Mother’s Day for many is a day of mixed emotions. If your mom is alive and well, and you have had no trouble bearing the children you desired, it may be full of only positive feelings. If your mom is no longer living, if you had/have a complicated relationship with her, if she is entirely absent, if you aren’t yet a mother but wish to be, or if you identify with any of the vast number of reasons this holiday is complicated, I understand, I relate, and I am thinking of you.

For me, it is a day of mixed emotions having lost my own mom to cancer 26 years ago, but loving life as a mom myself. The role of mother is by far my favorite but also the most challenging of the many titles I hold. The season of life I am in right now is so busy that everything feels like a blur, and on this Mother’s Day the thing I wanted most was time at home to just be with my kids and indulge in some cooking and baking projects I haven’t had time for recently.

These strawberry swirl buns have been on my to-make list ever since the moment I saw them in a magazine last spring, and they sounded like the perfect thing to wake up to on Mother’s Day morning and pair with a mimosa. They feature a tender and tangy yeasted cream cheese dough, a filling of roasted strawberries, and lemon cream cheese glaze. I made some adaptations to make this an overnight recipe because no one needs to be starting rolls like this first thing in the morning unless you want to eat them for late lunch or early dinner. I also modified the filling so that it doesn’t require any hard to find ingredients. The final result was simply stellar. I had a blast making them and everyone absolutely loved them. They are a delicious sweet breakfast treat and I know the kids will be requesting them over and over again from here on out.

  • Prep 45 minutes
  • Cook 30 minutes
  • Yield 12 servings


For the dough:

  • 170 grams (¾ cup) milk*
  • 113 grams (½ cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 28 grams (2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp.) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 390 grams (3¼ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 567 grams (1 quart) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 99 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. water

For the glaze:

  • 57 grams (¼ cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 113g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk or cream, plus more as needed


  • 01

    To make the filling, heat the oven to 350˚ F. Combine 3 cups of the quartered berries in a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and toss to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast the berries for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. While these cool, start the dough.

  • 02

    To make the dough, combine the milk, cream cheese, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix briefly to blend. Add in the sugar, egg, yeast, salt, and flour. Knead on low speed until the mixture is evenly combined and forms a smooth, supple dough that is moist but doesn’t stick to your finger when touched. (Measuring by weight will provide the best texture right away without having to fiddle with dry/wet ingredient ratios.)

  • 03

    Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 90-120 minutes.

  • 04

    While the dough is rising, continue to prep the filling. Take the remaining cup of quartered berries and combine with the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, they can be pureed in a blender or food processor.) You won’t use the entire amount but this quantity makes it easier to achieve a smooth texture. Use the leftovers in cocktails or on top of ice cream!

  • 05

    In a medium saucepan, combine the roasted strawberries along with about half of the strawberry puree. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the lemon juice and water. Whisk to form a slurry, then stir this mixture into the saucepan with the berries. Heat the mixture over medium until bubbling and thickened, stirring continuously. Once the mixture has thickened, transfer to a bowl or other container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  • 06

    Once the dough has risen and the filling has chilled sufficiently, it is time to assemble the buns. Generously butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 13 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread the strawberry filling evenly over the dough, leaving about 1 inch near one long end. Start rolling from the opposite long end (with filling), carefully rolling the dough up into a log surrounding the filling. Roll as tightly as possible to avoid large gaps but not so tightly that the filling is displaced. Once the full rectangle is rolled up into the log, pinch the free end of the dough into the log to seal the seam. Use a sharp dough scraper or knife to divide the log into 12 equal segments, arranging them in the prepared baking dish, swirl side up. Cover with plastic wrap or bees wrap and refrigerate overnight, at least 8 hours.

  • 07

    In the morning, remove the buns from the refrigerator and transfer to a warm spot to complete the final rise, about 45-60 minutes. The rolls should be puffy and the dough should bounce back when pressed with a finger.

  • 08

    Heat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes, until the dough is browned and the filling is bubbling. Remove to a wire rack to cool in the pan for several minutes before serving.

  • 09

    To make the glaze, combine the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and milk in a bowl. Mix well until smooth, and adjust the texture as needed with additional milk to thin or sugar to thicken, so that the glaze is thick but easily drizzled over the warm rolls. Glaze as desired, and serve.

  • 10


  • If you don’t have a sufficiently warm spot to proof bread dough (such as an oven with bread proof setting or reliably warm spot in your kitchen), you may want to consider slightly warming the milk before adding it to the dough so that it rises in the time specified. Don’t let it get hotter than 105-110˚ F to avoid killing the yeast.
  • Lemon glaze is delish but other awesome flavors could include vanilla bean, lavender, or cinnamon.