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, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas brunch. Kids LOVE this! (Ok, adults too.)
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
If you find yourself with a giant cinnamon roll craving, bored and looking for a fun baking project, want an extra special Mother’s Day recipe or Father’s Day recipe, in need of new Easter brunch recipes that WOW, and/or 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 from 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.
If you are craving cinnamon rolls right now, and just can’t wait for dough to rise, try these no yeast cinnamon rolls!
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 9-inch round 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
Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.
Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
- 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
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 (spooned & leveled), plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast from 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 9-inch round 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Rolling Pin | 9-Inch Round Pie Dish or 9-Inch Round Cake Pan
- Yeast: Platinum Yeast from 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
I am making this cake for my husbands birthday which is in 2 days. Would it be better to freeze unbaked cake or freeze fully cooked cake?
Hi Therese either way works great, truly! So go with whichever method is more convenient for you.
Hi Sally, I have always been a fan of cinnamon rolls and tried this recipe on my birthday instead of going for a traditional cake. I love how easy this recipe was to make and it tasted even better than store bought rolls. These cinnamon rolls were a hit with my friends and family, thank you soo much
Can you use almond milk and dairy free butter instead? Trying to make a dairy free cake. Thanks!
Hi Mariah, we haven’t tested those exact substitutions, but they should work. The dough may not be as light and fluffy. Let us know how it goes!
I made the dough in my bread maker and it worked fine. Fantastic idea with a very tasty and showy result! I could eat it all myself, but I’ll try to share some with my husband!
I don’t have whole milk but I have half and half. Can I substitute the whole milk for half and half? And how much would I need?
Hi Carol, that should be fine. Same amount.
This was amazing! It comes together surprisingly fast since there’s not much of a first rise. I used the overnight instructions which made it really easy to just take out of the refrigerator first thing this morning for the brunch we hosted. I made it in a springform pan with parchment underneath and it came out easily for transferring to a cake plate. The looks on all the kids faces when they saw the enormous cinnamon roll was priceless! I think all my baked goods for the brunch today were Sally’s Baking Addiction recipes. This is my go-to site for recipes and they never disappoint!
Going to make this this weekend! I want to serve it on a cake stand. Have you tried making it in a spring form pan for easy removal?
Hi Meaghan, We haven’t, but it should work just fine in a 9 inch springform pan. Enjoy!
Sooooo good! Thank you!
I haven’t made it YET but it’s on my menu for Friday after Thanksgiving. My favorite part about the whole recipe? When you say, “I repeat, it’s a cinnamon roll the size of your head.” ROFL I mean… who can’t NOT try it after that kind of disclaimer? LOL LOVE YOUR SITE SO MUCH!!!
Can you add nuts and raisins or will they fall out?
Hi Julie, we can’t see why not — try adding 1/2 cup – 1 cup of nuts and raisins with the filling (to your liking). Let us know how it goes!
Can I follow the freezer directions but thaw overnight in the refrigerator instead of for just a few hours? Any changes to the baking instructions when baking from thawed (since it’ll be cold)?
Hi Kat, we fear that if the partially baked cinnamon roll cake is in the refrigerator overnight, that it may rise a bit too much. If you can, we recommend sticking to just a few hours before finishing it off. Or, you can follow the freezing instructions for a fully baked cinnamon roll cake, which thaws overnight in the refrigerator and is reheated in the morning. Still delicious that way!
I plan to try it for part of a breakfast for 9 Pheasant hunters coming to Iowa this Saturday. Don’t want to fail them so need to know if yeast has to be the Platinum or can I use the Quick Rise instant yeast I have now. It’s Red Star Brand. Thank you, Can’t wait to make it!!
Hi Sandra, yes, you can absolutely use that instead. Hope the cake is a hit!
Hi! I saw you mention this could sit overnight. I was wondering if you think making the dough and shaping it 24-36 hours ahead would work? Thanks?
Hi Sophia! The dough would likely rise too much in that amount of time.
Can you please tell me if you have ever doubled this recipe? My grandaughter asked me for a cinnamon roll birthday cake and I think we would need one bigger! Do you think it would cook evenly and all the way through if I made the strips wider to roll and a loittle bit bigger around?
Hi Sandie, we havent’t tested it but other readers have successfully doubled this recipe for a larger cinnamon roll cake.
I tried this recipe for the first time today (prepared last night, refrigerated, let rise/baked this morning). It was perfect….looked just like Sally’s. It was delicious and enjoyed by my guests. Thank you! I will definitely make another one soon. I appreciated the video instructions on how to wrap the layers…..it was so easy! Thank you!
This was so good! I was worried mine wouldn’t bake through after seeing some of the comments about it being raw in the center, but I went ahead and tried it and it was delicious! I doubled the cinnamon sugar filling and doubled the icing ingredients( cause everything’s better with more icing!) Thanks Sally for this awesome cake!
This recipe is superb! My husband wanted a ‘cinnamon roll’ cake for his birthday and this was a hit.
