Learn how to make a giant cinnamon roll cake using my easy 7 ingredient homemade cinnamon roll dough and swirling it into one large cake. Top with vanilla icing for an extra fun and indulgent breakfast or brunch. Kids LOVE this! (Ok, adults too.)
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
If you find yourself (1) with a giant cinnamon roll craving, (2) bored and looking for a fun baking project, and/or (3) in need of a FUN family-friendly breakfast, brunch, or dessert– I have just the recipe. I originally published this giant cinnamon roll cake several years ago and after making it 7,938x since then (approximation, of course), I decided to add some updates. It’s even better now!
Discover new pictures, extra recipe notes, and a video tutorial to help guarantee mega cinnamon roll success. Because if you’re going to make cinnamon rolls, you might as well make the best, most giant cinnamon roll ever. It’s impossible not to love this.
Why You’ll Love This Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
- It’s a cinnamon roll the size of your head.
- Only requires 1 short rest and 1 long rise. (Not 2 rises!)
- No special tools required.
- Perfect for yeast beginners.
- Kids love to help roll it up.
- Fun to eat.
- Smothered in vanilla icing.
- I repeat: it’s a cinnamon roll the size of your head.
Perfect for Yeast Beginners
Do you love homemade cinnamon rolls, but are nervous to bake with yeast? I used to be this way too, but my easy cinnamon rolls completely changed that mindset. They only need 1 short rest period and 1 long rise, as opposed to two long rises like my overnight cinnamon rolls. Same fluffy cinnamon roll goodness, but in half the time. We’re using a very similar dough recipe for today’s cinnamon roll cake.
Here’s my #1 tip: I exclusively use Red Star Yeast in my bread baking and always recommend readers do the same. A dependable yeast like Platinum Yeast by Red Star pretty much guarantees dough success. This is an instant yeast, which helps cut down on rise time. Not only this, its careful formula strengthens your dough and makes working with yeast simple. And simple, especially when it comes to bread baking, is always good.
Bottom line: I recommend Platinum Yeast by Red Star in this cinnamon roll cake.
Video Tutorial: Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
How to Make a Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
- Make the dough: The ingredients are pretty standard: flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, butter, and egg. Heat the butter and milk together. Next, stir or beat the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, then add the egg. After mixing, your dough is ready to knead. You’ll notice I use all milk (no water) and *slightly* more butter than my easy cinnamon rolls recipe. I wanted a richer dough for this cinnamon roll cake. Same great results.
- Knead the dough: You can use your mixer or hands to knead the dough. Watch me knead the dough with my hands in the video tutorial above. When you’re finished kneading, cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes. It won’t really rise during this time, but this allows the gluten to relax, which makes shaping much easier.
- Fill & shape the cinnamon roll cake: Here’s where the fun starts! Roll the dough out into a 15×12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the dough into 6 horizontal strips. (Each are 15 inches long.) Roll up 1 strip and place in a greased pan. Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large cinnamon roll. Some of the filling may spill out as you pick up the strips, so just sprinkle it on top of the cake when you’re done shaping it.
- Rise: Let the shaped cake rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Remember, this is the only rise time required!
- Bake: After the giant cinnamon roll cake is puffy, bake until golden brown.
- Drizzle with vanilla icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Drizzle all over the warm cake.
Cinnamon Roll Cake Step-by-Step Pictures
Mix the dry ingredients together. Heat the butter and milk together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the egg, and beat into a slightly soft dough. (If you don’t have a mixer, you can make this dough by hand.)
Knead this dough, then let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Roll out into a large rectangle. Top with softened butter.
Sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon on top, then cut into 6 strips. Roll up 1 strip.
Place into your greased pan. Coil remaining strips around it.
Before baking, let the shaped cake rise until puffy:
3 Helpful Tips
- Best pan to use: I recommend a 9-inch round pie dish or cake pan.
- Keep it flat: While the giant cinnamon roll cake is baking, some spots may rise up more than other spots. That’s completely normal and expected from something this large! Simply remove the pan from the oven and, with the back of a spatula, press down the spots that are rising taller than others to help keep them even.
