Iced Buns, Iced Finger or Sticky Willies, call them what you will.

Photo 9-11-15, 6 28 05 PM

If you grew up in the UK you will know these ready delights as Iced Buns, Iced Finger or Sticky Willies.

Yes, sticky willies, a friend nearly spat her cocktail everywhere hearing that name, she grew up in a much posher place than me. Sticky Willies is what I knew them as. I remember the dinner ladies rolling out a trolley into the playground full of baking and buying a Sticky Willie for 10p. I always ate the bottom bread layer, leaving just enough bread to support the icing and then ate the last marvellous bit.

I miss Sticky Willies and New Zealand doesn’t seem to have them. There are iced finger buns but they don’t have the right icing or taste. It has taken me a few years and few attempts to get the right recipe to make me smile. I used my bread maker on the dough setting. I am sure you can work out how you could do the recipe by hand.

When they rise in the oven you do want them to touch just in the middle. When you part them they have a lovely exposed bread  bit in the middle.

Photo 8-11-15, 6 36 12 PM

The recipe is adapted from Annabel Langbein’s Sticky Bun recipe which I halved and added an egg to.

Sticky Willies -


1 cup warm milk (microwave it for a minute)

2 tsp dry yeast granules

90g melted but not hot butter

1 egg lightly whisked

3 cups high-grade/bread flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

For Breadmaker– add liquid first (Check you bread maker instructions). Set on the dough setting and let it do the work.

Kneading by mixer

Add yeast to warm milk, stir and leave until gets slightly frothy

Add butter and egg to milk mix

Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of the mixer (with a kneading hook) and give a quick pulse to mix

Slowly add liquid to flour and knead for 5-8 minutes.

You will see it come together and form a nice ball.

When this is springy and looks like a dough allow to rest in a lightly oiled bowl until doubled in size.


Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Break into roughly 10 pieces, each piece weighing 90g.

Roll each piece into a ball and then a sausage shape.

Make sure each sausage is the same length and width.

Place on a greased baking sheet with a gap of 3 cm between them.

Leave to rise covered with a clean damp tea towel for 20-30 mins.

Heat oven to 200

Bake for 10-15 minutes .

Allow to cool on a wire rack.


2 c icing sugar

1/3 c just boiled water

Slowly add the water to the icing sugar, you may need more water but you do want a thick icing.

In your hand hold a bun vertically and starting at the top spoon a dessert spoon of icing down the centre of the bun.

Place on a wire rack to dry the icing.

Continue until you have iced all of the Willies!

One thought on “Iced Buns, Iced Finger or Sticky Willies, call them what you will.

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