Cinnamon Roll Cake

5 from 1 vote
cinnamon roll cake slice on white plate with cake behind on platter

Last week I celebrated my 34th birthday. I really can’t believe I’m 34. I mean, I don’t feel a day younger than 38. (Just kidding.)  Age doesn’t matter to me at this point. I know, I know, ask me when I’m 40 and I might sing a different tune. So many of my friends had major issues when we all hit 30. But me? It wasn’t a big deal. The only thing I miss about my 20s is my metabolism. As I turned 34 I realized that, if it follows the same pattern it’s been over the past few years, I only have a short time left before it’s gone completely.

Speaking of metabolism, I managed to run two miles on my birthday (a lot for me). Which proves that I am in way better shape than I was when I was 24. I had never even heard of exercise at that age. So I’m proud of myself for that.
Back over the summer I told my husband that I would be making my own birthday cake this year. My daughter was upset because she wanted to make it (which would have entailed my husband doing it, making him break into a sweat at the thought) so we compromised. I would make the cake and Jordan would decorate it.
I think she did a pretty good job. She was pretty proud of herself.

I really, really love cinnamon rolls. It used to be that I couldn’t pass a Cinnabon without buying one. I’ve been wanting to turn one into a cake for awhile and this is my attempt at that. The cake is a yellow base with a cinnamon-sugar cinnamon swirl. I filled it with brown sugar frosting (that, by the way, tastes exactly like the center of a cinnamon roll) and covered the outside with cream cheese icing.

swirling cinnamon into cake batter collage photos of cake in pan
You swirl the cinnamon sugar into the cake batter. Yum!

Since it’s like a cinnamon roll, that means I can eat it for breakfast right?

This cake is not really metabolism friendly, but it was my birthday. So calories be damned! (And it was totally husband approved. He ate it more than once, which if you know about his Skinny Cow addiction, is a big deal for me.)
Cinnamon Roll Cake
Yellow Cake base from Smitten Kitchen
Printed from

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Layer cake that tastes like a cinnamon roll!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 10 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


For the cake:

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs , room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

For the Brown Sugar Frosting:

  • ¼ cup butter , melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


To make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 6x3” round cake pans. (This cake will alternatively make one 8” square cake or one 9x2” round.)
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, and then beat in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each egg is added. Beat in buttermilk on low speed and stir until just combined. (At this point the mixture will look curdled.) Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined. Spread equally in cake pans. Bang the pans on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
  • Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Pour half on the top of each cake round and swirl with a knife. Bake for 35-38 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the side comes out clean. (I waited until the middle was firm and the cake was overbaked.) Cool completely before frosting.

To make the Brown Sugar Frosting:

  • Blend melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon with a hand mixer. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined. The mixture will be very crumbly at this point. Add milk and beat until smooth, about one minute. Spread on bottom cake layer, adding more around the edges to level out the cake. Place top layer on top of filling.

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Beat butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar slowly, one cup at a time. Add milk, starting with one tablespoon and adding more if needed. If frosting is too sticky, chill for 30 minutes before frosting cake.
  • Frost sides and top of cake. I like to do two coats; one for a “crumb” coat and one to make it look pretty. If you don’t want to do pink and purple 6-year-old decorations, large white roses might look nice. 🙂
  • Store cake in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 119g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 99g | Vitamin A: 534IU | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake
*If you don’t want to buy buttermilk you can make your own! Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup and then add enough whole milk to make 1 total cup of liquid. Let sit 5 minutes and stir before using.
Yield: Two 6×3” layers, one 8” square, or one 9” round. If you do a one layer cake and still want to use the filling you can torte the cake or skip the cream cheese frosting.
This recipe may be linked with:
MondayMingle Monday (Add a Pinch), Joy of DessertsTuesday2 Maids a Baking (2 Maids a Milking), Tea Party Tuesdays (Sweetology), Mushki Loves My Stuff (Mushki Loves), Totally Tasty Tuesdays (Mandy’s Recipe Box), Talent Show Tuesdays (Chef-in-Training). WednesdayCast Party WednesdayMade It On Monday (Lark’s Country Heart), This Chick Cooks.  ThursdaySweet Treats Thursday (Something Swanky), Chic-and-Crafty (Frugal Girls), Turning the Table Thursdays (Around My Family Table), Tasty Thursday (The How-To Mommy). FridaySweet Tooth Friday (Alli-n-son), I’m Lovin’ it Fridays (TidyMom), Friday Favorites (Simply Sweet Home). SaturdaySweets for a Saturday (Sweet as Sugar Cookies), Seasonal Inspiration (Crumbs and Chaos). SundayA Well-Seasoned Life,Sharing Sundays (Everyday Sisters)
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21 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. I made this for my best friend’s birthday. She is a cinnamon roll lover. To make this in a cake form blew her mind!!! The flavors were great!

  2. Hi there! I’m in the process of making this wonderful cake right now, and I just wanted to let you know that in the directions for the cake batter, you forgot to mention when to add the cup of sugar. I tasted the batter and it was so bitter that I realized I forgot it! But thankfully I realized it before baking 😉 Just a little FYI! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I’m a huge fan of cinnamon rolls and , since I’ve never seen a recipe like this for cake, I have to try this one soon.

  4. Happy Belated Birthday, Dorothy! 🙂 Hooray for Jordan. Keep her decorating. Kids love to be in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your sweet birthday cake and recipe at Joy of Desserts.

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! I love the idea of the cinnamon buttercream in the middle. I’ll bet it is wonderful! Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  6. Yum! Cinnamon roll cake sounds amazing…especially for breakfast:-) Happy Birthday to you and congrats on running 2 miles!!!!

  7. wow, this looks awesome and happy belated bday!!! Your daughter did a great job! Have an amazing year!

  8. Happy birthday! Your cake looks super good, and Jordan is quite the decorator! I’m impressed with her style! My granddaughter Ginger is 10 and she likes to decorate too.