bunner’s bakery | gluten-free and vegan cinnamon buns

It used to be that gluten-free baked goods arrived on a plate with mixed results and an apology. Things have changed dramatically over the past few years and gluten-free is no longer synonymous with bake wrecks. My hands-down favourite Toronto bakery pumping out gluten-free morsels is Bunner’s. I’ve shouted out their praises before, but when someone nails it, hell, I’ll shout again. All of their baking is gluten-free and vegan. And let me just say, even though I’m gluten-free, I was skeptical when it came to eliminating dairy and eggs in baking. You’ve simply got to bite into one of their cinnamon buns or muffins and there are no second thoughts: the results are brilliant. My boys can’t taste the difference and they’ve been well supplied on the baking front over the years!

I now have a copy of the Bunner’s cookbook on my shelf. This is mainly because I’m fixated on their muffins and my wallet can’t take the hit. But also because I knew that one day, I’d succumb to their cinnamon buns as well. Last night, driven by craving and curiosity, I tried the recipe for cinnamon buns. No disappointments. At all. They live up to their bakery counterparts in every way. I chose not to add the frosting, simply because I found them to be perfectly satisfying without. In addition to a cinnamon-sugar filling, these buns have a caramel sauce poured over them. I omitted to make this, using instead the remains of a butterscotch sauce (made with coconut cream) I’d previously made and needed to use up.

A quick word about substitutions. I didn’t have any Sucanat (aka Sugar Cane Natural), so I simply used brown sugar. If you’re not concerned about the vegan aspect of this recipe (although I encourage you to try it, even out of curiosity. I’m not vegan myself.) you can use the following replacements:

Earth Balance Buttery Sticks: substitute with butter
Apple Sauce: substitute with 1 egg
Coconut Milk: substitute with buttermilk or whole milk, and omit apple cider vinegar.





Here’s the recipe as it appears in the book, enjoy!

Bunner's Bakery Gluten-Free/Vegan Cinnamon Buns


  • 3¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon regular active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • ¾ cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (½ stick), melted
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar

  • ¼ cup organic sugar
  • ¼ cup Sucanat
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, melted


  • ¼ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (½ stick), melted
  • ½ cup Sucanat
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¹/₈ teaspoon sea salt

(Optional) Topping: cream cheese frosting

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons canned coconut milk or soy creamer

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have a 9-inch ungreased cake pan ready (the sides should be about 2½ to 3 inches high).

Melt all the butter for the recipe—a total of ½ cup + 1 tablespoon. Set aside.

For the buns: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the yeast to the warm water (it should feel just slightly warmer than the inside of your wrist). Set aside to let the yeast proof—about 10 minutes or until the yeast is frothy and bubbly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, melted butter, applesauce, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Once the yeast has proofed, stir the yeast mixture into the wet ingredients and then add the combined wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir thoroughly with a spatula until a sticky but firm, well-blended dough is achieved.

For the cinnamon sugar: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, Sucanat, and cinnamon. Stir in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside.

For the sauce: In a small bowl or measuring cup (with a spout for easy pouring), combine the remaining ¼ cup melted butter, Sucanat, agave nectar, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.

Grab two big sheets of parchment paper (about 12 inches long). Spray one side of each sheet with canola oil. Turn out the dough onto one of the oiled sheets, then spray the dough with canola oil. Form the dough into a rough rectangular shape. Place the other sheet of parchment paper over top, oiled side down. Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, about 8 × 10 inches. Slowly peel back the top parchment paper and set aside.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the dough and, using your hands, spread it out to cover the dough edge to edge.

Using oiled or wet hands, slowly roll up the dough starting from a shorter side of the rectangle.

Cut the dough roll in half using a sharp knife that has been lightly oiled with canola oil, then cut each half into three rolls. Place the rolls in the cake pan, cut sides up. Pour the prepared sauce evenly over top.

Let the rolls rise for about 10 minutes (don’t worry if nothing drastic happens; gluten-free goodies tend to rise mostly in the oven), then bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are firm and a bit golden and the sauce is bubbly. If the sides of the cake pan aren’t very high, place a baking sheet beneath the cake pan to catch any sauce that bubbles over.

Remove the buns from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then flip the cake pan upside down onto a baking sheet or plate. Using a thin, sharp knife, gently separate the buns. Place them on a serving plate before finishing with cream cheese frosting. Serve with coffee and a smile.