Learn how to make a beautiful, fluffy, and soft cinnamon roll cake using my kitchen-tested dough recipe.
The happiest of holidays to you. Why not celebrate with a giant cinnamon roll the size of a cake? Tis the season.
I had a little fun in the kitchen this past weekend. I had visions of this giant cinnamon roll in my head for weeks and had no idea if it would turn out. If you follow me on Instagram, you witnessed my trepidations.
I rolled out my dough, spiraled it in a large coil, let it rise, and baked it. The result ended with me on the couch sipping a glass of wine and calling a huge piece of cinnamon roll cake my dinner. Recipe success, to say the least.
The idea for this cake came from a giant craving for gooey cinnamon rolls. I blame the tempting smells of cinnamon rolls wafting through the mall as I holiday shopped this month. The mall near my apartment knows me too well. They stick a Cinnabon right next to Nordstrom, my favorite store. Seriously?!
This cake… I mean, this breakfast? This breakfast cake? Ok, it’s all of the above.
This giant cinnamon roll has got to be my favorite recipe of the year. And I post a ton of recipes, as you know! It’s soft, fluffy coils. Gooey cinnamon center. Vanilla icing melting into every crevice. And its massive size. What’s not to love here?
Though it may look intimidating, I assure you – it’s not!
It’s the same dough recipe from my wildly popular Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe. What makes them so easy? Well, they’re quite quick! I wanted to use the same dough for today’s cake because so many of you have had success with it. And I personally love it’s fluffiness, softness, and… let’s be honest. I love it the most for its ease!
The first thing you’re going to do is make sure you have some good yeast. I use Red Star Platinum yeast. I have the best results in my breads and rolls when I use their platinum line. Though I am being compensated for sponsoring Red Star Yeast today, please know that I’ve loved this yeast even before working with Red Star. Their Platinum line is fantastic; its careful, instant formula strengthens your dough and makes making working with yeast simple.1 standard packet of yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) is what you need for this cinnamon roll cake.
Note: if you replace Red Star Platinum with regular active dry yeast, you rise time may be 50% longer.
The rest of the dough ingredients are pretty standard: flour, sugar, salt, water, milk, butter, and 1 egg. You’ll add only enough flour to the dough to make it workable before kneading. Any more flour and you may end up with a tough-textured cake. Your dough is ready to knead when it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
You’ll knead the dough for about 3-4 full minutes. Want to learn more about the process of kneading? I study this helpful guide often. When you’re finished kneading, cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes. It will only very slightly rise in this 30 minutes, not much at all. It really just needs a chance to let the gluten settle. During this time, I got my filling ingredients ready: softened butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
After 30 minutes, roll the dough out into a 15×12 inch rectangle. Use a ruler to be accurate; I always keep one handy in a kitchen drawer. Spread the sotened butter all over the dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Here’s the part that’s slightly unconventional. Using a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter (I used a pizza cutter – it’s easiest), cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips. Loosely roll up one strip and place it in the center of a 9-inch round pan. You’re rolling it up loosely so the dough has some give as it rises in the next step.
Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large rolled cake.
That was probably a little confusing. So here is a visual:
I always crimp the ends together with my fingers to press them together as I’m coiling the next strip. You can see most of the ends pressed together at the top right of the photo above.
The cake takes about 60-90 minutes to rise and double in size.
Loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in a draft-free warm spot in your kitchen. Here’s what I do: I heat the oven to 200F. I turn off the oven. I place the rolls inside for 90 minutes. There, that’s it!
The cake’s coils will puff up and double in size during that 60-90 minutes. Then, it’s time to bake the best breakfast you’ll ever eat.
Bake the cake until the top is lightly golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to make sure the top is not browning too fast. If so, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes to prevent over browning.
During this time, your kitchen will smell amazing. Just as amazing as Cinnabon smells in the mall. As amazing as your favorite bakery in the morning. It’s completely glorious. You’ll want to make this cake every morning not only for its taste, but for its smell.
