Cake 35: Homemade Cinnamon Roll Cake


Making this homemade cinnamon roll cake recipe from scratch brought back memories from my childhood I just have to share. It’s more of a confession, really. When my brother Cody and I were growing up, there were a few special things my dad permitted us to have for breakfast once in a while that broke away from our usual cereal and milk. Sometimes it was donuts from the little local donut shop, Holt’s on Main Street, right down the street from our house. Other times, it was just a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. These were an occasional Friday morning treat. So Cody and I would bust open the can, layout the 8-pack of pre-made cinnamon rolls in a round pan and wait anxiously as they baked in the oven. When they came out of the oven and had a few minutes to cool (if we could wait that long) we would grab a spoon from the drawer and start spreading that cream cheese icing over the whole gooey mess. Inevitably, the middle cinnamon roll would always be a little more squished than all the others — which made it the ideal frosting receptacle. It always had the most frosting running down the sides. SO, being the rotten big sister I was, with Cody four years my junior, I spent a significant amount of time convincing Cody that the best cinnamon rolls were the slightly crispy ones on the outside so I could get the gooey, frosting-drenched inside cinnamon roll. (Sorry, Cody.)

When I pulled this cake out of the oven tonight and the softest part was still in the center and I began pouring my homemade cream cheese icing on it, I couldn’t help but laugh at that memory of me manipulating my poor kid brother so I could get what I want. I have to say I prefer this cake over the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, but I still have a special place in my heart for them and probably always will because of this memory.

Anywho, get ready to have your mind blown. I’ve never seen a cinnamon roll cake recipe that doesn’t call for yellow cake mix, but you know me, I can’t stand the stuff. So here’s an original homemade cinnamon roll cake recipe made from scratch.This is melt-in-your mouth good, incredibly delicious and decadent cinnamon roll cake gooeyness.

Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the kitchen mixer bowl. Mix in the vegetable oil on a low mixing speed using the paddle attachment. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then a medium-high speed  for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula occasionally. Pour the cinnamon roll cake batter into a greased 9×13 cake pan (or I used my Wilton flower cake pan). In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan pieces. Pour over cake batter. Swirl into the cake batter with knife. One or two good spirals starting in the middle should do the trick. The cake naturally folds into itself while it’s baking and you get that neat swirl of bown sugar, cinnamon and nuts on the inside of the cake. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (I used my Wilton flower cake pan and it took nearly 45 minutes.) The cake should be a rich golden brown color, especially on the outside edges. Make sure the center portion isn’t jiggly – that means it’s undercooked and still doughy. If that happens to you, continue baking for 2-3 minute increments until you get the desired texture. The cake should spring back when gently pressed.

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons of milk

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe Directions

While the cake is cooling, beat together the softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered  sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Slowly add milk until you reach the desired consistency (you can stop short of 5 tablespoons if you like). Let cake cool 10 or 15 minutes in the pan before icing with the cream cheese glaze. Spread the cream cheese icing on the still-warm cake.

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About 

Heather Physioc is an SEO/CRO professional in Kansas City. She is a vegetarian food-lover who finds joy in cooking, baking and finding funky new restaurants. She leads a pack of dogs, including her beagle Ford, and her shepherd-collie-retriever mix, Otto, and also has a cat named Ahab. She lives with her military spouse, Luke.
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7 Responses to “Cake 35: Homemade Cinnamon Roll Cake”

  1. MJ says:

    This looks amazing!Poor Cody :( the squishy ones are the best though.

  2. GC says:

    This has been declared a keeper by your granddad.
    I think next time I will decrease powdered sugar by 1/2 cup. A little
    too sweet for me.

    Love, GC

  3. B.J. says:

    Tried this for Sunday breakfast and it was excellent. However I would not regulate it to the breakfast category only. Agree the icing is a bit sweet but the recipe was easy and everything (with the possible exception of Sour Cream) is a pantry staple. Love it.

  4. Erica Martin says:

    I baked this for Easter dessert…and it was a huge success! I even got my Hubby to love it, and he does not much care for cinnamon! My special twist (if you can call it that) was that I used Missouri pecans, so they were very fresh.

    I was not successful at ‘swirling’ the brown sugar and pecan mix into the batter, so it came out as more of a topping (which still tasted great). Maybe next time instead of a knife I’ll try a spatula to improve my technique.

    For some reason my first attempt at the frosting failed. I think the cream cheese curdled in between mixing. But my second batch was perfect and also delicious. I, too, cut the powdered sugar amount done to about 1.25 cups total, and used about 2 tablespoons milk (could have used 1 more).

    All in all, the cake was delicious! Thank you!

  5. vanessa hentz says:

    Will this cake be okay to put in a mason jar and ship to the deployed hubby? this sounds really good.

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