Zesty Lemon Cream Rolls with Tangzhong Pastry and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Zesty Lemon Cream Rolls with Tangzhong Pastry and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Experience a burst of citrus deliciousness with these Zesty Lemon Custard Rolls, made with soft and fluffy tangzhong dough. Each roll is filled with a luscious lemon-sugar mixture and topped with a creamy lemon cream cheese frosting. The tangy lemon curd adds an extra layer of flavor, making these rolls a perfect treat for any occasion.


Why you'll love it: These buns combine the soft, chewy texture of tangzhong dough with the bright, tangy flavors of lemon. Lemon sugar topping and lemon curd create a delicious burst of citrus in every bite. Cream cheese frosting, accented with lemon zest, adds a creamy, tangy finish that complements the buns perfectly.

Perfect occasion: These lemon curd rolls are ideal for brunches, holiday breakfasts, or any special gathering where you want to impress your guests with a unique and delicious treat. They are also perfect for afternoon tea or as a delicious dessert.

Decorating Tips: For a beautiful presentation, garnish the rolls with extra lemon zest or a drizzle of lemon glaze. You can also garnish with fresh lemon slices or edible flowers for a festive touch.


For Tangzhong:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup water
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For the dough:

  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • Tangzhong seen from above
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the lemon-sugar garnish:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon curd

For the lemon cream cheese frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 ounces cold cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • Additional lemon curd for garnish


  1. Prepare the Tangzhong:
    • Whisk the flour and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to form a roux, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Prepare the dough:
    • In a mixing bowl, rub the lemon zest with the sugar until it resembles wet sand. Whisk together the flour, lemon sugar, baking powder and salt.
    • Add the heavy cream, milk, egg and tangzhong. Knead on low speed with the dough hook for 2 minutes until a rough ball of dough forms.
    • Gradually add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, letting it fully incorporate before adding more. Continue to knead for 11 to 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
    • Form the dough into a ball and place it, seam side down, in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare the lemon-sugar garnish:
    • Mix butter, brown sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Assemble the rolls:
    • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15×21-inch rectangle. Spread the lemon-sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a clean 1-inch border at the top. Spread the lemon cream on top.
    • Cut the dough into twelve 1 3/4-inch strips using a pizza cutter. Roll each strip and place in a 9×13-inch baking dish lined with parchment or buttered paper.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C).
  5. Bake the buns:
    • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
  6. Prepare the frosting:
    • In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy, then add the lemon zest and heavy cream.
  7. Complete the rolls:
    • Let the buns cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Spread cream cheese frosting on warm buns and top with additional lemon curd. Serve hot.

Enjoy these Zesty Lemon Buns with Tangzhong Dough and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, a perfect blend of soft dough, zesty filling and creamy frosting that will delight your taste buds!

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