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Fastelavn buns recipe

Fastelavn buns recipe

3 ratings

In Denmark, Fastelavn buns are eaten during the Shrovetide celebration of Fastelavn, the buns are filled with custard and marzipan, then finished with whipped cream and colourful icing. Betina Skovbro, owner of Brød bakery and coffee shop says: "People queue for hours at bakeries to buy them. On the day, children play a game where a barrel is filled with sweets and painted with a black cat, and they take turns to hit the barrel. Whoever knocks out the base of the barrel is called the Cat Queen, and whoever knocks down the last piece of the barrel is known as the Cat King.’" See method

  • Makes 12 buns
  • Takes 1 hr 10 mins plus proving and cooling
  • 504 calories / serving


  • 180ml whole milk
  • 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 1 medium egg, at room temperature
  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g caster sugar

For the custard filling

  • 180ml whole milk, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 medium egg
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 10g cornflour
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g golden marzipan, diced 1cm

To decorate

  • whipped cream, to serve (optional)
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 5-10 drops each pink, yellow and orange gel food colouring
  • 1 tsp colourful sprinkles

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    20g 29%
  • Saturates

    12g 58%
  • Sugars

    42g 47%
  • Salt

    0.1g 1%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 77g Protein 7.5g Fibre 1.5g


  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over a low heat for about 1 min or until just lukewarm (no hotter than 40°C). Whisk in the yeast, then the egg.
  2. Put the flour, butter, sugar and 1 tsp fine salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to bring together, then gradually add the warm milk mixture to make a shaggy dough. Knead in the bowl for 1-2 mins to bring together, then transfer to a clean surface and knead for 10-15 mins until elastic, very soft and no longer sticky. Transfer to a clean, greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk the 180ml milk, egg and 30g sugar in a small saucepan, then add the cornflour and vanilla, and whisk until completely smooth. Heat over a low-medium heat for 3-5 mins, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t catch, until thickened. Remove from the heat, whisk again, then cover with clingfilm so it touches the surface of the custard. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Blitz the butter, remaining 50g sugar and the marzipan in a food processor until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Knock back the risen dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Split into 3 equal pieces then roll out each to a 25cm square, lightly dusting with more flour as needed. Cut each square into 4 to give 12 smaller squares.
  6. Spoon 1 tbsp cooled custard into the centre of each square, then top with 1 tsp of the marzipan mixture. Fold the corners into the middle to create a parcel, pinching the seams together to enclose the filling. Turn seam-side down and roll gently to make a round and arrange on 2 lined baking sheets. Cover with damp tea towels and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 mins until risen by about 50% (they’ll be about 8cm wide). Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
  7. Brush the buns with the remaining 1 tbsp milk, then bake for 10-12 mins until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Cut open the cooled buns and fill with whipped cream, if you like. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in 3 tbsp water (you may not need it all: the icing should be thick but smooth). Divide between 3 smaller bowls and stir in 5-10 drops food colouring to each one. Spoon 2 tsp icing over each bun, then scatter over the sprinkles.

Tip: Skip step 3 and use ready-made custard. You can also use jam or chocolate spread in place of the marzipan filling.

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