If using fresh yeast, add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast; stir until dissolved, then pour into the bowl of the food mixer.
(If using active dry yeast (granules), pour the warm milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to become bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook).
Start the machine and add the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine with the yeast for 1 minute or so, then add the sugar. Allow to combine for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, weigh out 400 g/3 cups of the flour, add the cardamom and salt and mix together. Start adding the flour and spices into the milk mixture, bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg. Keep kneading for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour – you want the mixture to end up a bit sticky, but not so much that it sticks to your finger if you poke it. It is better not to add too much flour as this will result in dry buns. You can always add more later.
Once mixed, leave the dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel or clingfilm. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Dust a table top with flour and turn out the dough. Using your hands, knead the dough and work in more flour if needed. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 40 x 50 cm/16 x 20 in. rectangle.
Spread the filling across the dough in an event, thin layer.
To make traditional swirls, simply roll the dough lengthways into a long roll and cut into 15-16 pieces, place on a lined baking tray, and leave – covered – to rise for another 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius (fan). Brush the buns lightly with beaten egg, then bake for 6-9 minutes or until golden and done. Watch it, they can burn easily and different ovens vary in temperature.
If you prefer a loaf, roll up into a thick log then slice lengthways so you have two half rolls. ‘Plait’ the two halves, cut side up, and place in a lined bread tin.The loaf baking time depends on your oven. Turn it down slightly and watch that it doesn't brown too much.
While the buns are baking, make a simple sugar syrup: In a saucepan, heat 50ml water with 100g sugar until bubbling and completely melted. You can also use golden syrup and just melt it a big in a saucepan.
When the buns come out of the oven, immediately brush lightly with the syrup, then add pearl sugar (nibbed sugar) (if using) on top of the buns and cover with a damp tea towel. The tea towel stops the buns from going dry. We also like these just sprinkled with icing sugar which gives a nice, frosted feel.