Cinnamon Roll Cake

Um, yeah, so this cake? This gooey, buttery, cinnamon and sugar concoction? It needs you. Badly.

And I’m not even going to pretend it’s light. Or healthy. Or unfilled with butter. Because it’s not.

But that next once in a while when you need a decadent, simple, please-everyone dessert, look no further because this cinnamon roll cake has completely and utterly won us over.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Using one of my very, very favorite {ultra-simple} cakes as the base, dollops of buttery cinnamon and sugar are swirled into the cake batter before baking and then drizzled with a sweet glaze after baking. The silky glaze soaks into all the sticky crevices of gooey cinnamon and sugar, and served warm, it is like cakey cinnamon roll nirvana.

I just can’t get over this cake; made it twice in the last two weeks (partly because of my adoration and partly to perfect my version of it) and it has quickly become a family favorite (as in, the second time I made it, I saw a vast number of fist pumps and cinnamon roll cake dances). I love the fact that it uses every day pantry ingredients, is simple to put together and creates an absolute showstopper of a dessert. All the joy of a cinnamon roll but even sweeter and more delicious in cake form.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

One Year Ago: 40+ Make Ahead Meals!
Two Years Ago: Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Three Years Ago: Glazed Poppy Seed Bread

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Yield: Makes a 9X13-inch pan of cake (9-12 servings)

Cinnamon Roll Cake

As if the glazed cake isn't grand enough, this is absolutely insane served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups light or regular sour cream
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cinnamon Swirl:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the cake batter ingredients and mix well. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon for the swirl mixture. The butter should be soft enough to make a smooth (but not soupy) mixture. Drop the cinnamon/butter mixture by tablespoons over the cake batter. Make sure to get a few dollops close to the edges (otherwise the cake bakes up and squeezes all the cinnamon sugar mixture to the middle).
  4. Using a butter knife, swirl the cinnamon mixture into the cake batter, reaching all the way to the edges and pulling in to create swirls from edge to edge. Don't overswirl - just enough to create generous loops of cinnamon and sugar throughout the cake batter.
  5. Bake the cake for 30-32 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  6. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour evenly over the cake while it is still warm within 5-10 minutes of removing from the oven.
  7. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature (it can be reheated slightly as individual servings in the microwave and tastes just lovely warmed up like that).

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe Andreya L. sent me (used the cake recipe from my chocolate chip cake recipe, adapted glaze and cinnamon/sugar/butter mixture slightly from the recipe she sent) – thanks, Andreya!

102 Responses to Cinnamon Roll Cake

  1. Bev W says:

    Love, love this cake, it was delicious. However, the middle of the cake caved in and the sides were higher all around the cake, I live in high altitude, at about 4,200 ft in northern Utah, do you know if this is an altitude thing and how I can remedy this?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bev – yes, it could possibly be an altitude thing. You might try adding a few more tablespoons flour to the batter and see if that helps.

  2. Jessica Glover says:

    Hi Mel!
    I have to make a breakfast for a PTO meeting next Friday morning and was thinking either cinnamon rolls or a cheese Danish (I have an amazing recipe that make on a sheet pan then cut). Do you think this would work as an actual breakfast item?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Jessica – I’m sure you could use this as a breakfast, but in my personal opinion, it’s definitely a cake-cake. Like, pretty sweet. Having said that, I’m sure there are people that make coffee cake type breakfast cakes that are just as sweet. I’m sure no one would turn it down, even for breakfast!

  3. NRS says:

    Hi Mel! Looking forward to making this. I think I know the answer but wanted to confirm. Did you use a metal baking pan for this (as you usually do)? I don’t use my glass Pyrex pan for baking but am wondering if the buttery cinnamon swirl will wreak havoc on my metal pan? Thanks!

  4. NRS says:

    Hi Mel! I think I know your answer but want to confirm. Did you use a metal pan for this (as you usually do)? I never bake in my glass Pyrex but wondering if the cinnamon sugar mixture will wreak havoc on my metal pan. Looking forward to making this! Thanks!

  5. Lynnberry says:

    BOMB, BOMB, BOMB ass cake! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. Georgi Whitford says:

    I wanted to let you know that I made your cinnamon roll cake with gluten free flour from Betty Crocker and it came out great! (Betty Crocker gluten free flour is by the cake mix in my Safeway store and was the only gluten free flour available). I didn’t make any changes to the recipe and it came out the same as the cake made with unbleached white flour. I thought you might want to let your gluten free readers know or add it to your gluten free list.