- Don’t have all morning to spend on this dough? Feel free to prep the dough the night before. This is a wonderful way to save time in the morning so you can wake up and eat sooner! See my make-ahead/overnight instructions in the written recipe below.
Let’s Dig In
To serve, cut the giant cinnamon roll like a traditional cake. Alternatively, you could uncoil it and let everyone have a go, sort of like you do with monkey bread. Hey, it’s ok to have fun with your food once in awhile. Now go make some cake!!
Baking with Yeast Guide
Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.
Learn how to make a beautiful, fluffy, and fun cinnamon roll cake using my kitchen-tested shortcut dough recipe. Review the video tutorial above and recipe notes below before beginning.
- 2 and 3/4 cups (344g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast by Red Star (1 standard packet)*
- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together. Set aside. Heat the milk and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm to the touch, between 100-110°F, 38-43°C. Pour the warm milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the egg. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment, or using a rubber spatula and mixing by hand, beat/mix the mixture until a soft dough forms. The dough is ready when it gently pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is pretty sticky, beat/mix in 2-4 extra Tablespoons of flour. (Keep in mind that you want the dough to remain on the softer side.)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 3 minutes (for a visual, watch me knead in the video above). If you’d rather use the mixer to knead it, beat the dough on low speed for 3 minutes instead. After kneading, poke the dough with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, the dough is ready for the next step. If not, keep kneading.
- Form the dough into a ball on your work surface. Cover it with a clean towel, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, then let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Alternatively, the ball of dough can rest in a covered and lightly greased mixing bowl.
- Make the filling: After 30 minutes, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 15×12 inch rectangle. Evenly spread the softened butter on top. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle it all over the buttered dough.
- Grease a 9-inch round pie dish or cake pan with butter or nonstick spray.
- Shape the cinnamon roll cake: See the video tutorial and my step-by-step photos above for a visual of this shaping step. Using a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips. Roll up one strip and place it in the center of the pan. Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large cinnamon roll. Some of the filling may spill out as you pick up the strips, so just sprinkle it on top of the cake when you’re done shaping it.
- Loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a relatively warm, draft-free environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (Tip: Rising at room temperature is usually fine, but on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the shaped cake inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
- Bake: After the cake’s dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. If you notice the top or edges browning too quickly, tent the cake with aluminum foil. While the giant cinnamon roll cake is baking, some spots may rise up more than other spots. That’s completely normal and expected from something this large. Simply remove the pan from the oven and, with the back of a spatula, press down the spots that are rising taller than others to help keep them even. Return to baking.
- Remove the finished cinnamon roll cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the icing.
- Make the icing: Whisk the icing ingredients together. If you want a thicker icing, whisk in more confectioners’ sugar. If you want a thinner icing, whisk in more milk or cream. Drizzle all over warm cake and serve.
- The cinnamon roll cake is best enjoyed the same day it’s made, but will remain fresh covered tightly for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Overnight Instructions: The night before serving, prepare the cinnamon roll cake through step 6. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter, covered, for 1-2 hours before continuing with step 8.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked cinnamon roll cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked cinnamon roll cake and here’s how: bake the cake in step 8 for only about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. To thaw and bake, take the cake out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours before you wish to serve it. Before serving, finish baking it.
- Yeast: Platinum Yeast by Red Star is an instant yeast. You can use active dry yeast instead. If using active-dry yeast, whisk the yeast into the warm butter/milk mixture instead of into the dry ingredients. (If you forget to do this and add the active-dry yeast to the dry ingredients, the cake will still be fine– trust me!) The rise time will take a little longer if using active dry yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Icing: I originally topped this giant cinnamon roll cake with vanilla maple icing. Simply replace 1 Tablespoon of milk/cream with pure maple syrup. If desired for a coffee flavored icing, replace all of the milk/cream with strong brewed black coffee.
Keywords: cinnamon roll cake, giant cinnamon roll