Vegan rhubarb and ginger buns

Vegan rhubarb and ginger buns

vegan rhubarb ginger buns close up

Hello strangers! You won’t believe how happy I am to be able to finally bring you a brand new recipe, after almost 2 weeks of battling the dreaded virus! And before you ask, I have not been tested as there are no tests available to the general public here in the UK, but I am 99% sure that was it. It is also just as contagious as you would expect from something capable of wiping the entire world out – Duncan got it too despite us taking all the necessary precautions. However, I am happy to report that we are both well again and taking full advantage of the this glorious spring sunshine by swinging in my favourite hammock, reading, patting our cat and eating a prolific amount of sweet baked goods 😛 .

The trouble with the lockdown, apart from the obvious, is that it really isn’t that good for your waistline. I don’t know about you but I feel compelled to bake all the time and due to the nature of my job our house is constantly crammed with baked goods of all sorts. It made me realise how grateful I am to Duncan’s workmates who tended to help us eat through all the stuff my sugar obsessed brain comes up with. I really miss being able to give things away.

Today’s recipe is not a traditional hot cross bun or a cinnamon bun, but still very Easter-worthy, in my opinion. I made a bunch of swirly buns, jam-packed with deliciously tart pink rhubarb and sweet stem ginger. They are sweet, tart and lightly spiced at the same time, really fruity and fresh and crowned with a fluorescent pink rhubarb icing. I happen to think that it’s a perfect Spring bun and I hope you will too!

What inspired me to create these is the ludicrously pink forced rhubarb that appears to be sitting idle on my local shop’s shelves. While people are going crazy for pasta, rice and flour, no one seems to be bothered much about rhubarb so I had to pounce on it and make something with it before the season comes to an end.

What I love about these (apart from the taste, of course) is their gorgeous, almost too good to be true, colour. It is kind of funny as I have always been the kind of girl who hates pink, ever since I was little. It could be that because being male and tough definitely had more of a currency in my house and since I certainly wasn’t tough, I decided, early on, that pink is too girly and I hate it. I hated it for years despite all my girl friends going crazy for it. It used to annoy me when manufacturers would insist on making female versions of products (including things like running shoes and watches) exclusively pink. It still does, to be honest and I sometimes tend to buy the male version instead but I am slowly getting less combative about that colour in general. I would not go as far as wearing it, that’s for sure, but I do embrace it in nature, art, interior design. And I certainly embrace it in these buns as it makes them uniquely beautiful and an object of envy among all the sad brown cinnamon buns out there 😉 .

vegan rhubarb ginger buns rhubarb

vegan rhubarb ginger buns ingredients

vegan rhubarb ginger buns unglazed

vegan rhubarb ginger buns glazed

vegan rhubarb ginger buns glazing

makes
9-12
PREP
45 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
9-12
PREPARATION
45 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
BUNS

  • 500 g / 4 cups all purpose wheat flour (if you live in Europe, use 550 type flour)
  • 50 g / ¼ cup caster sugar or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 7 g / 2¼ oz instant / fast-action dried yeast*
  • approx. 285 ml / 1 cup + 3 tbsp warm plant milk (I used soy milk)
  • 25 g / 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional but highly recommended)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup / sugar + 2 tsp plant milk for glazing

