Plain, sweet, scone-like cakes topped with pearl sugar
Breads/scones,  Cake

Paris Buns

Paris Buns. It’s not a cake. Not a scone. It’s something in-between. Best eaten fresh from the oven with a cup of tea. I’d also recommend eating these on the day you bake them, as they don’t keep that well. But I didn’t find that to be a problem in our house.

Plain, sweet cakes topped with pearl sugar

I kept my Paris Buns plain, but you can add dried fruit if you prefer. Currants if you want to be traditional about it. I’d add about 2oz/55g of dried fruit to the dough.

And you don’t need to be too fancy or particular with your presentation. If they look a little craggy on top, that adds to the character. Top them with pearl sugar/sugar crystals/nibbed sugar if you have it. You could always use some demerara sugar instead if you don’t have any of those, as they don’t seem to always be the easiest to get hold of. At least not here in Boston. You want something that will give a bit of a crunch to the topping.

Paris Buns. Sweet, scone-like cake topped with pearl sugar

Paris Buns also seem to be very specific to Northern Ireland, and possibly Scotland, so quite a small geographic area really. Pretty similiar to Fifteens, I guess, which are almost unheard of outside of Northern Ireland! I have no idea why they are called Paris Buns – if you do, please let me know!

There also seem to be very few recipes out there for Paris Buns and this was the only recipe I had in all of my books. So, while it’s possible it may not taste exactly as you remember, these are quick and easy to make and get the seal of approval from both Mr Traybakes and Little Miss Traybakes!

Plain, sweet cakes topped with pearl sugar

Paris Buns

Paris Buns. Not quite a scone. Not quite a cake. Just a soft, sweet bread-like cake topped with pearl sugar. Perfect with a cup of tea!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 6 buns


  • 8 oz or 225g plain flour/all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 oz or 110g unsalted butter
  • 4 oz or 110g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 fl oz or 60ml milk
  • pearl sugar/coarse sugar crystals for topping


  • Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  • Next, cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar.
  • Beat the egg, milk and vanilla together in a small bowl, then add to the rest of the mix and combine until you have a stiff dough.
  • Divide the dough into six equal sized pieces and shape, with floured hands, into flat rounds about 3in/7.5cm across.
  • Place on a lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg or milk. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. They will spread a little during baking, so don’t put them too close together.
  • Bake at 375F/190C for 15-20 minutes, until golden.


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  • Etta Halliday

    Is forgotten about Paris buns! Belfast bakery O’Haras (long since gone) used to sell them with the bases dipped in chocolate. We ordered hundreds of these for an “air raid shelter tea break “as part of a “Hits from the Blitz” event in 2001 – so many older folk mentioned them in their war years memories. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Catriona

    My mum used to tell a story — I can’t remember all the detail — something about someone who claimed to be an expert in baking French patisserie, and it turned out to be a plateful of Paris buns!

  • Patrick Montague

    I believe this was discovered during WW2 and brought back to Ireland but North liked it. The Snowball was reinvented here by mistake a Baker made a Paris Bun mix wrongly in a bakery called Kennedys. The mix would not rise and baked small but also burnt slightly. The Baker when asked “what to hell to do with this panicked. And the rest is history sticking to bases with jam rolled in icing a coconut. I believe this was in the 60s