Pretty and delicious, these Rose-Shaped Sticky Buns (Torte di Rose), are a special treat! Add the optional caramel nut sauce for extra deliciousness.

rose-shaped cinnamon sugar rolls in skillet

In honour of upcoming Valentine’s day, a dozen {sweet} roses! I mean what says “I Love You” more than a dozen sweet and buttery roses covered in a warm, nutty caramel sauce to celebrate Valentine’s, right?

This recipe is my very loose adaptation of a classic Italian rose sweet bread (Torta delle Rose). The classic is traditionally prepared over several days and baked in a tall springform pan with the rolls filled with butter that is whipped with white sugar. I decided I want to do a quicker, more rustic version (read, how can I make this in my skillet?) and change it up a bit. I decided to top it all off with a quick, warm brown sugar, butter and nut sauce after it was baked.

Cook’s Notes

There are a couple of points to pass along should you decide to make this recipe. They are made just like cinnamon/sticky rolls right up until the point you place them into your pan. Before you do, you need to pinch together the bottom of the slice. This serves two purposes – it keeps the butter/sugar filling from escaping out the bottom, and it pushes up and loosens the spiral a bit, making a fun “rose” shape as it bakes.

And speaking of the spiral shape, let me tell you, these rolls have a bit of trouble controlling their enthusiasm when not confined in a large pan, and have a tendency to grow exponentially in the oven. You may even encounter a rogue rose that will unravel itself and pop right out of the top or even right out of the pan. Of course, you’ll have less of a problem if you use a springform pan or at least a pan with higher sides than my skillet. If you use a skillet and you have any escapees, never fear, you can just pop it back in where it belongs and all will be well.

In any event, I strongly recommend placing a baking sheet under whatever pan you use, to catch any escaping butter/sugar mixture or the odd centre of a rose.

One last thing, the dough on these rolls is just lovely – a rich and sweet brioche-like dough. Despite that, they keep remarkably well and were moist and delicious the second day and beyond. And like all breads, these freeze well.

rose-shaped cinnamon sugar rolls in skillet

rose-shaped cinnamon sugar rolls in skillet

Get the Recipe: Easy Rose-Shaped CInnamon Sugar Buns (Torte di Rose)

These rolls are best eaten warm from the oven, but keep well and can be re-heated easily in the microwave. These also freeze well.
5 stars from 1 rating
Prep Time: 2 hrs 25 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 50 mins
Yield: 12 servings


  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp (1 Tbsp) instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup (81.33 ml) milk, slightly warmed
  • 1/3 cup (83.33 ml) water, slightly warmed
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar
  • 2 large (2 large) eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp (59.15 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. (4.93 ml) vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.46 g) salt


  • 2/3 cup (146.67 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.46 g) cinnamon

Optional Caramel Nut Topping:

  • 1/3 cup (73.33 g) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (151.33 g) butter
  • Splash of heavy cream
  • Pinch (Pinch) salt
  • 1/3 cup (48 g) chopped nuts, pecans/walnuts


  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warmed water and milk and mix in 1 cup/125g flour. You will get a kind of batter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 45 minutes. After this time, add to the bowl the sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 2 cups/250g of the flour. With the kneading hook or by hand, mix dough, adding more flour in small increments until you have a smooth dough.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set it out again to rise for a couple of hours, or until the volume is doubled.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling by whipping together the brown sugar and softened butter. Set aside.
  • Prepare your baking pan (8-10-inch springform pan or 8-10-inch cast iron skill) or skillet by greasing with butter. *Place baking pan or skillet onto a baking sheet to catch any drips and set aside.
  • When dough is risen, turn dough onto a floured surface and deflate slightly, With a rolling pin, roll it out, forming a rectangle about 14 inches by 18 inches. Spread a thin layer of brown sugar/butter mixture all over the dough and then, starting with the long edge, roll the dough tightly jelly-roll style. Cut it into 12 slices about 1 1/2 inches wide. Before placing slices in baking pan, tightly pinch together the bottom of the slice, by pinching the edges towards the middle. Place in baking pan and repeat with all the slices. Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes, or until puffy and filled in within the baking pan.
  • Preheat oven to 390° F. and bake for about 25 minutes. *Check at 15 and 20 minutes into cooking to check for browning. If top is getting too browned, cover loosely with a sheet of tinfoil.
  • Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare topping. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sauce bubbles and sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add cream and salt. Stir to combine. Add nuts and stir. Pour sauce over cooked rolls. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Jennifer
Calories: 386kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 292mg, Potassium: 117mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 730IU, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 2.3mg
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