stir until combined.
When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop and press it into about a 16- by 12-inch rectangle (doesn’t have to be perfect).
Spread the softened butter across the dough. Sprinkle the juicy lemon filling mixture over the top and spread as evenly as you can. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Starting with one long end, tightly roll up the dough cinnamon-roll style and pinch the seam to seal. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Place the buns in the prepared pan – three across and four down. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until very puffy so the sides of the buns are touching each other.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the buns and bake for about 20-25 minutes until very lightly golden (don’t over bake or they may be dry).
Let cool slightly before frosting. I like to frost them when they are just a bit warm.
For the frosting, whip the cream cheese and lemon juice together with an electric mixer (I often use my Blendtec blender to whip frosting like this) until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until well-combined.
Spread the glaze (or frosting or whatever you want to call it) evenly over the lemon buns and sprinkle with the fresh lemon zest.