First of all, the texture of the dough was a treat. It rolls out smooth and is so easy to work with. It reminded me of play dough, not sticky and it was firm enough to easily manipulate. Secondly, the cinnamon sugar paste spread so nicely onto the dough it was very satisfying, the dough didn’t wrinkled or tear under the pressure it took to spread it evenly.
It cooked evenly (I did tent some foil over it for the last 10-15 minutes) and when we ate it, it felt like all the inside layers were like the center pieces of regular sized cinnamon rolls.
It looks impressive and has the wow factor that a pan of cinnamon rolls wouldn’t be able to give. It also looks nice when it is cut and served.
I made a cream cheese icing and we ate it for bday celebrations and breakfast today!
I will definitely make this again and again, it has such a satisfying feel to assemble and is a delight to the tastebuds
My families eyes lit up when I brought this out and it didn’t disappoint . Step by step directions were simple and exact . I will be making this often!
Fabulous! Made this with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs for fathers day breakfast…oh yum! Made it exactly as described but sneaked some pecans into it. Done perfectly, rose beautifully. Didn’t have to spatula it down. My husband thinks ‘Sally’ is a close friend…bake one of her recipes at least once a week. Thank you so much, good friend, perfect again! 😉
I have never been moved to leave a movie, column, let alone recipe review. That out of the way, lol…
I’m 57 years old, and cooked professionally for 22 years prior to starting a consulting firm. For a one off I surfed for a mothers day recipe *treat* this a.m. for my palliative mother.
I executed your recipe verbatim, and we concurred it was the best d*mn bun we’ve ever eaten.
And I’ve been around ma’am.
Humility now pocketed I am researching your site for more.
Phenomenal! I did add a little more brown sugar and cinnamon, but I think it might of fallen out while I put it together anyways. I used a glass pie plate. I would recommend checking the center – even if it looks done and is starting to brown, center may be a bit raw. Thee people ate the whole thing in one sitting -OOOPPPPS. I also let everyone scoop their own frosting on this piece(s).
I absolutely love your orange rolls but thought this cake size would be so fun for Mothers Day brunch! I see the recipes are different. Could I use the orange roll recipe and bake it as one giant roll? Any other ideas how to combine the two? Thank you Sally, I love your recipes!!
Hi Milly, You could shape the orange rolls as a giant cake if you wish to use that recipe. Let us know if you give it a try!
If you notice the top or edges browning too quickly, tent the cake with aluminum foil.
Can you explain this please
Hi Maria, loosely covering the cinnamon roll with aluminum foil will prevent it from browning too much in the oven.
Making this for a birthday, have you doubled in and made in a big cake pan?
I wonder did you double it as I’m thinking of doing this as well! How did it turn out for you? I would like to have it larger for my grandaughters 16 birthday cake
I forgot to ask but i use the active dry yeast and i have 2 questions
1. would i still use 2 and 1/4 teaspoon for the yeast
2.Before adding it to the flour do i combine it with the milk and butter let it become active and then add it to the flour
Hi Maria, If using active-dry yeast, use the same amount and whisk the yeast into the warm butter/milk mixture instead of into the dry ingredients. The rise time will take a little longer if using active dry yeast.
Oh shoot! I already added it! after I baked it earlier. Should I make more to put on top after?
The icing may melt into the cinnamon roll when you warm it (which will be delicious!) you can definitely make more to add after warming.
Thank you so much Sally! I forgot to ask you…what temp to reheat…if so how long? Should I make more icing for serving?
Thanks in advance xx Can’t wait to try…I made two and they look delicious!!
Hi Jenna! You can reheat for a few minutes in a 350 F degree oven. Wait to add the icing until after you reheat the cinnamon roll.
Hello! Im making this recipe right now for tomorrow’s Easter dinner. It is currently rising for 1 to 2 hours. I was wondering if once it has rised should I bake it today? Or wait until tomorrow? I have two toddlers so I decided to make today instead of tomorrow as Easter morning will be verh busy here!
Can I reheat in oven tomorrow until warm? We were planning on serving it warm with vanilla icecream
Hi Jenna, see recipe notes for overnight instructions. Otherwise you can reheat before serving tomorrow!
I was thinking of making this for my wedding cake and later different size tiers! What is the shelf life? Would it dry out during the time it would be sitting out on display?
Hi Brittany! 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. If it’s fresh when put out for a wedding, it should be okay at room temperature for a few hours. Let us know if you give it a try — such a fun idea!
I made this today for the 1st time. The biggest problem I’m having is keeping my husband away from it until after dinner! This recipe is a keeper, Thank you.
I have made this twice(it’s excellent) and followed everything to the letter but the very center of mine is still a little raw I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong!
Hi Jodi, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! It sounds like yours could benefit from a few more minutes in the oven – which is an easy fix for next time! If you notice that the top is browning before the center is baked through, loosely tent with aluminum foil as it bakes.