  7. Freeda says:

    Just wanted to thankyou for this amazing recipe! I have been making cinnamon buns for a while now for my kids and thought this looked yummy and easy ,so I tried it last night and soooooo glad I did absolutely beautiful!the only thing I did different was reduce the sugar in the cake to 3/4 cup rather than 1 1/2 .next time might even try 1/2 cup sugar

  8. Jen L says:

    I’ve made this twice, and it’s incredibly yummy, but I find the swirling step really frustrating and much more difficult than it seems like it would be if I were doing it right! What am I doing wrong? I end up with a really fluffy cake batter, and a cinnamon swirl that would rather stay in dollops and doesn’t easily swirl. I can get it spread throughout pretty well, but it doesn’t look all cinnamon roll swirly like yours!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Jen – maybe try over softening the butter (slightly melting) so that it’s easier to swirl. It’s not super pretty when I swirl it either. πŸ™‚

  9. Kari says:

    Wow — this was sooo good! I agree with other commenters — it stays so moist for days after. I made it in two smaller pans (8×8) so I could share w/another family and that worked great. The only change I’d make next time is to line the bottom of the pan w/parchment paper because it really sticks to the bottom.

  10. Renee says:

    Oh my did the house smell fabulous! I had two small pans so instead of making them the same, I added some diced apple to one (because this is the midwest in the fall and it just seemed right lol) and left the other one as is…absolutely wonderful!! The apple broke up the sweetness a bit because me and hubby are not big on dessert but the allure of cinnamon roll cake was impossible to pass up! Thanks Mel again… Becoming a die hard fan πŸ˜‰

  11. Ginger says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter when baking?

  12. Kent says:

    I live in Costa Rica where good sweet rolls are hard to come by. I have been using package cake mixes as a base for a lot of the experimentation I do and will use a white Duncan Hines for this using the butter and sour cream. What I have been doing a lot of is using tropical fruits in my concoctions and was wondering if I could use orange in the glaze and use raisens soaked in orange juice in the cake. I’ll send you the results of whatever I do. Thanks for your help

  13. Anji says:

    This is FANTASTIC!! I think its even better the day after, it stays so moist!! It reminds me of my husbands family recipe for Apple Roll, just minus the chunks of apple. We loved it and will definitely share with friends and family. Thanks Mel!

  14. Monica says:

    Mel, this was fantastic! My little sister chose this recipe for us to make together during my visit. My crazy large family all loved it! I posted about it here:

  15. Miss Bloomer says:

    Wow! I just made this for my family and it was amazing! Everybody is raving about it, saying it’s some of the best stuff they’ve every had. Thank you for the recipe!

  16. Annie says:

    I have made the original recipe and then this one, and this recipe by far is 100 times better. Thank you, this is definitely a winner!

  17. […] So hey, let’s talk about sugar. Sugarsugarsugarsugar: that thrilling chemical compound that is pulsing through my veins RIGHT NOW because I just made, and consumed embarrassing amounts of, cinnamon roll cake. […]

  18. Katie D says:

    Super yummy! My roommates were raving about this! Thanks for the great recipes.

  19. Emily D says:

    I made this for a family get-together and everyone LOVED it! My only complaint was that the majority of the cinnamon swirl settled to the bottom of the pan. I wish it would have been a little more throughout the cake and on top.

  20. Hank says:

    Made it for a family get together…. BIG HIT! SO GOOD!

  21. […] wanting to experiment and create a gluten-free cinnamon roll cake recipe. I found a great recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that I used as a base to create my gluten-free version. I was very happy with the results! I […]

  22. Brea Lombardo says:

    For anyone who might be wondering, I made this with whole wheat flour instead of regular (using just a tad less), and it was great! I also (because it’s what I had on hand) subbed plain yogurt for the sour cream, sucanat for the granulated sugar, and powdered sucanat for the powdered sugar. It was lovely!

  23. marina hernandez says:

    Good morning Mel…this dessert is been one of my family most requested..
    thanks so much….me and my husband we going to have two weeks vacaction…
    first time with no kids, because now they are big and with diferent times in schools (21 and 16)..but i want to leave plenty of food in the freezer…can i frezee this dessert??

  24. Sandra says:

    This looks like the honey bun cake on betty crocker website. So delish!!

