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Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake

Nothing says warm, cozy comfort like the heavenly aroma of fresh baked cinnamon rolls wafting from the kitchen. But let’s be honest – properly kneading, proofing and baking yeasted cinnamon rolls can be a fussy, time-consuming process.
Well, I’ve got the perfect solution to bring you all of the ooey, gooey cinnamon sugary goodness you crave without the fuss. My easy Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake!
This tender vanilla cake is swirled with a rich cinnamon sugar spiced filling and drenched in decadent vanilla glaze for the ultimate cinnamon roll experience with a fraction of the effort. No yeast to proof, no dough to knead. Just stir together a quick cake batter, layer it with homemade Cinnabon-inspired filling, and bake for sweet cinnamon roll bliss.
The fluffy texture and heady cinnamon spice aroma of this copycat Cinnabon cake fresh from the oven will make you feel like you baked a tray of actual cinnamon rolls. But with way less mess and hassle. The brown sugar and cinnamon filling bakes into sweet, gooey ribbons that permeate the soft cake layers. And that signature sweet glaze soaks right in, taking this over-the-top treat over the top!
I love enjoying a thick, satisfying slice of this Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake on a quiet weekend morning with a steaming cup of coffee. Let the rich vanilla, cinnamon and sugar flavors transport you straight into cozy heaven. The perfect brunch treat or decadent dessert to feed a crowd for any gathering.
Trust me, one bite of this better-than-the-bakery cake with it’s luscious filling and glossy glaze will have this new favorite treat topping your baking rotation. So ditch the yeast and put away your rolling pin! My easy recipe lets you indulge cravings for The perfect brunch treat or decadent dessert to feed a crowd for any gathering.

What inspired you to create this Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake recipe?
I love cinnamon rolls but find the traditional method of making them with yeast dough to be too time consuming and finicky. I wanted an easier way to enjoy those classic flavors without so much work, so I experimented with translating them into cake form!

What makes this cake better than just making cinnamon rolls from scratch?
Baking this as a cake rather than yeast-risen dough cuts the prep time significantly. There’s no need to proof yeast, no dough to knead, roll or cut. Just mix up a quick batter and assemble for sweet cinnamon cake bliss!

What is the difference between the cake layers and the cinnamon swirl filling?
The cake batter uses basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk to bake into a sweet vanilla cake base. While the filling amps up the flavors with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and flour to create an ooey, gooey cinnamon ribbon effect throughout.

Do you need any special pans or equipment to make this Cinnabon copycat recipe?
Nope! Just a basic 9×13 inch baking pan, some common kitchen tools like mixing bowls and whisks, and the ingredients. Easy peasy! No specialty items required.

How long does it take to prepare and bake this cake?
You’ll spend about 10 minutes prepping the batter and filling, then it bakes for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before glazing and digging in! Total time is just under an hour.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • For the Cake:
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (355 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons (18 grams) baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) unsalted melted butter
  • For the Cinnamon Swirl:
  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup (220 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. To begin, preheat your oven to 350°F to ensure it reaches the proper temperature by the time our cake is ready for baking. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking pan by rubbing the inside surfaces thoroughly with a stick of butter or softened margarine, making sure to spread it evenly into all corners and edges. This creates a non-stick barrier to prevent the cake from sticking. Set the greased pan aside.
  2. For the cake batter, first measure out the dry ingredients of 3 cups all-purpose flour sifted to remove any lumps, 4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder to give the cake lift, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt to balance the sweetness. Whisk thoroughly in a wide rimmed mixing bowl to incorporate evenly. Next add in 1 cup of granulated sugar and continue whisking to blend with the other dry goods and slightly aerate the mixture. The sugar crystals will partially dissolve into the flour for intense sweet cinnamon roll flavor in the baked cake. Set dry mixture aside.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, measure out the milk by pouring 1 1⁄2 cups of cold whole milk from your refrigerator. Crack 2 large chicken eggs from your dozen eggs into the bowl, adding richness and binding properties for a moist tender crumb. Whisk briskly to evenly combine and dissolve the thick egg whites. Measure the butter by melting 1⁄4 cup (half a stick) butter completely so no bits of solid fat remain. Pour the hot melted butter into the milk and egg mixture followed by 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. The butter adds indulgent flavor and velvety texture while the pure vanilla enhances all the ingredients’ aromas.
  4. Gradually add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients in 3 separate parts while continuously whisking in wide circular motions to prevent over developing the gluten strands. You want to mix just until evenly moistened and combined but still ever-so-slightly lumpy for the most tender cake texture.
  5. Pour precisely half the well integrated batter into the prepared cake pan. Using a flexible rubber spatula, spread the batter in an even layer across the bottom of the pan right to the edges. Smooth the top gently.
  6. For the decadent cinnamon swirl filling, softened 1 cup of salted butter by leaving it out on your kitchen counter overnight or microwaving 20 seconds to melt the solid structure. Add 1 cup of brown sugar packed firmly to the smooth softened butter along with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon ground Saigon cinnamon. Use a strong fork or stand mixer on medium speed to cream everything together until a thick paste forms with a smooth, even crumbly texture and pale caramel color from dissolving the brown sugar crystals completely into the fat molecules in the butter.
  7. Scoop heaping tablespoonsful of the cinnamon sugar paste onto the cake batter in the pan spacing evenly apart. Take a thin, flexible butter knife and swirl through the dollops in a decorative marbled effect, being careful not to over mix the filling and cake layers together.
  8. Top with the remaining cake batter pouring it evenly over the swirled filling layer right to the edges. Spread gently with your spatula to create an even surface then take your butter knife and etch some big beautiful swirls all around the top so you see the filling incorporated artfully throughout. This adds impressive visual appeal in addition to releasing more sweet cinnamon aroma.
  9. Bake in the center rack of your preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, testing doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer into the thickest part of the cake. It should come out with just a couple moist crumbs clinging but no raw batter should remain. The edges will be light golden brown and the center risen slightly higher than the edges.
  10. Allow the pan to rest on a wire cooling rack until completely cooled to room temperature before glazing or slicing, about 1 hour. The rack allows air flow underneath the pan. As the cake cools, the sugary filling will re-solidify binding to the tender cake.
  11. For the signature vanilla glaze, sift 2 cups confectioners sugar into a medium mixing bowl removing any lumps in the powdered sugar. Pour in 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract the same as used in the cake batter plus 2-3 tablespoons of whole milk. Whisk vigorously until smooth then add remaining tablespoons milk as needed to make a thick yet pourable glaze consistency.
  12. Pour the white glaze evenly over the top of the completely cooled Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake allowing it to drizzle slowly over the edges. Use an offset spatula to spread it smoothly across the surface sealing in moisture and adding high gloss shine in addition to sweet flavor.
  13. Let the glaze set about 5 minutes before slicing perfect rectangles right from the pan and serving up the ooey, gooey cinnamon sugary masterpiece!

Cooking Tips:

  • For best results, allow all ingredients to come to room temperature before baking. Cold eggs and butter will make the texture denser.
  • Don’t overmix the cake batter- just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Too much mixing develops gluten, making the crumb tough.
  • If desired, swap out the cinnamon swirl layer for a cream cheese filling by mixing together 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 egg.
  • For richer flavor, substitute milk with half and half or heavy cream.
  • Garnish with chopped pecans or toasted coconut flakes over the glaze for extra texture and crunch.
  • Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

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