Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

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.

giant cinnamon roll cake

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.

giant cinnamon roll cake slice

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.

red star yeast platinum packets

Video Tutorial: Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake


How to Make a Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rise: Let the shaped cake rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Remember, this is the only rise time required!
  5. Bake: After the giant cinnamon roll cake is puffy, bake until golden brown.
  6. Drizzle with vanilla icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Drizzle all over the warm cake.

cinnamon roll cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake Step-by-Step Pictures

Mix the dry ingredients together. Heat the butter and milk together.

dough ingredients

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.)

dough in mixing bowl

Knead this dough, then let it rest for about 30 minutes.

Roll out into a large rectangle. Top with softened butter.

rolled out dough with butter

Sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon on top, then cut into 6 strips. Roll up 1 strip.

strips of cinnamon roll dough

Place into your greased pan. Coil remaining strips around it.

shaping a cinnamon roll cake

Before baking, let the shaped cake rise until puffy:

giant cinnamon roll cake before baking

3 Helpful Tips

  1. Best pan to use: I recommend a 9-inch round pie dish or cake pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

vanilla icing on cinnamon roll cake

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!!

giant cinnamon roll cake slice

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.

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giant cinnamon roll cake

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: one 9-inch cake
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (345g) 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

Filling

  • 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

Vanilla Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Grease a 9-inch round pie dish or cake pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

335 Comments

  1. Can you substitute buttermilk in this recipe like In your giant cinnamon rolls? I’ve never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before and am nervous about using yeast for the first time! So I’m trying to decide which recipe to use. Also during the quarantine I am trying to save my whole milk for making your delicious strawberry cake ❤️

    1. You can, but the dough won’t rise as much and the roll cake will taste heavy. I recommend all-purpose or even bread flour.

  2. Have you tried finely chopped nuts added to the top of dough before cutting and rolling so it bakes in between layers? Wondering if it would change bake time.

  3. I have never baked with yeast but decided to give this recipe a try. It was so easy and came out great! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  4. I made this as a thanks for a neighbor. I didn’t get to taste it, but it was gorgeous. Easy to follow instructions. Thank you!

  5. I made this for the first time yesterday and it is delicious! Next time I will work harder to get the dimensions right, I realized I had rolled the dough to 16×12 which meant the cinnamon/sugar mix wasn’t enough to fully cover the dough. Even though I will make sure it’s 15×12 I will still make *more* of the cinnamon/sugar mix so it full coats everything. But still, it was great. And as big as my head!

  6. This recipe was absolutely spectacular. Beautiful presentation and scrumptious. I have shared and will definitely make it again. Thank you.

  7. If I only have medium eggs, should I use 1.5 or just stick with 1? You can’t get a large egg anywhere right now!

  8. Absolutely loved the taste and texture. The only issue after I baked this…during this pandemic, my wife and I ate this whole cake in a little over 1 day. It truly is that yummy! Thank you Sally, it satisfies that craving for Cinnabon in the comfort of your own home 🙂

  9. Love this recipe, I’ve been baking your recipes for years and recommend you to everyone I know! Currently, I have taken it upon myself to boost office morale with goodies and your recipes are featured more then anyone else’s. 🙂 Today was your cookie dough cupcakes and tomorrow I am taking the beauty in with BACON pieces sprinkled on the strips before rolling up. I’m pairing it with the maple icing and am soooo excited!Thanks Sally!!

  10. My daughter and I just made this together for one of her cooking assignments for school since we are homeschooling. It was so easy and delicious! You are always my “go-to” for recipes. We used 1% milk, added pecans and made the icing with maple syrup. Will definitely make again! Thanks!

  11. If I want to make this the day before, how long can it stay in the fridge before it has to rise 1-2 hours the next day, your instructions say the morning but could I pull it out at dinner time, let it rise and bake for dessert?

  12. This was excellent and very easy to make!
    I used buttermilk because I had that on hand; the icing is exceptionally sweet, but it was PERFECT with the dough and filling mixture. Not too sweet and tasting just like a cinnamon roll, making the house smell like a dream! I also see how you could take this recipe and just roll it up and make individual cinnamon rolls! How versatile!!

  13. Hi, the notes say this: “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.”

    The video says to leave it for 1-2 hrs before baking. Was the refrigerator step skipped from the video?

    1. Hi! I did not do the overnight method in the video– just the regular instructions given. The overnight method is optional if you are strapped for time.

  14. This was amazing! The center of a cinnamon roll is the best part and that is what this is mostly made of. I used a cream cheese icing from one of your other recipes and it turned out great!

  15. Hi Sally,
    I found your site while searching for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe. And while other websites made it seem too time consuming and complicated your recipe,the step by step guide, the at hand conversions to gr. and °C, the beautiful pictures- it made it so easy!!

    This giant cinnamon roll cake came out fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside! It only took about 24 min(and 10min rest),the house smelled amazing and the taste: wow!
    Thank you so much for your recipes!
    Greetings from Greece!

  16. Very excited to make this this week! Do you think it would be okay in a silicone round cake pan? Or does it need something sturdier? Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Luiz, I have not tested this in a silicone pan. If you decide to try I recommend placing a baking sheet under it so that it’s easier to lift.

  17. Hi Sally I’ve really enjoyed making your recipes thus quarantine! I don’t have whole milk but I do have heavy cream or coconut milk, which is the best substitute for whole milk and do I need to change the measurements? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jeanine, is the coconut milk canned? If so, it’s likely too heavy for this dough. Heavy cream is, too. You can use water instead of milk but the rolls wont’ taste as rich. Or try water with a Tablespoon of heavy cream. I haven’t tested this, but it could work.

      1. Hi Sally thanks for getting back to me! I used regular coconut milk (not canned), and it turned out delicious! Thank you for the easy recipe!

  18. Love your recipes! If I wanted to make this in advance before baking, what’s the maximum amount of time I should leave it in my fridge to rise? Does it matter if I use instant vs dry yeast? Thanks!

  19. Do you mean stack the layers on top of each other? I fear they wouldn’t bake properly that way. You could try to line them up in your pan more like stripes than a swirl but I haven’t tested it!

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