Cinnamon Roll Cake

published Nov 27, 2021
christmas
Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe

This dreamy cake only calls for a list of basic ingredients.

Serves8 to 10

Prep30 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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a slice of cinnamon roll cake on a white plate with a fork on the side.
Credit: Laura Rege

Cinnamon roll cake has all the delicious ooey-gooeyness of cinnamon buns without the hassle of rising and rolling out a yeasted dough. Ready in less than an hour, our recipe is perfect for novice bakers but impressive enough for the pros. Simple to make and easy to transport, this sheet cake is pretty much perfect for bringing to brunch or breakfast gatherings or serving as a dessert to a crowd.

The decadent cinnamon swirls lend dueling textures to each slice. When it’s submerged into the fluffy tender-crumbed cake, it’s a gooey cinnamon roll-like filling; on top, it’s a little crunchy.

The glaze ties everything together and is the final touch that makes this cake scream, Hello, I am a cinnamon roll cake! Don’t skip it. The tang of cream cheese cuts through the sweetness of what could be a sugary glaze and brings it to the next level. If you don’t have cream cheese or prefer to forgo it, just add a bit more milk a splash at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

How to Shape a Cinnamon Roll Cake

The best thing about this cinnamon roll cake is that you don’t have to shape it! Just dollop and swirl the rich cinnamon filling throughout the batter and bake it as you would a sheet cake. Couldn’t be easier.

Credit: Laura Rege

Does Cinnamon Roll Cake Require Yeast?

Not necessarily. There are two routes to take if you are preparing a cinnamon roll cake. The one we took here gets cinnamon roll cake on your table in less than an hour with no yeast. A yeasted dough requires more steps and a rise, and while it’s delicious, it’s more like a giant cinnamon roll cooked in a cake pan than a cake.

Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe

This dreamy cake only calls for a list of basic ingredients.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 stick

    plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided

  • 1 1/4 cups

    packed light brown sugar

  • 5 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon

  • 2 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 2 1/2 cups

    powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Let 1 stick plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, and 1 cup of the whole milk sit on the counter until room temperature, about 45 minutes.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with the 1/2 tablespoon softened butter. Place 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar and 5 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Place 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a second medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Place the remaining 1 stick unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until combined. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed in two batches, alternating with the whole milk and scraping down sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Scrape the batter into the baking pan and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula.

  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top, then use the flat side of a butter knife to swirl the brown sugar mixture into the batter, being careful not to over swirl and mix it into the batter.

  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes more. Place the baking pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour.

  8. Cut 4 ounces cream cheese into cubes and place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until just melted, stirring halfway through, 30 seconds to 1 minute total. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the remaining 2 tablespoons whole milk, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle the cream cheese glaze over the cooled cake and serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftover cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days.