Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Sometimes you want a showstopper breakfast. This Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake is that recipe!

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake is the perfect breakfast or brunch recipe! It's an easier recipe than it looks, filled with fresh strawberries.

Before we talk about the recipe, let’s talk about something serious. #Youshouldbeusedtothatbynow

This week, April 19-26, 2015, is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Many of you may have read my infertility story (and thank you for reading!) but I wanted to bring to light NIAW because infertility is still a topic that is close to my heart. You see, infertility never goes away. It’s always there with you, lurking behind the scenes.

We are so lucky to have been blessed with our daughter, just over 10 years ago. But just because we had a happy ending doesn’t mean it’s not still there, close by. I think about our story and our choices often. Every time IVF makes the news, I think about it. Every time a friend gets pregnant, my infertility is there, waiting to remind me of it’s existence.

I think that many people who go through the infertility process make peace with their choices. We have made peace with our choice to only have one child. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the babies I won’t have. I think about them often.

Whenever someone asks me where the rest of my kids are, I am reminded.

Whenever I look at Jordan and think about the fact that, when we get old, she’ll be taking care of us alone without sibling support, I think about them.

Whenever my daughter speaks out loud what she’s thinking inside and says, her voice full of longing, “I wish I had a sister,” I think about the sister I didn’t give her and my heart breaks a little.

Infertility is like a wound: it scabs over but it never heals, not completely.

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe made with fresh strawberries and lemon cream cheese icing!

When I began my journey 12 years ago, I was young. I was living in a completely new state at the time and none of the women I knew were married, let alone having babies. When we realized there would be problems with conceiving, I felt like I was all alone. No one else knew what I was going through. No one else cringed every single time a friend ended up pregnant or someone asked “when are you going to have kids already???!!!”

But I wasn’t alone. That’s the dirty little secret of the journey of infertility. You’re not alone: 1 in 8 women will experience some form of infertility. Look around you. You probably know more than 8 women. How many of them have suffered along this road? Many of them in suffer in silence for fear of the dumb things people say or because they’re private people, or because they think no one understands.

Luckily, I’m not one of those private people. I’ll tell anyone who will listen about my experience. Ask me about my “other kids” on a day where I’m in a vulnerable (read: bitchy) mood and you’ll hear more about vasectomies that you ever wanted to know.

The theme this year for NIAW is You are not alone. I wanted to talk about this today because that statement is the single most important thing you need to realize when you’re going through infertility. You are not alone. If you’re feeling like you have no one to talk to about your journey; if you’re struggling with the emotional weight of this alone, don’t. First of all, I’m here. You have me. Chances are, there are other women you know too. And if you don’t know anyone else, RESOLVE is there for you. RESOLVE helped me so much 12 years ago. I went to monthly dinners with 15 women in various stages of infertility. It was exactly what I needed to get me through the process.

Maybe someday the babies I didn’t have will stop haunting my dreams. Until then, I’ll just write prose on the internet and talk to my several friends who’ve been through it. What a difference a decade makes.

And now? Now we can talk about the most awesome cinnamon roll ever. It’s a GIANT cinnamon roll cake. With fresh strawberries inside!

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe made with fresh strawberries and lemon cream cheese icing!

I first saw a giant cinnamon roll cake on my friend Heather’s blog. I immediately filed that in my memory and thought, someday I want to make one of those babies.

Someday is today.

I didn’t want to make a regular flavor because I’ve made regular cinnamon rolls before. I wanted to make a flavor. First, I thought funfetti (which I am going to make some day). Then two things happened: I made strawberry shortcake and my store had a sale on strawberries.

Decision made: A Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll that looks like a cake.

This is one of those desserts people look at and think they are really complicated, but it’s not. It’s SO EASY, I promise. I’m even going to show you how easy it is:

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake (1 of 18)

You start with your basic cinnamon roll recipe. I made the normal cinnamon brown sugar filling, but then I added fresh chopped strawberries. I tossed the berries with sugar and cornstarch to make sure they didn’t become a wet mess all over the dough, so don’t skip that step!

Roll up the dough like normal. At this point you can make these into Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls and cut the log into 9 or 12 pieces and bake them like any cinnamon roll. Or, you can continue the process below and make a cake!

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake (2 of 18)

Slice the log in two. Isn’t it pretty?

Then grease a 9″ round cake pan. Use the kind of spray with flour, if you have it, especially if you plan to remove it to a serving platter.

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake (3 of 18)

Then spiral your half-logs into the pan. Roll one half into a tight spiral. Place it in the center of the pan.

Wrap the second half around the edge and pinch it to meet (see the bottom left of that pan picture).

Note on rising time: normally, with this recipe, I do all this work, then put the pan in the refrigerator overnight so I don’t have to get up at 4am to make the whole thing. I did NOT do the overnight step because I was worried that the strawberries would weep too much, causing the cinnamon roll to stick to the pan when it’s baked. You are welcome to do the overnight rise – I’ve done that with blueberry rolls before and it worked okay, but they did weep.

What you can do, if you don’t want to do all the work the day of, is get to the rising step BEFORE you roll out the dough and fill it, and chill that. Just place the bowl of rising dough in the fridge after it’s risen, then proceed with rolling filling and spiraling in the morning.

Then you bake it and drizzle it with lemon cream cheese frosting (you can leave the lemon out if you prefer).

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe made with fresh strawberries and lemon cream cheese icing!
Then you cut it like a cake. In fact, this could be a cake. Serve it for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Having made this – and realized how easy it is – I’m making it for my birthday cake this year.

Seriously. But then it would have to be funfetti.

This Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch. My favorite cinnamon roll recipe is filled with fresh strawberries and then rolled up like a cake and frosted with lemon icing!

And, as we all know, when Jordan requests it for her 11th birthday…it’ll be mint flavored.

If you couldn’t tell, cinnamon roll cake is, like, my new favorite thing. 🙂

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

Can you see why?

Did you make this recipe?

Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

Instead of making cinnamon rolls, make a Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll Cake! It’s a stunning brunch recipe, especially with lemon icing!

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm non-fat milk (heated to about 120 degrees, about 45-60 seconds in the microwave)
  • 1/3 cup + 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 – 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Paddle attachment & dough hook for your mixer

For the Filling:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, very soft
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or milk

Directions:

Make the Dough:

  1. Place milk in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat for 45-60 seconds in the microwave, until it’s about 120°F. (The time you heat it will need to be adjusted depending on your microwave. You can use a candy or a meat thermometer to test the temperature.) Add yeast and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar, butter, salt, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the butter is distributed throughout the liquids, although it may be chunky. Pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add flour and stir with the paddle attachment just until the mixture starts to stick to the paddle. Then replace the paddle with the dough hook. Continue mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball in the center of the bowl. If dough is still very sticky, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough ball in it. Spray the top of the dough ball with cooking spray (lightly) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 2-4 hours until it doubles in size. Note on rising: if your house is warm, it should rise no problem. If it’s cold in your house, it may take longer for the dough to rise.

Prepare your Rolls:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9” round cake pan with the cooking spray with flour.
  2. Stir together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour until it forms a paste.
  3. Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 10” by 14”. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the top and then spread it as evenly as possible over the rectangle, making sure to reach to the sides so the outer rolls have enough filling.
  4. Stir diced strawberries with cornstarch and sugar. Sprinkle over filling.
  5. Roll the dough up tightly from the long end. Slice the roll into two long halves, split open. Roll one into a tight spiral and place in the center of your pan. Wrap the other half around the spiral filling the edges of the pan and stretch it so the ends meet. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Alternately, you can slice it into 9-12 equal rounds. Place the rolls into a 9” pan for 9 rolls or a 9×13” pan for 12 rolls. Bake 23-28 minutes until they are golden brown on top.

Make the frosting:

  1. Whisk the melted butter and softened cream cheese until mostly smooth. If your cream cheese is too stiff, you can use a hand mixer. Whisk/beat in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons lemon juice or milk, adding more as desired for thickness. Pour over warm rolls and serve.

Notes:

NOTE: I normally let this dough sit overnight in the refrigerator just so it’s easier to bake in the morning with less active time by me. You can do this with this cake but know that the berries will leak liquid a little. It may make the cake stickier after baking, but will work out okay, it just may not remove from pan (so if you want to do that, line the pan with foil before spraying.)

What you can do, if you don’t want to do all the work the day of, is get to the rising step BEFORE you roll out the dough and fill it, and chill that. Just place the bowl of rising dough in the fridge after it’s risen, then proceed with rolling filling and spiraling in the morning.

All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

ALL of these recipes could be made into Cinnamon Roll Cakes using the same method:

Skinny Cinnamon Rolls

Heart Healthier Cinnamon Rolls (5 of 10)w

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – with a yeast rising tutorial!

 

 

Perfect Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (22 of 27)w

Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls

Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls (7 of 6)

Almond Sweet Rolls

Almond Sweet Rolls (6 of 10)w

Enjoy!

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80 comments

  1. I think you are a very brave women for talking about your infertility; giving people confidence and reassuring them that they are not alone as being alone is not the way forward. This cinnamon roll looks amazing, I love strawberries in anything so this is perfect!  

  2. First of all, anyone who asks where the rest of your kids are is so awfully clueless. Why haven’t people learned to keep their mouths shut?
    I’m SO happy that you’ve got Jordan, especially because from what you write and share, she is an absolutely wonderful kid. 
    And this giant cinnamon roll is one of the best breakfast options I’ve ever seen. LOVE it!

  3. You are not kidding, what a showstopper!!

  4. I cannot believe people ask you where your “other kids are,” really that’s some nerve! Anyway this giant strawberry cinnamon roll is so gorgeous!! I’ll have to give it a try, looks delicious 🙂

  5. The things people will say without thinking – unbelievable.  So sorry you’ve had to deal with those hurtful comments, that’s awful.
    This cake is amazing, I love the idea of making cinnamon rolls into a cake, and adding strawberries just makes it even better!  Love this!

    • I know, and I think that people don’t even realize what they’re saying. It usually takes someone who has been through IF or knows someone who has that makes them pause and not ask those silly questions! Thank you for reading!

  6. This is an awesome cake and I bet the berries, with the soft dough, the frosting…this is like the best cinnamon roll ever! And it’s giant, even better 🙂

    And every year when you share about your infertility journey I am reminded again of all the crosses you have had to bear and I’m so sorry, Dorothy! You are also brave and awesome for speaking about it publicly and bringing awareness to it all 🙂 xoxoxo

  7. This has to be the most beautiful cinnamon roll I have ever seen!!!  As for those people asking where your other kids are, they just need to keep your mouth shut!  You are such a wonderful person and by sharing your story have helped so many not feel like they are the only one!  Great Job Dorothy!!  

  8. This is a showstopper. It is so beautiful and it looks delectable!

  9. That is one incredible cake.

    I haven’t written a full infertility post yet, but you’ve definitely got my gears turning, Dorothy. IVF isn’t the magic bullet people think it is, not to mention the expense and toll on your psyche. 

    I know I (and you) would do it all over again because of the result we’ve had, but my heart aches today for all the mothers out there with babies in their heart instead of their arms. It’s such a difficult road to walk, without having people say insensitive things like our kids not being “real”, or a myriad of other crap. Thank you for speaking out about it.

    • It’s totally not. I know how lucky we got (and we had the knowledge of the problem on our side; I can’t imagine not knowing WHY, you know?) Thank you so much for reading!

  10. I love this post, Dorothy! I nearly teared up reading your words; this topic is sits very close to home. It’s hard and it never really gets easier. I hadn’t heard of Resolve but just looked it up and I’m stoked to see a group in my nearest metro city. Thanks you so much for sharing! This cake looks amazing by the way!

  11. Maybe it’s not your children who are haunting your dreams but your Grandchildren………….

    Blessings on you and all women who want (more) children.

  12. Beautiful food and beautiful story! Goes along with my beautiful daughter. Love you lots.
    xoxo

  13. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. Although I have two sweet children (via IVF), I will never forget the sadness and emptiness that infertility causes. With Mother’s Day approaching, I think it’s so important to remember the women who are longing to be mothers too. It can be a long and lonely journey. xx

  14. Oh, the insensitive, crass comments!  After struggling with infertility for 5 years, we finally had a baby on the way, and a friend of my husband asked where the baby was conceived (#notmyfavoritefriend). You are doing a wonderful job of educating women and mentioning the resource of Resolve (which a friend of mine, who also had struggled before having children, had kindly told me about).  And this recipe – I have been waiting for this!  It is the best breakfast pastry I have ever had! 

  15. This recipe looks amazing , can’t wait to try it. Thank you for helping bring awareness about infertility. I’ve been dealing with it for 12 years and have lost 4 babies. 

  16. My oh my!  What a fantastically delicious idea! 

  17. Looks incredibly yummy, and so whimsical! I love the idea of cutting it into slices like a cake!

  18. I love all things cinnamon! Can’t wait to try this! And it was a bonus to read about your journey. It always surprises me (in a good way) to learn about other’s struggles with IF. I know the roller coaster and its so true about the wounds never really closing. I was so bitter when we couldn’t have a second and couldn’t pull myself out of it. Add in the fact that I was already AMA and I was downright miserable to be around – at least on the inside. I wore the mask of “happiness” well. Only a select few friends new the pain I was in. And then I ended up being one of the lucky ones. My miracle baby floored me and sent me to my knees.

    My heart goes out to those starting their journey, to those somewhere in the middle, and those who have completed their family (whether by choice or not).

    Hugs.

  19. It’s wonderful to know that you found strength and support at such a difficult time in your life. You’re lucky to have Jordan and she seems like such a light in your family. Thank you for sharing your story. This strawberry cinnamon roll cake is totally drool-worthy. I want all of that frosting. YUM!

  20. “Whenever I look at Jordan and think about the fact that, when we get old, she’ll be taking care of us alone without sibling support, I think about them.” Dorothy, you’re making me all emotional and weepy this morning. .  what a lovely, honest post. .  I really loved reading this one!!! thanks for sharing! 

  21. Aww…I’m so sorry for the pain you experience. May God bless you immensely for being willing to share and being open with others.

    And as for this…I’ve always wanted to make a gigantic cinnamon roll. This is just beautiful.

  22. I always felt very much alone as well. I really had no one to talk to, and I am very private anyway. I’m so sorry you have to carry the burden of infertility. I understand the pain. So thankful you have Jordan 🙂
    And this cake…I have no words. AMAZING!!!

  23. Perfect. 🙂 

    Thank you for speaking up about your struggle, too. I’m a big believer in the idea that by bringing subjects like this out of the shadows, we make them less of a taboo, and we come closer together. And the cake is a perfect way to connect, too!

  24. First:  This Giant Strawberry Cinnamon Roll. You are making this for me, mmmmkay?  May baby.  May.

    Second:  The way you talk about the children you didn’t have haunting you feels so much like how I feel about Elliot.  I know that it is different, but it’s also very similar.  Aside from my grief, I ache for all the things we are missing in not having him as part of our brood.  I ache for Gavin not having a brother.  I get frustrated when people comment on the gap in age between Gavin and Quinn.  In a way, I understand.  Big hugs to you my friend.  Thank you for writing this post!

  25. It is not easy to open your heart and wounds to the world, but you have done it with grace and dignity. I am so sorry for the pain you have endured! Your beautiful daughter is so lucky to have her most amazing mom. 🙂

  26. Forgot to mention: I WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE NOW. #thatisall

  27. infertility SUCKS – plain and simple
    but man oh man this cake …what does suck is that I don’t have it sitting in front of  me right now

  28. I am so sorry you had to go through the infertility journey. That’s in no way warranted since you’re a wonderful mother, and it pains me that you are put in this unfair position. The silver lining, of course, is your beautiful miracle daughter who brings joy to everyone’s lives! And on a lighter note, this cake, because OMG. I love you! 

  29. This is the biggest cinamon roll I’ve ever seen! I don’t think I can just eat one slice. I want the whole thing!! YUM! 

  30. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My sweet wonderful awesome daughter who would have made an extraordinary mother suffered from infertility problems. Because of all the health issues she suffered from her and her husband finally decided it was time to have a hysterectomy. This was just a few weeks ago so this is an extremely painful time for them.. Not only was she completely devastated but so was I. My heart still breaks thinking about the children she could never have. She doesn’t even like to go to her church because so many of the women are having children and they have not a clue how left out and lonely she feels. Thank you again for sharing your story. The picture of that amazing cinnamon roll caught my attention first (which I definitely plan to make) but it was your story that has helped this mama’s heart this morning.

  31. Thanks, Dorothy, for sharing your story. You’re amazing women! And this cake is just beautiful and soon delicious!

  32. I had no idea that this week was National Infertility Awareness Wee, I too suffer from infertility issues. I wish that I could reach through and hug you although I know that won’t even begin to ease the pain. 

  33. Beautiful Cake! I’m looking forward to that Funfetti Roll Cake!

  34. Totally crazy gorgeous cinnamon roll and I’m sure this will be a hugely encouraging post to so many women as well!

  35. Wow Dorothy, This looks over-the-top delicious!

  36. I have missed you, Dorothy, and your stories and your sharing and your ridiculously insane desserts/breakfasts mascarading as desserts. I am as impressed as always with your willingness to share your personal stories so that other women know that they are not alone. I think that is so important. My heart is filled with love for you and your family. Jordan is so lucky. So, so lucky. xo

  37. Thanks for sharing your personal and emotional thoughts on the topic of infertility Dorothy.  You will bring a lot of awareness to the topic through your blog and I thank you for that. This strawberry cinnamon roll is epic!

  38. Hugs girl! You are so SO brave an I am so SO proud of you. You help so many women who are dealing with the same struggles when  you open yourself and your life up like this. You are a beautiful and amazing woman with the most stellar kid a girl could ask for. 

    And this cinnamon roll cake. I was in awe of Heather’s and put that on my to-do list too. It just got bumped up a few spots 😉 Love this! Perfect for Mother’s Day!

  39. This is such an important read — thank  you for bravely sharing your story. I have so many friends who have similar stories and it breaks my heart. I believe in God and His plan but one thing I will NEVER understand is why so many women who would be amazing moms can’t get pregnant when it’s the only thing they truly want. And then for others, it’s so easy. Definitely sharing your this. 

    PS: This cake! It goes without saying that it is amazing!!!

  40. Thanks for being so open about your struggles with infertility.  Too many women feel less feminine because of it, but if more were brave enough to share, it wouldn’t be such a hush-hush topic.  Blogging is a great platform to share these experiences with others who don’t have such an outlet.  Please continue to speak up!  And btw, this cake is ridiculously awesome! 😉

  41. You are such an inspiration girl!!!  I know this wasn’t easy, but I know this post is going to help so many ladies that struggle with infertility!  I love how honest and raw you are when you write!  Sending you major hugs across the miles!  I puffy heart love you!  And this cinnamon roll cake has been on my list of things to make too!!!  It is absolutely amazing looking!!!

  42. Props to you for sharing such a personal story! HUGS!!!!  
    And this cake looks amazing!

  43. You are truly amazing and I admire you so much for always be so open and honest.  Jordan is so lucky to have such an incredible mom  but I know she is equally as wonderful too! I love that you are bringing awareness to this because it will be helping so many women. xo!

  44. It took me a little while to get up the nerve to read this.  I knew what you were talking about and having struggled with it too, sometimes it is hard to deal.  Just like you, my “issue” is that my daughter is an only child.  I was an only and swore I would never have an “only”.   Well, life did not really give me a choice.  I heard my own words echoed in this post and am so glad I read it.  You helped to displace the guilt.  The next time someone tells me I should do more at school because I only have one child, I am going to refer them to this post!

    • Oh my gosh Christie, people are such jerks. I hate when people talk like that and I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with it too. Sometimes I want to make a t-shirt that says “ask me why I only have one kid and I’ll tell you about my husband’s vasectomy” just so they shut up. I’m sending you hugs. <3 Thank you for reading and sharing!

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