Orange, Cardamom, Vanilla Swirl Bread

Orange Cardamom Swirl Bread // take a megabite

My flat smells like toast, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I go to bed at night dreaming of popping this swirly twirly dream in the toaster. I savor the hell out of every bite. It’s basically the toast version of these Orange Rolls, so I’m kinda obsessed. And I’m pretty excited about the fact that I have an entire spare loaf in my freezer! Toast forever!

Cardamom, orange, and vanilla bean swirl bread // take a megabite

Also, do me a favor and don’t bother being deterred by the subtleness of the swirl in this bread once it’s baked. It’s full of major flavor! It’s dessert toast at it’s finest. I’d marry it! Commitment, folks.

* I used the first attempt at this bread (it had a cave in it) to make the baked french toast for the Valentine’s brunch! It was heaven.

Orange Cardamom Swirl Bread // take a megabite

Orange, Cardamom, & Vanilla Bean Swirl Bread (makes 2 loave)
Recipe adapted from Betty‘s cinnamon swirl bread


bread –

  • 2 packages regular active dry yeast (4 1/2 t)
  • 2 cups warm water (105-115 F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • zest from one orange
  • 3 cups bread flour (or just use only all-purpose)
  • 3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

swirl –

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • zest from 1 orange
  • scant 1 T cardamom
  • canola oil, for brushing


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, vegetable oil, orange zest and bread flour. Beat with an electric mixer for one minute at a low speed, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat for another minute at a medium speed, scraping the bowl frequently. Stir in enough of the remaining 3-3/12 cups of all-purpose flour to make the dough easy to handle. If you’re making it in your stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead dough for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and springy, and is no longer sticking to the side of the bowl. Alternately, you can knead by hand on a clean surface.
  2. Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated for 3 – 4 days.) Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile make sugar-y filling. Rub orange zest and vanilla bean into sugar until it resembles wet sand. Mix in cardamom. Set aside. Spray the bottoms and sides of two bread pans (9 x 5 inch), line the bottom with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Deflate dough and divide into two equal halves. Pat each half into a 9×15 inch rectangle. Brush each dough rectangle with oil and then divide the sugar-y filling between them, rubbing it into the surface. Roll up the short side and pinch the dough seam at the end. Place in prepared bread pans seam-side down.
  4. Allow dough to rise in bread pans in a warm place for an hour or until double in size/peaking over the top of the bread pans. About half way through pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when flicked. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. If they stick a little bit, use a paring knife to loosen the bread from the edges.
  6. Brush loaves with butter and cool before wrapping up. Serve toasted with butter and additional orange zest if you want.

Yay! Click HERE for a printable pdf of the recipe above.

Orange Cardamom Swirl Bread Toast // take a megabite

Let’s eat all the toast! Every single day!

26 thoughts on “Orange, Cardamom, Vanilla Swirl Bread”

  1. Orange and cardamom is one of my faaavorite combinations. Those orange rolls were actually the first yeast dough I ever made! So I think it might be necessary that I make this bread now. Thanks for being awesome!

  2. This looks so good! Did you freeze it at the dough stage or the fully baked loaf? I love making up double batches and freezing things for later!

  3. Made this last night and it turned out really nicely! I think there may be a typo in your ingredient list where you say 3-4 1/2 cups of flour….do you mean 3-3 1/2 cups? That’s what it looks like farther down in the recipe. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  4. Just made this… oh wow my kitchen smells so awesome. I didn’t use a vanilla bean but will next time. Haven’t tasted the bread yet. It is cooling on the counter. Am planning on freezing one and eating the other for toast and french toast (thanks to previous person who suggested it – brilliant!) The dough was so soft and easy to work with. Used a kitchaid mixer so i didn’t have to knead it – let the machine do all the work. LOL the smell of the grated orange peel transported to jamba juice. If it tastes half as good as it smells I will be making this often. Thanks for the easy to read recipe 🙂

  5. Hi Megan!

    This bread looks to die for! I am so doing it this Sunday! I have a question, though: I only have one bread pan, so I was thinking of dividing the dough and keeping the second one in the fridge while I prepare the sugary mixture, put half of that in the dough, and then once it’s baked and cooled, I’ll put the other half of the mixture into the dough that I kept in the fridge. Would that work?

    Then again, I could always do half the recipe… But then I wouldn’t have an extra loaf in my freezer. 🙁

    1. I think that’d totally work! You could also use the other half to make cinnamon rolls? But if you’re going the loaf route, then hell yeah, chill the other half of the dough in the meantime. Fill me in on if you do this!

      1. Hi again!

        So I made them and omg I’m in love! My boyfriend too! The second loaf turned out PERFECT because I learned my lesson with the first loaf — I removed the top rack in the oven so that the loaf was more in the bottom-center, which allowed it to bake more evenly. I also baked it for 35 minutes instead of 30, which I had done for the first loaf and saw that the middle wasn’t cooked enough. Definitely doing this in the future! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Thank you for this recipe! I first made this recipe about 18 months ago and it was so good (even though I thought it might be a good idea to add cardamon to the dough as well the filling – not the best decision). This past winter when a blizzard was on the way, I remembered this bread and realized that if we were to lose power and I only had this to eat, I’d be reasonably OK (so long as the outage didn’t last more than 24 hours). Power stayed on and I ate toast. Since then, lots of toast. I keep making more bread. I go to bed smiling thinking about my breakfast toast. I’ve even lost weight (possibly not totally related, but I am eating this bread daily). So again, I say thank you. You offered this recipe to the world and made me (and I’m sure many others) deliciously happy. Today, I realized I needed to tell you that. And that I needed to print this recipe because I must ALWAYS have it.

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