  25. Pat Caron says:

    Have made this several times and like everyone in their comments above, absolutely love it. I have one question. Is this cake to be mixed by hand with a spoon or with the mixer. Today I used the mixer but think before when I made it, had mixed by hand. Haven’t tasted the one I just made (don’t know where the will power comes from), but the cinnamon swirling isn’t showing on top as it did when I mixed by hand. I will be searching your blog from now on for something good to make. Want to try those cinnamon roll cookies next!

  26. Rachelle says:

    I made this for Christmas and it was a big hit! Thanks for the recipe!!

  27. SophiaAUS says:

    I need to go back and eat another piece… this recipe is great. Cake came out moist and full of flavor. This will become a regular!

  28. Marci says:

    WOW, this recipe is amazing! My son and Husband ate the whole cake in less than 48 hours!! This will be a staple in our house. Tomorrow I am going to try your cinnamon roll cookie! I am going to test it out as my Dad would LOVE them. Great blog!

  29. Molls says:

    I was craving a cinnamon spice cake and found this recipe while googling. I didn’t have sour cream so I substituted it with milk and fresh lemon juice. Turned out amazing!!!! Will be saving the hours usually spent on cinnamon rolls and make this instead. Wonderful!

  30. Laura Simpson says:

    This is insanely delicious! Words can’t describe how good and easy this is.

  31. Kristin says:

    Oh my goodness!! I made this today for my 5 boys and they keep trying to come back for more! I have tried and tried to perfect cinnamon rolls and for some reason yeast and I are not friends, but no more! This is the easiest and tastiest answer! I am now the. best. baking. mom. ever….according to my boys! Thanks Mel!!

  32. Natasha says:

    I made this the other night for a church get together and it was a hit! So so nice and it made our house smell amazing while it was baking πŸ™‚

  33. JGo says:

    I have a few problems with this cake. The cinnamon mixture was too thick to properly swirl and therefore you tend to overswirl it. Which produces the bottom of cinnamon gooeyness that some like. I kinda wanted it throughout the cake more than at the bottom.

    Also, I think the sugar and the butter should be creamed together first since adding any other cold liquid to the butter makes it lump (solidify) and you can’t mix it good.

    I didn’t like how too sweet it was, but I think it was because I like my C.R.’s icing to be cream cheese so it would take the edge off. I was tempted to use my own icing but let it be.

    The kids loved it and the coworkers described it as: “OMG it’s like an orgasm in my mouth.”

    You knocked this one outta the park!

  34. Kimberly Christiansen says:

    Mel, my family and I love this recipe. My son is not a cake lover (and of course I like to make big cakes with fondant and fillings πŸ™‚ ), but this cake is one that he requests. He even wants me to make it for his birthday this Friday. Of course I do not mind since it is melt in your mouth deliciousness!! πŸ™‚ Thank you for this recipe. πŸ™‚

  35. Jen Checki says:

    In some African countries, it is an old custom for two women to marry each other for business purposes. These relationships are not sexual; it is a practice of heterosexual women for practical concerns. Will you be my non-sexual wife? Because that is how much I LOVE your recipes! I made both types of your cinnamon rolls on the same day (to compare the two), and while I was unable to determine a favorite, I was able to determine that both were absolutely delicious! I sent them to work with my husband, and his co-workers said I should sell the cinnamon rolls. They thought it would make me wealthy. I am certain it would be more likely to make me fat. Anyway, thank you so much for all the work you do to share these delicious recipes. Next, I am going to make this cinnamon roll cake and your oreo cheesecake bites, as well as your lemon bars and buttermilk lime bars. You’re the best!

  36. Andrea Reeve says:

    Thinking this would be divine with a little pumpkin added to the mix!

  37. LenaClary says:

    There are simply no words to describe this cake that can do it justice. Amazing flavor and texture. Butter coma. Unsafe for me to be in the house alone with the cake. You get the idea. (Only substitution I made was vanilla yogurt for sour cream, just because I had it on hand. A little extra sweetness was ok with me!)

  38. Stephanie says:

    I’m not crazy about cake but I made this and it is divine. Great recipe!

  39. Jennifer says:

    Ok, I know I should make the whole thing, however, it’s just me and my husband so half is enough. Is it best to use 1 or 2 eggs, or use 1 and 1 yolk…or scramble? Thanks!

  40. Edna Delcambre says:

    I made the cinnamon roll cake. While it was baking, I kept looking at it, thinking to myself this is not going to work. Finally quit looking at the oven and let it finish baking. And low and behold….it came out just like the picture πŸ™‚
    I was so proud! I took it to work and everyone loved it! It was a hit!

  41. Back in the early 70’s some company made a cake mix with swirl and icing packages. It was always a hit at parties. Then of course it was discontinued. I’ve always wondered how to make the swirl mixture. I can’t wait to make this for my guests tomorrow morning.

  42. Erin says:

    This was sooo good! I love your recipes Mel. I’m always telling people about your website!

  43. Alyssa B says:

    This is so yummy! As I was snacking on a leftover piece, I was thinking about adding some nuts to the next one. That may be because my mom makes awesome cinnamon rolls with them. But she loved the cake too.

  44. Cammee says:

    Mel, this was a hit! I have to say, I think this cake is better the second and third day. The glaze keeps it so moist. Thanks for another winner!

  45. Vicki says:

    I wanted to make this but didn’t have sugar so I substituted a Duncan Hines white cake mix for the homemade cake base. It was amazing! It was gone in a day. My family loved it!

  46. Dina says:

    I have followed you for quite a while and have made some wonderful meals. Made this cake…oh my…better then any cinnamon roll could ever dream of being!! I am not a sweet eater but have already had TWO pieces! Sugar rush over, time for a nap!

  47. Diane says:

    Mel, a co-worker told me about your site and I am hooked. You’re a doll!
    Made the cinnamon roll cake this weekend – yum!
    I cut a generous piece for my daughter, newphew and niece to “share/try” as it was close to lunch time when the cake came out of the oven. My daughter had a very small taste and handed the plate to my nephew – poof! gone! so long! – my poor niece never even saw the slice of cake – she’s having a piece for dessert tonight. I’ve never seen a piece of cake disappear so quickly. We are now affectionately refering to my nephew has Hoover. Husband loved this recipe and he is not a big fan of cake. Immediately sent the recipe to my friend who has just recently started a lifestyle blog and who is an awsome baker. We also had your freezer beef buritos for lunch yesterday – readers if you haven’t tried these – you are in for a treat – a must try that truly does freeze and reheat beautifully. Thank you Mel for your lovely site and blessings to you and your family.

  48. pj says:

    Okay, just had it. The cake is light and fluffy, but it’s very sweet. Yes, all my swirl pretty much dropped to the bottom. However, this cake doesn’t top the Lemon Cheesecake Morning Rolls I made a couple of weeks ago. Those rolls were Heaven on a plate.

  49. Cyndi B says:

    Just made this cake for a Sunday morning treat. Unbelievably good! Thanks for a great easy way to enjoy a cinnamon roll without the work.

  50. PJ says:

    I am making this on my lunch hour, this is our breakfast tomorrow morning.

  51. k says:

    I made this tonight. Yum! I halved it because it’s just me and the kids this weekend and I knew it’d be trouble for me if it turned out, and that I’d be making it again when my husband gets home! πŸ˜‰ We all loved it and the kids asked if they could have another slice for breakfast. I told them if they let me sleep in, definitely! We’ll see how that turns out. I may be making this every Friday night! ha ha

    Mine didn’t look like yours…I don’t think there was any swirl left on top or really much through the middle at all…it was all like I’d layered it on the bottom. Not a terrible thing at all, but I think I did whatever Rebecca did. πŸ˜‰

  52. Jenny l says:

    Yeeeesssssssssss! πŸ™‚ Nuff said.

  53. Claire says:

    OOO this looks sooo good. How well does it keep? We love cake in our house but as there’s only the two of us we don’t get through that much. Although I suppose we could make an exception…

  54. Rebecca says:

    I made this last night, yummy! But I think I over-swirled, all my cinnamon-butter fell to the bottom! Will just have to try again until I get it right!

    • Mel says:

      Rebecca – a lot of my cinnamon and sugar swirl bakes at the bottom too. It creates a dense, soft, cinnamon and sugary layer at the bottom of the cake that is, well, divine, in my opinion, so chances are, you made it just right because mine turns out like this, too (not all the cinnamon and sugar but a portion of it).

  55. Cammee says:

    The perfect fall cake for my Mom’s birthday on Sunday, I think. Perfect excuse to try it!

  56. Monica says:

    Ummm…Mel. I am so making this now. I might as well give up…those few extra pounds of baby weight just aren’t going anywhere!

  57. Cake for breakfast?! This is me judging you! For shame! (Actually, this is me projecting myself since I frequently eat cake for breakfast. oh and PIE. I eat lots of pie for breakfast. What’s one more piece of cake?)

  58. Sheila says:

    I made this for dessert last night. While it was baking in the oven, it made our home smell heavenly. My husband says, “thank you, thank you, thank you!” And, yes, Mel is starting to be a “household word” around here. πŸ™‚

  59. Cathy says:

    and yes, I did serve it warm with vanilla ice cream :}

  60. Cathy says:

    Yes, I HAD to make this, after promising myself no more desserts this week; what can I say I’m a weakling!!! But,glad I did cause it was AWESOME!! I used greek-style yogurt instead of sour cream and it turned out superb; although I did have to bake it just a few min. more. THANKS again Mel!!!!

  61. Rica says:

    Can I use white whole wheat flour for this instead?

  62. Sold! Way easier than rolling out dough! The only question now is: who will be my lucky victims?? πŸ™‚

  63. Angela says:

    Ok, so this is a seriously good cake. Make it exactly as it reads, don’t change a thing. It was delicious! I used most of the butter/cinnamon mixture & had a little left over. It will be a nice treat on an english muffin in the morning. Thank you for the recipe! It’s a keeper!

  64. Teresa says:

    This cake looks so lovely I’d like a bite right now!

  65. Kristi says:

    I’m wishing that I had sour cream right about now.

  66. Linda says:

    When I read this post I had to make this TODAY. The only ingredient I lacked was the sour cream. So looking in my frig the only thing I spied was cottage cheese. Humm, I put it in the food processor and whipped it up. The cake turned out perfect! ( And yikes it was fat free cottage cheese, hey i was desperate). I can not imagine how much more delicious this will be with sour cream!

  67. Sherri says:

    I have been making this cake for years and everyone loves it! The last time I made it, one of the teenage boys was literally licking the pan clean!

  68. Can’t wait to *try* this! πŸ˜‰

  69. What a great idea, especially when I don’t feel like making cinnamon rolls! Can’t wait to this!

  70. Ok, this looks beyond good. Since it’s cinnamon roll flavored…does that mean I can eat it for breakfast?

  71. I want this cake noooooow! SO yummy!

  72. mia phillips says:

    Hey I am LOVING the idea of cinnamon roll deliciousness without the trouble of yeast, awesome! There is one thing I love dearly though, that’s missing….raisins! What do you think? Advise me

  73. Susan says:

    Just when I gave up wheat πŸ™

  74. Andreya says:

    I am so glad you like the recipe! This is my favorite cake and whoever makes it will instantly fall in love!

  75. This cake looks perfect for the breakfast coming up with my mom’s group. Thanks for the recipe!

  76. Kim in MD says:

    Oh my…this looks and sounds so delicious! My family will love this!

  77. Jen T says:

    The joy of a cinnamon roll in a cake? I’m hooked. Yum! This will be a perfect fall dessert. Thanks Mel!

  78. Elaine says:

    I was halfway to my kitchen to start making this when I realized I didn’t have quite 1 1/3 c. sour cream. A trip to the store this afternoon and then cinnamon roll cake for desert (and breakfast tomorrow!).

  79. Sheree says:

    Could I substitute plain, nonfat, Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

  80. Catherine says:

    Mel! How did you know I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls, but wanting a simpler option? This will definitely be our Sunday dessert this weekend. My boys will love it! I’d better invite somebody over to share it, or I know I’ll eat way too much myself.

    You are the best, Mel! Every time someone asks me where I get recipes, I send them to your blog because I know they will find what they are looking for!

  81. I wish I had a piece of this for breakfast today! YUM!

  82. Brobbins says:

    Our coffee breaks at work will never be the same! This looks amazing. If its made the nite before and served the next morning, will it still be good?

    • Mel says:

      Brobbins – if I were making this the night before, I’d warm the cake slightly before serving to give it a little pick me up, but that’s just me.

  83. Missy says:

    Can this be consumed at breakfast like a coffee cake or is it too sweet?

    • Mel says:

      Missy (and others) – personally, I think this cake is a little on the sweet side for breakfast but I have a feeling others may feel differently. Just make sure to serve it with a banana or something to take the edge off. πŸ™‚

  84. Okay, you talked me into it. I’m totally making this cake. I was sort of on the fence, but the fist pump thing convinced me. NEEEEEED.

  85. Jenn A says:

    Ok. I’m fairly new here, but every time you post a new recipe I think, “I have to make that!” =) My family will love this cake!

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