My kids wanted Coconut Cream Buns. They love whipped cream and bread, so I thought I would recreate this bakery classic using cream rather than the butter-based filling that is common in recipes online.
WHAT ARE COCONUT CREAM BUNS?
The name is a little bit misleading. They’re a Chinese bakery classic — starting off with a sweet, light and fluffy bun, matted with shredded coconut and stuffed with sweetened whipped cream.
Some of the ones I’ve seen in bakeries don’t even have cream in it, so it’s a little bit of a misnomer.
NOT THE SAME AS COCKTAIL BUNS
You might be wondering if these are the same as Chinese Coconut Cocktail Buns (雞尾包) “gei mei bao,” which are also sweet buns that have an enclosed filling of shredded coconut and butter.
The cocktail buns don’t have whipped cream, and the filling is baked right into the bun.
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CREAM BUNS
- For the dough, we’ll start with a tangzhong, which is simply flour and water. It’s heated and mixed together to increase the dough’s extensibility. This also helps to keep the dough nice and soft for a few days (without the addition of dough conditioners or additives).
- Next, the tangzhong is mixed into the rest of the dough ingredients and left to rise
- Once the dough has risen and shaped, it’s baked
- After baking, we’ll brush sugar glaze onto the buns and dip them in coconut flakes
- Cut the buns vertically (and remove some of the bread if you wish) and pipe with coconut cream
BETTER THAN STORE-BOUGHT
Lightly sweetened coconut-flavoured cream in a soft, coconut-matted bun, these Coconut Cream Buns are pillowy, delicate, and delicious. Perfect for coconut lovers.
These were so legit that my hubby went to a local bakery to grab a coconut cream bun just to compare. Seriously! They tasted way better than the bakery version, and you know exactly what’s in them.
I also made a Matcha Coconut Cream version if you’re into green tea. 😉
If you try this recipe, let me know — tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment below! What’s your favourite Chinese bakery item?
Coconut Cream Buns
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 50 g water
- 10 g bread flour
- 250 g bread flour
- Tangzhong from above
- pinch of salt
- 100 ml warmed whole milk
- 30 g granulated sugar
- 5 g active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 20 g unsalted butter cubed
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp warm water
- ¼ tsp coconut extract
- 3 Tbsp shredded coconut blitz finely
- 1 C heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp coconut extract
Make the Tangzhong:
- Combine the water and bread flour together in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat and cook until a paste forms, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Make the dough:
- In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir and let the yeast get bubbly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the bread flour, tangzhong, salt, and yeast mixture. Turn on the mixer, add in the egg and knead until a rough dough forms. Gradually add in the unsalted butter and keep kneading until the dough is soft and shiny.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm location for it to rise, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen, deflate it and divide into 6 equal balls. Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls into an oval shape. Roll up the oval from the long side to shape into a tapered log. Place the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Place the buns into the oven and bake at 350°F/177°C for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, let cool and brush with sugar glaze (recipe below).
Make sugar glaze:
- Mix together sugar and warm water. Brush the tops of the baked buns with the sugar glaze.
- Place the shredded coconut into a wide, shallow bowl. Dip the sugar-glazed bun into the shredded coconut. Repeat with the remaining buns.
Make cream filling:
- Chill a medium stainless steel or glass bowl and whisk in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to whipping the cream.
- Remove the chilled bowl and whisk from the fridge. Add the cold heavy cream and beat until foamy. Add in the powdered sugar and keep beating until almost stiff peaks. Add in the coconut extract and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
- Carefully cut the buns lengthwise (and if you wish, remove some of the bread inside since it may be too bulky) and pipe in the cream.
- Best served immediately.
Recipe adapted from Siu Kitchen.