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Cinnamon swirl 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 swirl cake is the perfect dessert when you are craving cinnamon rolls but need a cake now! This moist, homemade cinnamon swirl cake is just the opposite. It is simple to make, big cinnamon flavor, and is done in a snap! When you are craving a cinnamon roll this cake is for you! It is a real favorite, and it will be for you too!
Don’t skip out on a homemade cinnamon roll when you can have this cinnamon swirl cake recipe. This cinnamon swirl cake tastes just like a cinnamon roll! It is ooey-gooey and delicious in every bite. The cake is swirled with savory cinnamon, buttery brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs sprinkled throughout. Every bite is warm and comforting just like a cinnamon roll!
Ingredients in Easy Cinnamon Swirl Cake
Combine an easy cake mix, a buttery streusel filling, and a luscious cream cheese frosting and you have a delicious, easy cinnamon swirl cake recipe that you’ll find yourself making over and over again. Take your pantry staple ingredients to the next level and make this delicious cinnamon swirl cake for your friends and family!
- One box white cake mix – In a stand mixer, prepare the cake as directed on the box. Most call for an egg, vegetable oil, and water. You can also use a yellow cake mix or vanilla cake mix too. Bake the 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 will 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 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. These are fun variations to try!
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. Graham crackers are the hidden secret to this delicious cinnamon swirl cake.
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 beaten. 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.
How to Make the Best Cinnamon Swirl Cake
You are going to love how simple this cinnamon swirl cake is to assemble! All the ingredients can be pantry staples and ready to go when you need a quick dessert or a sweet treat for after dinner. Turn your cake mix into a delicious ooey-gooey cinnamon roll cake in minutes! It is the perfect amount of sweetness!
- Cake mix – Prepare white cake mix according to package directions.
- Stir together – In a 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.
- Assemble – Pour half of the cake batter into the pan. Sprinkle half of the remaining cinnamon mixture over the batter, then run a knife through it to swirl. Pour batter and repeat using the remaining cake batter and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake together – Bake according to the cake package directions.
- Frosting – Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency.
- Frosting and serve – Spread frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of cinnamon mixture on top.
Tips for Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting
Perhaps my favorite part of cinnamon rolls is the luscious, dreamy, and creamy icing that goes on top! It is whipped to perfection and tastes just like cinnamon roll frosting. The combination is heavenly and your tastebuds will be thanking you! This easy cinnamon roll cake recipe is one you will make over and over again!
- Room temperature – Make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.
- Beat – 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.
- Sift – Slowly add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing constantly. Sift the sugar to give the powder a light consistency.
- Consistency – If it is too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Adding vanilla – 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. If you haven’t tried almond extract it is another way to enjoy this cream cheese frosting!
- Topping – Spread on top of the cooled 9×13 cake, and add a little bit of the crumble mixture on top if you like.
“Thank you for this recipe! My question, how do you stop eating this cake???? It is sooooo delicious. 🙂”-Lise
Frequently Asked Questions
Storing cake or rolls in an airtight container is key to keeping your baked goods fresh and moist.
Cassia cinnamon is a common choice of spice for baking. It is not as expensive and doesn’t have the strongest flavor out of the jar. While you are cooking it actually becomes milder. Another cinnamon that is popular is Ceylon cinnamon. This cinnamon is milder and less flavorful.
A cinnamon swirl cake is essentially a cinnamon roll that is made into a cake. It has all the same flavors as a cinnamon roll just prepared in a baking pan.
After the topping ingredients are added to the cake batter in the prepared pan, I like to use a butter knife or a fork to swirl the cake. Start on one end of the pan and slowly go from edge to edge creating a swirl as you are moving the knife or fork. The topping will create an “S” shape throughout the batter and spread the topping throughout the cake.
Storing Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Cake
Store leftover easy cinnamon swirl cake tightly covered with plastic wrap on the counter for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five days. When ready to enjoy, simply slice and eat or warm up in the microwave for 10 to 12 seconds. It will melt in your mouth!
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How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Cake
Cinnamon Swirl Cake
- 9×13 inch pan
- Electric Mixer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Prepare white cake mix according to package directions.
- In a 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 the pan.
- Sprinkle half of the remaining cinnamon mixture over the batter, then run a knife through it to swirl.
- Repeat using the remaining cake batter and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake according to the 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.
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