This recipe for raspberry-filled lemon cinnamon rolls is going to be a new favorite way to enjoy this age-old breakfast treat. The best part about this version is that it only makes one pan-full, so there’s no stress about where to store any extras. If you’re in the mood for an elevated and slightly more unique cinnamon roll, then these are the ones to try!
In the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl (if making by hand), combine the milk, butter, sugar, salt, beaten eggs, 2 ¼ cups of flour, and the yeast. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on medium-low until it is shaggy, 2-3 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium speed and continue kneading the dough until it becomes cohesive and starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5-6 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour as needed for a smooth dough. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl and cling to the dough hook.
½ cup whole milk, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, ½ tsp kosher salt, 2 large eggs, 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) instant yeast
Remove the dough from the mixer and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth but still slightly sticky when not being kneaded. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm area until it is doubled in size, 1-1 ½ hours.
Grease a 9-inch cake pan and set it aside.
Once the dough is doubled, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 9 inches by 12 inches. Brush the dough with the melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together the raspberry jam and lemon zest. Spread the mixture over the dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Starting on the long side, begin rolling the dough. Some of the jam may squeeze out. Pinch the seam tightly. Slice the rolled dough into eight cinnamon rolls and arrange them in the prepared cake pan. Cover the rolls and allow them to rise until almost doubled, 45 minutes.
While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Once fully risen, place the rolls in the preheated oven and bake until the tops are deeply golden brown and the center is baked, 20-25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and cool slightly.
While the rolls are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add the butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, salt, and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and adjust the powdered sugar or lemon juice for the correct consistency.
When preparing the dough, make sure that your milk is slightly warm. You can either microwave the milk for a few seconds to bring it up to room temperature or leave it out on the counter for a short period of time. Having milk that is slightly warm will activate the instant yeast and make the overall rising of the dough faster.
Your dough will mix better if you beat the eggs before adding them to the bowl of the stand mixer. While a stand mixer does a good job at mixing, having the eggs already beaten before the mixer even begins to do its job will prevent uneven mixing.
When adding the flour to the dough, make sure to reserve ¼ cup of the stated amount of flour. Doing so will allow you some control over the texture of the dough and ensures that too much dough is not added. It’s best to add less dough to begin with, then have the ability to add additional amounts as needed when you see how the dough is coming together.
The dough is ready to remove from the mixer when it clears the sides of the bowl and is slightly tacky but has a smooth texture. You can then knead it a few times by hand with a bit of flour on your work surface before letting it rise.
To prevent a thin dough, make sure to roll from the inside out. Place your rolling pin in the middle of the dough and push away from yourself. Then reposition it to the center of the dough again and pull back toward yourself. Turn the dough and repeat these steps until the dough has formed a rectangular shape.
For the frosting, if you sift your powdered sugar, you will have a much smoother cream cheese frosting without the potential for pockets of unmixed sugar. It’s an extra step, but it makes for an even better cinnamon roll.