Cinnamon Roll Cake serves up everything you love about cinnamon rolls in an easy dessert recipe! Golden, fluffy cake, layered with brown sugar filling and a cream cheese glaze to finish it off!
Why should breakfast be the only meal of the day to enjoy piping hot cinnamon rolls? Now it’s a dessert favorite too.
This easy cake recipe is full of sweet filling in the middle and on top.
The cream cheese glaze makes the cake a perfect flavor copy of the sweet breakfast time favorite treat.
Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake
If you’ve ever tried to make cinnamon rolls, they are fussy.
They usually require two round of rising undisturbed. Rolling and cutting.
The delicious flavor combination is undeniably good BUT we are serving it up in a much easier way.
Cinnamon Roll Cake has all the elements of the original rolls presented differently.
An easy cake, cinnamon filling inside and cinnamon topping, then cream cheese frosting or glaze.
It’s a delicious cake!
Though it’s a dessert, no one will tell if you decide to serve it as a breakfast coffee cake recipe too!
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
All Purpose Flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend can be used. To make it gluten-free I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour.
Baking powder. Will help the cake rise and give a soft texture.
Sugar. Granulated sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Granulated sugar is in the cake batter. Brown sugar is in the filling and powdered sugar is in the glaze.
Milk. We used dairy milk. Any fat content would work. Plant milk with mild flavor (almond milk for instance) should work too though we have not tested it.
Eggs. Binds the ingredients and creates a structure for the cake rising.
Vanilla Extract. Adds a homey vanilla flavor to the cake and glaze.
Cinnamon. Gives the classic cinnamon roll flavor.
Cream cheese. Used for the glaze. Be sure it is room temperature or softened. This helps easy blending and ensuring there won’t be lumps of cream cheese.
Add some pecans on top! Roasted pecans would be a delicious addition to the top of the cake.
To toast pecans, layer the pecans on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes stirring often.
Add some raisins. Some people like raisins in their cinnamon rolls. Soak 1 cup of raisins in hot water for 10-15 minutes.
Drain and add the plumped raisins directly to cake batter before divinding it and pouring it into the pan.
Make it a Poke Cake!
A poke cake has holes poked through it from the top allowing a glaze to drizzle down into the cake.
- Prepare the cake and filling as directed.
- When the cake is done baking poke holes all over the top (directly downward).
- Prepare the Pecan filling (listed below) instead of the Cream Cheese Glaze.
- Pour the pecan filling all over the warm cake allowing it to drizzle into the holes.
This would be best served immediately and same day.
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat over the stove until the butter is melted and all of the ingredients are mixed together.
Once the filling is nice and gooey immediately pour it all over the holes in your cake.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
STEP 2. Make the cake batter.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine (photos 1).
Whisk in the granulated sugar (photo 2).
Add the eggs, vanilla, melted butter and milk. Whisk to combine (photos 3-4).
STEP 3. Make the filling.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the filling ingredients: melted butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and milk (photos 5-6).
STEP 4. Assemble the cake.
Spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon half the filling on top (photo 7).
Use a dining knife or toothpick to spread the filling over the surface of the batter (photo 8).
Spoon on the remaining cake batter (photo 9) and smooth to cover filling (photo 10).
Add the remaining filling on top of the batter (photo 11). Pull a dining knife through it to spread it (photo 12).
STEP 4. Bake the Cake.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (photo 13).
STEP 5. Glaze the cake.
While the cake is baking make the glaze.
In a medium mixing bowl using a mixer cream together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract (photo 14).
When it is smooth and lump-free add the milk and mix until smooth (photo 15).
Spoon over the warm cake and serve (photo 16).
Recipe FAQs + Pro Tips
Start with softened cream cheese. If it’s not fully soft or at room temperature you’ll get lumps in the glaze. They are very difficult to smooth out.
Swap a yellow cake mix for a time saving tip. If you are crunched for time you CAN use a regular or gluten-free yellow cake mix. Make the mix as directed as well as the filling in the recipe. Proceed with the instructions as written.
Store the cinnamon roll cake, well sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
Warm in the microwave before serving.
If made as a Poke Cake enjoy the same day it’s made.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
- Candied Pecans with Cinnamon Sugar
- Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies recipe (Cut-Out Sugar Cookies)
- Cranberry White Chocolate Pecan cookies
- Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Carrot Cake Loaf Cake
Cinnamon Roll Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon milk
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with a non-stick baking spray.
Making the cake
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 cups flour, salt and baking powder.
- Whisk in the granulated sugar.
- Add in the vanilla, eggs, melted butter and milk and mix everything together just until combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients: melted butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and milk. Set aside. NOTE: if using the optional pecan filling in the Notes below use those ingredients.
- Divide the cake batter in half. Pour half of it into the bottom of the prepared pan. Smooth for even thickness.
- Divide the filling in half. Spoon half of it over the cake batter. Using a knife or toothpick, swirl the filling around to spread it out.
- Pour the remaining cake batter on top and spread it out to the edges.
- Spoon the remaining filling on top of the cake and use a knife or toothpick to swirl the filling around.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Glaze (make while the cake is baking)
- In a small bowl, using a mixer cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Once mixture is smooth and free of lumps, add in the milk and mix again until combined. Test the glaze with a spoon to see how thick it is. If you prefer a thinner glaze add another tablespoon of milk. NOTE: the glaze will remain the same thickness when added to the cake.
- Pour the glaze over the cake while it’s warm and serve.
- Store in the fridge, due to the cream cheese glaze, and warm up leftovers in the microwave before serving.
1 tbsp. maple syrup
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over the stove until the butter is melted and all of the ingredients are mixed together. Once the filling is nice and gooey immediately pour it all over the holes in your cake.