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Cinnamon Roll Cake is like a cinnamon roll in cake form. Sweet cinnamon crumble swirled through a white cake and topped with luscious cream cheese frosting. To die for!
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Cinnamon Roll Cake is the perfect dessert when you’re craving cinnamon rolls but just don’t have the time or patience for all that raising and waiting and baking. You know what I mean, right? Cinnamon rolls are WORK. But this moist, homemade cinnamon roll cake is just the opposite. Simple to make, big cinnamon flavor and done in a snap! I got this recipe from my friend Lesa years ago when we were in college and have been making it ever since. Every time I make this for a crowd I have people begging for this recipe. I was pretty much swatting my kids away with a stick just so I could take the picture. It’s a real favorite, and it will be for you too!
Ingredients in Cinnamon Roll Cake
Combine an easy cake mix, a buttery streusel filling and a luscious cream cheese frosting and you have a delicious, easy cinnamon roll cake recipe that you’ll find yourself making over and over again. Here’s what you need:
- One box white cake mix – In a stand mixer, prepare cake as directed on box. Most call for an egg, vegetable oil and water. You can also use a yellow cake mix or vanilla cake mix too. Bake cake as directed in a baking dish lined with parchment paper or sprayed with baking spray.
- Cinnamon – about a teaspoon or so depending on how much you like cinnamon.
- Graham cracker crumbs – use a food processor or rolling pin to crush graham crackers into crumbs.
- Butter – You’ll need melted butter for this streusel to whisk in with the cinnamon, sugar and graham cracker crumbs.
- Brown sugar -The rich sugar dissolves into the melted butter for a delicious glaze that blends so well with the other ingredients.
- OPTIONAL: If you have nut fans in your house, chop some walnuts or pecans and mix in with the streusel or sprinkle on top of the warm cake.
Secret to the Streusel Filling
The star of this show, aside from the fluffy cream cheese frosting, which we will get to, is the crumbly, buttery streusel-like mixture that is swirled throughout the cake. The secret? Graham crackers! Combining crushed graham crackers with cinnamon, brown sugar and butter gives the mixture a crunchy texture that will knock your socks off! It doesn’t even taste like graham crackers, but provides a texture that can’t be beat. Start by placing a drizzle on top of the cake batter and swirl it all through the white cake with a toothpick. Save some to crumble over the top of the frosting as a garnish.
Tips for Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting
Perhaps my very favorite part of cinnamon rolls is the luscious, dreamy and creamy icing that goes on top. Here are a few tips to making the very best frosting:
- Make sure your cream cheese and butter is at room temperature.
- Whip the cream cheese and butter together in a medium bowl for a few minutes to make it light and fluffy before adding any other ingredients.
- Slowly add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing constantly. Sift the sugar to give the powder a light consistency.
- If it’s too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- I like to add the vanilla at the end, then beat on high for about three to five minutes or until it’s nice and fluffy.
- Spread on top of the cooled 9×13 cake, and add a little bit of the crumble mixture on top if you like.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cinnamon Roll Cake
Store leftover cake tightly covered on the counter for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Storing cake or rolls in an airtight container is key to keeping your baked goods fresh and moist.
Cassia cinnamon is a common choice for baking. It’s less expensive and while it’s a stronger flavor out of the jar, it gets milder during cooking. If you’re looking for a milder flavor to begin with, try Ceylon cinnamon.
READ MORE: 33+ Easy Dessert Ideas
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How to Make Cinnamon Roll Cake
Cinnamon Swirl Cake
- 9×13 inch pan
- Electric Mixer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Spray 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
- Prepare white cake mix according to package directions.
- In separate bowl, combine cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs, butter and brown sugar. Stir until combined and crumbly. Set aside a ½ cup cinnamon mixture in a separate bowl for topping on the frosting.
- Pour half of the cake batter into pan.
- Sprinkle half of the remaining cinnamon mixture over batter, then run a knife through it to swirl.
- Repeat using remaining cake batter and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake according to cake package directions.
- Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency.
- Spread frosting over cooled cake.
- Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of cinnamon mixture on top.
- I love to serve this cake while still slightly warm.
- If the frosting is too thick, you can thin it with a little milk. Only do small amounts at a time to get the perfect spreading consistency.