This Homemade Cinnamon Roll Cake dessert has all the flavor of a cinnamon roll but in an easy cake with a vanilla icing drizzled on top!
A CINNAMON ROLL IN CAKE FORM
Are you one of those folks whose eyes glaze over when you see a recipe that has more than 5 ingredients? You completely lose interest and skip on to the next one. I know the feeling! It’s kinda how I felt about this one when I first saw this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cake. But then I heard all the great reviews everyone was giving it and I knew I had to make it! This cake is really so warm and comforting and is easier to make than you might think!
CAN I SUBSTITUTE WITH A BOXED CAKE MIX?
Yes technically you could but this recipe was not designed for a boxed cake mix. Boxed cake mixes tend to be a little too soft so they have a hard time holding up to a heavier filling like the one below. So please keep in mind your filling may fall straight to the bottom. If you insist on using a boxed cake mix, you could use a vanilla cake mix and then just make the cinnamon roll filling and swirl it around. Then continue with the rest of the baking instructions. I think a butter pecan, white and yellow boxed cake mixes would all work as well.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- all-purpose flour – I don’t usually sift flour with baked goods but some folks swear by it and think it produces a fluffier cake, so if you have time, then you can certainly sift it. I usually just take a fork and stir the flour a bit in the bowl. Also, do not pack your measuring cup with flour. Use a spoon to full up the measuring cup with flour and shake as you go to level it off. If you pack the measuring cup, you’ll end up with too much flour and your cake will t taste dry and be very dense.
- granulated sugar – I have not tried this with any sort of sugar substitute so can’t say for sure how that would work.
- baking powder – it is very important you make sure your baking powder is fresh. Most baked goods do not turn out properly because the baking powder was not fresh or expired.
- eggs – when making baked goods, it helps to have your eggs at room temperature. It just helps them to mix in better with the better and there is a whole bunch of science on how it helps the cake to rise.
- milk – if possible, the milk should be at room temperature as well.
- salted butter – we are not adding additional salt to the cake batter which is usually what you do for cakes so instead, we’re just going to use salted butter. See my post on How to Soften Butter Quickly.
- light brown sugar – when measuring brown sugar, unlike measuring flour, make sure you pack it into the measuring cup.
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLL CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it.) In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine ingredients for cake (except melted butter.)
While your mixer is running, slowly add the 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix just until combined – overmixing flour in baked goods can make it tough and rubbery.
Spread this batter evenly into your baking dish.
Now to make the filling. In a small bowl, combine all your filling ingredients: softened butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir until combined well.
Drop the cinnamon filling by spoonfuls onto the cake batter.
Now the artistic part. Take a butter knife and make swirly, marble-effect patterns all around the cake. Drag the knife through both the cinnamon and cake batter.
Bake the cake for about 35-40 minutes (it took about 40 minutes in my oven), until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in small bowl.
Pour the glaze over the warm cake.
The glaze is gonna settle into all those nooks and crannies.
Serve warm or at room temperature. I think the cake slices up better once it’s cooled down.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Originally published: March 2012
Updated photos (not the recipe): June 2023
Homemade Cinnamon Roll Cake (+Video)
For the cake:
For the cinnamon filling:
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it.) In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup white granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups milk.
- While your mixer is running, slowly add 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted. Mix just until combined (overmixing flour in baked goods can make it tough and rubbery.)
- Spread this batter evenly into your prepared baking dish.
For the filling:
- In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon. Stir until combined well.
- Drop the cinnamon filling by spoonfuls onto the cake batter.
- Take a butter knife and make swirly, marble-effect patterns all around the cake. Drag the knife through both the cinnamon and cake batter.
- Bake the cake for about 35-40 minutes (it took about 40 minutes in my oven), until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
For the glaze:
- Whisk together 2 cups powdered sugar, 5 Tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl. If you want it thicker, add more powdered sugar and if you want it thinner, add more milk.
- Pour the glaze over the warm cake. This cake can be served warm or at room temperature but I think it's easier to slice if you allow it to cool first.
- I think you could get away with only using one stick of butter in the cinnamon/sugar filling mixture.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.