CTV Recipes

All Recipes
Clear all
Dietary Concerns
More Options

Search Recipes

Anna Olson's Carrot Cake Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon buns are always a treat, and these are “next level” thanks to their carrot cake inspiration.  Grated carrot is added to the yeast dough, the filling contains raisins and walnuts and of course, each is smeared with a luscious cream cheese frosting. Heavenly!



Makes 12 sticky buns
Prep time: 35 minutes, plus rising
Cook time: 35 minutes



3  2/3 cups (550 g) all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups (375 g) coarsely grated carrots
5 Tbsp (62 g) packed light brown sugar
2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) instant dry yeast
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
¼ cup (60 mL) hot water (hot from the tap)
1 large egg at room temperature
2 Tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter at room temperature


1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
½ cup (75 g) raisins
½ cup (100 g) walnut pieces

Cream Cheese Frosting:

½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups (195 g) icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (15 mL) 2% milk
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese, softened


  1. Measure the flour, carrots, brown sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix briefly to combine. Stir the buttermilk, hot water, and egg together and add this to the flour along with the butter. Mix on low speed to combine everything and then increase the speed 1-2 steps to knead the dough, until stretchy and elastic.  The dough will stick a little to the bowl, but if very sticky (carrots can be unpredictably moist or dry), add a little extra flour – the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but stick at the bottom.
  2. Scrape the dough into an ungreased bowl, cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
  3. For the filling, stir the butter and brown sugar together. Stir in the maple syrup and cinnamon. Grease a 9-x-13-inch rectangular baking pan.

    On a generously floured work surface, turn out the dough.  Flour the surface of the dough and roll it out to a rectangle about 20-x-12 inches.  Spread the filling over the surface of the dough and sprinkle it with raisins and walnut pieces.  Roll up the dough from a long side, slice into 12 buns and arrange in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a tea towel and let the buns rise for 45 minutes (see note below for preparing this a day ahead).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Uncover and bake the buns for about 35 minutes, until the tops have browned. Cool the buns for about 15 minutes before topping with frosting, or the buns can cool completely.
  5. For the frosting, beat the butter by hand and add about half of the icing sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in the milk and vanilla and then beat in the remaining icing sugar.  Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  6. Smear or spread the cream cheese frosting onto each bun and serve the day you bake them.


Make-ahead tip: You can make and assemble these cinnamon buns a day ahead of when you plan on baking and serving them.  Prepare the recipe to Step 4, assembling and placing them into the pan.  Wrap the pan and immediately chill the unbaked buns overnight. The next morning, pull the pan from the fridge and let them sit out for 90 minutes before baking as above.

Candied Carrot Garnish

Yes, you can candy carrots! These spaghetti-like ribbons of carrot can be used to top a classic carrot cake or my carrot cake cinnamon buns.

Makes about 1 ½ cups
Prep time: Under 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes

1 large carrot, peeled
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (125 mL) water

  1. Use a spiralizer to make carrot “spaghetti”. Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice* to a full simmer over medium-high heat, then add the carrot. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the carrot in the syrup for about 8 minutes, until tender. Drain the syrup and chill the candied carrot until ready to use.


*You can add lemon peel or ginger slices to add flavour to the carrot if you wish





Follow Anna Olson: