This homemade cinnamon roll cake is from scratch and it is a family pleaser. The cake is moist with an added cinnamon swirl throughout and topped with a vanilla glaze.
This cake comes together pretty quickly and you’ll just bake it in a 13×9 inch pan which makes everything so much easier.
It’s also perfect for any gathering, or you can eat it warmed up for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This cake is really great for the holidays, but it also works for non-holiday occasions.
Bring it with you for your next potluck or get-together and you’ll be everyone’s hero.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about just some of the ingredients for this recipe. (The entire ingredient list is in the recipe card lower in this post.)
All-purpose flour: You won’t be using any fancy flour with this one, just plain all-purpose flour.
Buttermilk: You really want to use real buttermilk if you can get it. It really makes a difference because it gives this cake flavor and helps to make it moist If you absolutely can’t get buttermilk, you can make a substitute, which we’ll get to in the FAQ section below.
Unsalted butter: You’ll use this for both the cake and the cinnamon swirl. You want to make sure and go with real butter and not margarine and make sure you’re using unsalted butter, since using salted may add a bit too much salt.
Cinnamon: This is the main event ingredient in this recipe. I love Saigon cinnamon, but you can use any cinnamon you have.
*The recipe card close to the end of this post will go into all the ingredients and amounts.
The mixing method for this cake couldn’t be easier. You’ll just mix all the ingredients together except the butter. Then you’ll add in the melted butter and mix.
Next, you’ll pour the batter into a greased 13×9 pan and you’ll then mix up the cinnamon swirl. Drop the cinnamon swirl mixture onto the cake batter and you’ll swirl with a knife and bake.
All of the steps will be in the recipe card below.
Tips & FAQs:
It’s really best if you can use real buttermilk. It makes the cake so much tastier and more moist. If you can’t get it though, you can make the substitution below.
To make sour milk as a substitution: Pour 1 ½ cup of milk into a cup or bowl. Take out 1 ½ tablespoon of the milk and replace it with 1 ½ tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Mix together and let it sit for a couple of minutes before adding to the batter.
Yes, you can. You’ll use the same amount that the recipe calls for, you don’t need to adjust. If you can get vanilla bean paste though, the flavor is even better.
Unsalted butter is best here, but you are welcome to try salted if that’s all you have.
I find that greasing the pan with vegetable shortening works the best as sometimes the spray can seem to over-brown the bottom of the cake.
Make sure to read all the instructions in the recipe card. As it will contain all the details.
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Ok let’s get to the recipe!
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Cinnamon Roll Cake from Scratch
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk (see substitution in the notes)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter (1 stick)
For the cinnamon swirl:
- ½ cup softened unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheight.
- Grease a 13×9 inch pan and set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk (or sour milk), eggs and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again, just until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Turn the mixer on medium and slowly add in the melted butter. Mix only until the ingredients are well combined. Don't mix for several minutes here as that will make the cake dense.
- Pour the batter into the greased 9×13 inch pan and set it aside while you make the crumb topping.
For the cinnamon swirl:
- Mix all the topping ingredients together very well. Depending on how soft the butter is, you may need to use a mixer. Sprinkle (or drop) the mixture over the cake and swirl the cinnamon mixture and batter with a knife to marble.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheight for approximately 30-35 minutes. Let the cake sit on a rack for about 20 minutes before adding the glaze.
For the glaze:
- Mix all the glaze ingredients together. Once the cake is fully baked and cooled for about 20 minutes , drizzle the glaze over it. Serve the cake warm.
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Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes.
Hey Oliver…you’re so welcome!
Have you ver added maple syrup or maple extract ti the frosting? If so how much did you add and how much less sugar did you use? Thanks. Great looking recipe.
I haven’t tried that out, but I’d probably go with the extract if you want a stronger maple taste. I’d start off with a 1/2 teaspoon at first and see how it comes out, then adjust if needed. If you go with the actual syrup, I’d probably add maybe a few tablespoons but only a tablespoon or two of the milk at first…mix, then check the consistency. You’re right though as adding the syrup would probably just make the glaze even sweeter…maybe too sweet…so that’s another benefit of going with the flavoring instead.
Does this work as a three layer cake. Will it stand up to the weight of buttercream and extra layers?
Hi Sandi, I haven’t tried it as a layer cake. It may work fine, but it would probably only be enough batter for two, 8-inch round cake layers. It should withstand the weight of buttercream although I have not personally tested that out.