Something to note: while the cake is baking, some spots may rise up more than other spots. That’s completely normal and well, quite expected! I simply removed the pan from the oven and pressed down on the sides with the back of a spatula that were rising more than others.
Here’s the baked cinnamon roll cake, ready for a generous shower of vanilla/maple glaze.
Yep, on top of your cinnamon roll cake will go a flavorful vanilla/maple glaze. Have fun with the glaze – you can leave out the maple syrup to make it a standard vanilla glaze. Or leave out the vanilla, so it’s a plain maple glaze. Or make a coffee glaze like I did here.
There is plenty of room for glaze creativity!
Drizzle the warm cake with glaze and watch it seep into every crevice. Then, drizzle with more. The more glaze… the better!
Now it’s time to dig in. Though I warn you to never cut into regular cakes until they have cooled, you may certainly eat this cinnamon roll cake right away. Just let it cool for about 10 minutes. Just enough time to make the glaze.
I cut the giant cinnamon roll like a traditional cake. Alternatively, you could just uncoil it and let everyone have a go, sort of like you do with caramel monkey bread. Hey, it’s ok to have fun with your food once in awhile!
Don’t you just want to reach through the screen?! Though the cinnamon roll cake is long gone at this point, I wish I could have another slice this morning for Christmas Eve breakfast. Oh well, mom’s pecan sticky buns will work.
Speaking off – how about I make one giant sticky bun next? Or maybe a giant sweet roll with a fruit filling? My head is currently swirling with spiral breakfast cake ideas and my stomach is rumbling.
Go make some cake!
Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
Learn how to make a beautiful, fluffy, and soft cinnamon roll cake using my kitchen-tested dough recipe.
Yield: one 9-inch cake
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
- 2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package Red Star Platinum Yeast or any instant yeast* (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (cow's milk - I used skim)
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
Vanilla Maple Glaze
- 1 cup (120g) powdered (confectioners') sugar, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or cream
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the dough: Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the 2 and 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
- Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. About 115-120F degrees. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. I only needed 1/3 cup, but you may need the full 1/2 cup. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl (I used non-stick spray). Cover tightly and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will slightly rise.
- Make the filling: After 30 minutes, roll the dough out in a 15x12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Spray a 9-inch round pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Please see above for a visual of this step. Using a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter (I used a pizza cutter - it's easiest), cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips. Loosely roll up one strip and place it in the center of the pan. You're rolling it up loosely so the dough has some give as it rises. Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large rolled cake. Some of the filling may spill out as you pick up the strips, but I just sprinkled that on top of the cake after I was finished spiraling.
- Loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes. Here is what I do: heat the oven to 200F degrees. Turn oven off. Place cake inside oven and allow to rise. My cake took the full 90 minutes.
- After the cake's dough has nearly doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. I covered the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning. *While the cake is baking, some spots may rise up more than other spots. That's completely normal and well, quite expected! I simply removed the pan from the oven and pressed down on the sides with the back of a spatula that were rising more than others.
- Make the glaze: Remove cake from the oven when it's done. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, right before serving, drizzle with glaze. Mix the sifted powdered sugar, milk/cream, maple syrup and vanilla together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar and then add salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.
- Cake is best enjoyed the same day, but will remain fresh covered tightly for up to 4 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
*Overnight: The dough may be made the night before through step 5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and let rise, about 1 hour.
*If you replace Red Star Platinum with regular active dry yeast, you rise time may be 50% longer.
*For the glaze - you can leave out the maple syrup to make it a standard vanilla glaze. Or leave out the vanilla, so it's a plain maple glaze. Or make a coffee glaze like I did here.
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A few knock-out breakfast recipes you’re just going to love:
Merry Christmas! Warm wishes to you and your families during this special holiday season. Hearing from you baking all of my recipes has made my holiday that much better. Thank you!