BUN FILLING

GLAZE + (optional) ICING

METHOD
BUNS

  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl. If using maple syrup do not add it yet.
  2. Stir in warmed up plant milk. If using maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), use 60 ml / ¼ cup less plant milk and add maple syrup to the milk before adding to the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir everything together with a large wooden spoon. You may need to add a tablespoon or so more milk if the mixture is too dry to stick together roughly at this point but do so very gradually. When the mixture has mostly stuck together turn the mixture out on to a work surface or bread board.
  4. Knead the mixture by holding one end of the dough in one hand and stretching it out with the other hand. You then reform the dough, turn it 90 degrees and start again. Halfway through the kneading incorporate coconut oil (solid not melted) into the dough. It will make the dough slippery at first, you might think it has been ruined – but it has not, it will make for a richer dough. Keep on kneading and the dough will become elastic and smooth soon. In total the kneading should take about 15 minutes for this amount of dough.
  5. When the dough is smooth, form it into a ball and coat in a thin layer of oil. Place in a large mixing bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave it in a warm place (but not too warm!) until it has doubled in size – about 1 hr. It’s a good idea to take a photo of the dough at the beginning so that you are sure when it has doubled in volume. While the dough is proofing, make the filling (see FILLING section below).
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, empty it out on to a work surface and push the air out with your fingertips.
  7. Roll the dough into a large rectangle that is about 36 cm / 14″ wide. The height depends how swirly you want the buns, the thinner the dough the more swirls and therefore filling your buns will end up with – 40 cm / 15¾” height is what mine was.
  8. Spread a thin layer (you don’t want the buns to end up soggy) of blended rhubarb all over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle evenly (!) with finely chopped candied ginger and raw rhubarb slices making sure they land on their sides for the most part.
  9. Starting from the bottom, roll the dough tightly so that you end up with a 36 cm / 14″ long “dough snake”.
  10. Now, depending on your baking dish, divide the dough into 9 or 12 even (4-3 cm / 1.5 – 1.1″) segments. I find that a square or round dish, like mine, needs 9 and a rectangular one needs 12 pieces. Use a long piece of sewing thread to do the cutting as it does not squash the filling as much as a knife does. Place the thread under the snake and overlap the thread on the top of the snake where you want the cut to be, pull tight to cut.
  11. Place the segments, swirls face up, on a lightly oiled baking dish, leaving 1-2 cm between each bun. If you can fill the baking tray, this is ideal.
  12. Leave the buns (covered with a kitchen towel) to prove again for another hour. Toward the end of this time, preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F.
  13. Brush the buns with the maple syrup + plant milk glaze and bake them for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Cover the top with a piece of kitchen foil if you find that they are browning too quickly.
  14. While the buns are baking, create the icing by combining a tablespoon or so of the rhubarb puree with icing sugar and mixing really well. Adding more rhubarb puree will make the icing pinker but it will set a little looser.
  15. Take the buns out of the oven when they are lovely and golden, and brush them with maple syrup (or sugar syrup) while they are still hot.
  16. Once they are cool, drizzle the rhubarb icing on top.

BUN FILLING

  1. Heat up the oven to 200º C / 390º F.
  2. Divide all your rhubarb into thirds. Cut one third of the rhubarb into very thin slices – they will be folded into the dough so they need to be thin to cook through as the buns bake. Cut the rest into 1″ / 2 cm long segments.
  3. Toss the rhubarb segments in sugar (maple syrup or ginger stem syrup!) and bake until soft, it will take about 10 minutes (depending on the thickness).
  4. Transfer to a blender and blend until super smooth. Set aside.

