My life these days is a blur of paint buckets, brushes, plaster, and packing. The inkling I had in my last post about the flurry of painting that was in store proved to be correct. And while I made these buns over two weeks ago, I am just now taking a breath to sit down and share them with you. BUT the good news is that the house has never looked better, so all our elbow grease has been well worth it! And I’m choosing to ignore the fact that I wish we would’ve done this years ago so we could’ve enjoyed the improvements for longer. So instead, I’m marinating in the comfort of these profoundly tasty rum and orange sticky buns, and offering them up as a token of apology for my two-week lapse in posting.

Rum and Orange Sticky BunsSo, what makes the buns sticky? The answer is a zesty honey and orange syrup. They soak in it after baking and absorb the delicious flavors, as well as a shiny coating on the outside, to boot! You might also notice a filling in these photos. It’s the flavor-packed gooey center waiting at the end of your pastry roller coaster, and it’s made of medjool dates stewed with rum, orange zest, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and it is one of the most profoundly delicious things I have ever made. Sweet, salty, boozy—it hits every taste note that lights up the human brain. It took all of my willpower not to eat the filling straight and instead scoop it out into the dough. But rest assured, I will be making another batch of just the filling to spread on toast like jam.

Rum and Orange Sticky Buns

The dough can be made the night before and refrigerated overnight, if you’d like. And the filling can be made a few days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, too, if you’re tight on time. I always prefer to prep a bit the day before baking something with a filling, so that the filling is cooled and ready to go and I can just focus more on assembly. But that’s just my type-A personality and low-key anxiety at work, so you do you, my friend. I hope you enjoy these rum and orange sticky buns and that they bring a little sunshine to your spring, even if you’re dealing with showers. And if you want a bit more stickiness in your life, I have these blackberry and creamy goat’s cheese sticky buns from the archives, too! Talk soon, my friend!

Rum and Orange Sticky Buns

5 from 2 votes

Rum and Orange Sticky Buns

Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 people


Rum + Orange + Date Filling

  • Finely grated zest of 1 organic orange
  • 8 ounces dates about 2 cups, pitted and chopped
  • ½ cup golden spiced rum
  • Juice of 1 orange about 1/3 cup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia extract can substitute vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of butter softened and cut into individual tablespoons

Honey Orange Syrup

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons golden spiced rum
  • 1 2- inch strip organic orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice


Rum + Orange + Date Filling

  1. In a small saucepan, add half of the zest and cook with dates, rum, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt over medium heat. Being to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed by the dates and the dates soften to form a thick paste, about 12 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes or so. Remove the mixture from the heat, then add the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla and mix until combined. Allow to cool to room temperature. If making the filling ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. Will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together all the ingredients except the butter together over medium low speed until a crumbly dough forms. Switch to the dough hook attachment, and at low speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Continue mixing at low speed until a smooth dough forms around the hook, about 6 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, it will take about twice as long. Transfer the dough to a large lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 1 hour or until doubled in size. If you’re making the dough ahead of time, you can do an overnight rise instead by just covering the bowl with plastic wrap or beeswrap, and then placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Then continue with the recipe in the morning.
  2. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan and set it aside. After the dough rests, roll it out into a roughly 14 x 18 inch rectangle on a *very* lightly floured surface, then use a rubber spatula to spread half of the filling across the rectangle, leaving 1-inch plain border *without* filing around the edge.
  3. Lay a ruler along the long (18-inch) side of it and make small cuts at every 1.5 inches down the side. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 strips along those 1.5 inch cuts. Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling at one end of the strip, then gently roll the strip up, starting with the filling end, and roll at a very slight angle so that the center is the highest point of the bun. (Do not roll at a sharp angle, otherwise when you proof and bake the buns the tops will be too tall and they will fall over to the side instead of remaining nice and pointed upright).
  4. When you reach the end of the strip, press the empty part against the side gently to stick it in place. Place the bun pointed-side up in the muffin pan and repeat until all of the buns are in the pan. Lightly cover the pan with a greased sheet of plastic wrap and allow to proof for 30 minutes, or until the buns look a little puffy. Towards the end of the proofing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they turn golden.

Honey Orange Syrup + Assembly

  1. While they’re baking, you can prepare the syrup. Bring all the ingredients to a boil except the orange juice. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes, then remove the pot from heat, stir in the orange juice, and set aside. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the buns from the pan and placing them in a casserole pan. Pour the prepared syrup over the buns and allow them to sit soaking in the syrup for 2 hours. I you want to make sure they’re coated in the syrup, you can use pastry brush to dip into the reservoir of syrup in the casserole dish and brush it over the surfaces of the buns. Remove them from the casserole pan and serve.

Rum and Orange Sticky Buns Rum and Orange Sticky Buns Rum and Orange Sticky Buns

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