Sweet potato sticky buns

Sweet potato sticky buns

The Potato Cookbook
12 buns

With a layer of caramel and pecans, a cinnamon swirl and a hint of orange in the sweet potato dough, these sticky buns will make you want to lick the plate.


Quantity Ingredient

For the dough

Quantity Ingredient
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm pieces, about 180 grams
125ml full cream milk
55 grams caster sugar, plus 1 teaspoon extra
7 grams dried yeast
450 grams plain flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
125 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the bowl
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon cold water

For the caramel

Quantity Ingredient
125 grams chopped pecans
165 grams unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the pan
125 grams dark brown sugar
170ml thick cream
80ml maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
90 grams chopped pecans
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
95 grams dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Spread 215 grams of pecans (i.e. all the pecans, including for the caramel and the filling) on the tray and roast in the oven until they are lightly golden and smell toasty, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. For the dough put the sweet potato in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium–high heat and boil until very tender, about 12 minutes, testing with the point of a sharp knife. Drain the sweet potato and return them to the saucepan over low heat for 1 minute to ensure any excess water has evaporated. Put the sweet potato through a ricer or mash thoroughly until very smooth.
  4. In a medium saucepan over low heat or in short bursts in the microwave, warm the milk to lukewarm, about 40–42°C. This won’t take long. Stir in 1 teaspoon of caster sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir gently. Set aside until the top of the milk is foamy, about 5–10 minutes.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 55 grams of caster sugar and the sea salt.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs together.
  7. Measure 125 grams of sweet potato into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the melted butter and orange zest and stir until very smooth. Add half of the milk and yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Repeat with the remaining milk and yeast mixture. Add the 2 whisked eggs and stir until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until roughly combined.
  8. If using a stand mixer, insert the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or, turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
  9. Grease a large mixing bowl with butter. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1¼–1½ hours.
  10. To make the caramel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the dark brown sugar, cream, maple syrup and sea salt, and stir until the caramel starts to boil. At this stage the caramel will froth and start to rise in the saucepan. Turn the heat down to medium–low and simmer until dark and glossy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  11. Grease a 33 x 22 x 5 cm baking pan with butter. Pour 1½ cups of the caramel into the baking pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Sprinkle 90 grams of the pecans over the caramel. Set aside the rest of the caramel and 35 grams of pecans.
  12. To make the filling, in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  13. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. It will deflate as you remove it from the bowl. Knead for 1 minute until smooth, then shape the dough into a rough rectangle with your hands. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 40 x 30 cm rectangle with the long side facing you.
  14. Spread the dough with the filling, leaving a 2.5 cm strip along the edge furthest away from you. Sprinkle with 90 grams of pecans. Roll up from the long side closest to you, patting the ends in if necessary. Tuck the seam side of the log underneath and slice into 12 equal slices. Tip each piece, cut side up, onto a work surface and pat back into a circle with your hands. Place the rolls on top of the caramel and pecans in the baking pan, evenly spaced with 3 rolls along the short side of the baking pan and 4 rolls along the long side of the baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place until doubled in size, about 50–60 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  16. Whisk 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of cold water together and brush over the rolls. Bake until the rolls are golden brown and the caramel is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the rolls are browning too quickly. Place the baking pan on a wire rack to cool. After 5 minutes, spoon over the reserved caramel and sprinkle with the reserved pecans.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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