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Easy Cheesecake Buns (Vatrushka Buns)

Difficulty: Intermediate
Servings: 10
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


These cheesecake buns (you can also call them Vatrushka, or Quark Buns and they also remind me of the Romanian "Poale-n Brâu") are so easy to make and so flavourful, you can add so many fruits and flavourings. I added blueberries, vanilla and lemon zest and they were soo good!

I grew up with these pastries, my neighbour used to bring us these all the time and I remember how fragrant they were. The Romanian ones were filled with Romanian cottage cheese, raisins and plenty of lemon zest. The dough was much more dense and heavy. This version is lighter and with ingredients that you can find everywhere.  Let's get started!


For the dough

For the filling


  1. Making the dough

    In a stand mixer, add half of the quantity of flour together with the sugar, yeast and salt and mix them together. Add the warm milk, then mix until combined. Add the eggs and flavourings (lemon zest, vanilla extract or paste) and beat until combined. Add the remaining half of the flour and mix on low speed until combined. Beat further and while the dough is kneading (this should take 5-10 minutes until it becomes elastic), add the butter gradually, making sure it gets incorporated before each addition. After 5-10 minutes the dough should be done, smooth and elastic and a bit sticky. Let the dough rise in a buttered/oiled bowl for at least 90 minutes or until it doubles in size. 

  2. Making the filling

    For the filling, mix the quark/cream cheese well with the sugar and the flavourings. The cream cheese should be room temperature. Set aside.

  3. Prepare the buns

    After the dough has doubled in size, knock out all the air and roll it in a rectangle. Take a glass or a jar and cut circles (see the video here) and let them rise for 30 more minutes.

    After 30 minutes, create with the back of the glass a "dent" in the bun, that's where our filling will come. Repeat the steps for the remaining buns. Add 1 tbsp of filling in each hole and add fruit of your choice (I added blueberries). 

    Beat the egg with a splash of milk/water and brush the buns with egg wash before baking them. Bake the buns for approximately 25-30 minutes or until they are golden. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with tea or coffee. Enjoy!

My name is Andreea and I live in Bucharest, Romania. Born with a passion for cooking, I grew a fondness towards global cuisine and the local food consumed around the world. Not only would I like to share this passion with you all but also introduce recipes from around the world that you can try and discover how incredibly good these dishes can be.