NOTES
*If you don’t have instant yeast, make sure to activate it first according to the instructions on the packet, using a portion of the ingredients (sugar, plant milk) allocated in the recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
273
14%
sugars
18 g
20%
fats
3 g
5%
saturates
2 g
10%
proteins
6 g
11%
carbs
56 g
21%
*per bun
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5.0
10 reviews, 26 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Stacy:
Garden rhubarb is ready for harvest and when I looked for a recipe that was not a crisp, this one looked amazing.
Rhubarb spread, diced rhubarb and rhubarb icing give ithe swirls the tart flavor we love. We would forego the candied ginger next time and add a little more salt. I used fresh. Ginger in the rhubarb sauce and that was enough for us.
These are moist, spicy, sweet and tart.
We made them before starting on a trip and enjoyed them at the airport before our morning flight! They travel so well!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Stacy, I'm so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed these! x Ania
Olivia:
Fab recipe, and so easily adaptable! I made these last year and combined them with a different recipe using sourdough, which worked a treat. This year, I managed to get hold of the bright pink rhubarb for that zingy pink drizzle and it looks so stunning! Such a yummy bake and so easy. I'll definitely be making these again soon.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind feedback, Olivia! I'm delighted you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Tash:
So delicious!! I often find vegan baking quite difficult but this recipe was easy to follow - the perfect sweetness and relaxing to make!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you so much, Tash. What a compliment - you made my day! x Ania
Sara:
Has anyone tried making these with frozen rhubarb?
Giada Giuntoli:
They're my go-to recipe :P I also made a babka with cocoa and dates filling. Give it a go :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Giada! I'm delighted to hear that and funnily enough, chocolate babka is already on my to-do list :) Ania
Giada Giuntoli:
Hi Ania, these buns look amazing!
Can I ask you what the difference between this dough and the one that you used for your (amaaaazing) sugar-free cinnamon rolls is?
Thanks, Giada
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Giada,
    The main difference is that this one is a bit sweeter (to contrast with rhubarb) and softer as I used all purpose flour, plus enriched it with a bit of coconut oil (you could use vegan butter) for extra indulgence. I'm so happy to hear that you enjoy my date cinnamon rolls, thank you. Ania
Kirsten:
I can report back and say that it worked really well! I put them in the fridge before the second rising and covered them in cling film. They rose nicely in the fridge overnight. Definitely a trick I’ll use again.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! I'm delighted to hear that - I think I saw them on Instagram and they looked on point. Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed them, Kirsten! Ania
Kirsten:
Quick question, do you think it would be possible to do the dough the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight before baking? I would like to make it for my family tomorrow, but with the proofing, it would mean I’d have to get up way too early!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kirsten,
    I have not tried doing that in this case, but that's how I tend to make my pizza dough and it's really fluffy and delicious so I am guessing that it should work fine. Good luck! Ania
Dominika:
These look incredible!! However, I'm entirely gluten free so I was wondering if you have any recommendations on how to make them gluten free (I try to stay away from the gluten free flour blends as well as they make me feel off)? Thanks in advance, love your blog!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dominika,
    It is not difficult to make gluten-free cakes but gluten-free pastries are very tricky as they rely on good gluten activation for their texture. I think this would not be easy to replicate without gluten, I'm afraid. Sorry I cannot be of help and thank you for your kind words about my blog - so nice to hear! x Ania
Verena:
I'm sorry to hear you and Duncan came down with the virus, and relieved to read that you both recovered (I don't know you, I don't want to sound like a stalker, I just happen to love your blog haha!) :)
These buns looks gorgeous, I'd love to try them once I can share them with friends and family again, but I've only ever found green rhubarb (even when it's pink on the outside), I never understood how it could have such a pretty pink color in all the recipes I find on the Internet!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Verena - that's really sweet of you, thank you! We are not over it yet unfortunately, but we are getting there, I hope. The pink rhubarb is a specific type of rhubarb that is grown in the dark in order to 'force' its beautiful colour. It is in fact called 'forced rhubarb' and it is grown exclusively in Yorkshire in the UK. Hope that helps! x Ania
Darya:
Hello! Thank you for the recipe! But can i do it without yeast? Or maybe substitute?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Darya,
    You may get away with a combination of baking powder + baking soda, but I have not tried that so I am just guessing at this point. If I were you I would try on a small batch (1 cup of flour) first so as not to waste ingredients if things don't go to plan. Hope that helps! x Ania
Cathy:
This looks lovely, can't wait to try. So sorry you were sick, thankful you are better now!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Cathy! I hope you'll enjoy these. Ania
Catriona:
Oops...forgot to leave stars...
Catriona:
Ania,
I have followed your lovely blog for a long time, and wondered if you were OK after an unprecedented gap. So glad you are both better.
We have rhubarb in our garden...and will be making these today...look completely irresistable.
Keep well everyone.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much Catriona. Yes, we both got sick with it (first me, then my husband) and it took me 2 weeks to feel like myself again so decided to take my time before I throw myself into work again. Thank you for sticking around and I hope you'll enjoy my buns :) Ania
Ghulam Mohyudin:
Good to know that works too! I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.
    Ania
    Ania:
    I will, thank you! Ania
Sally:
Well done you two.. back from the other side! How’s the sitting room going? Have you had to put the sofa and rug on hold?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Sally. It was not pleasant while it lasted but we are glad to have it behind us especially seeing how the situation is far from contained here in the UK. Unfortunately, our sofa delivery got cancelled just 2 days prior to the delivery date due to the lockdown so we will have to wait a little bit longer. Oh well, good job be are quite adaptable and used to our deckchair + laptop arrangement :) Hope you are staying safe and keeping your spirits up. x Ania
Susan:
This sounds like a delightful combination, I love rhubarb and feel it is often an overlooked friend.
I am really glad you are both feeling better, that must have been terrible. <3
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Susan. Yes, it wasn't pleasant but we are glad to be through it. Stay safe. Ania
Deselby:
It looks a bit too complicated for me, but my oh my, is that a beautiful dish!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for your kind words, Deselby. If you find it too complicated, perhaps skip making the filling and sprinkle the dough with sugar and (twice as much) thinnly sliced raw rhubarb and make a simple lemon icing? It will also be very nice. Ania
Haley:
This recipe looks amazing, and I'm very excited to try it. I was wondering if I could use freshly grated
or chopped ginger instead of ginger stem in syrup for this?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Haley,
    Stem ginger is less potent than fresh ginger so I would say that your best bet is to add grated ginger to the rhubarb puree and adjust it to your taste. If you sprinkle it directly on the dough, the chances are that it will be way too strong in flavour. Hope this helps and that you'll enjoy these. Ania
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