Cinnamon Roll Layer Cake
Today we are sharing a flavorful Cinnamon Roll Layer Cake that has the perfect balance of cinnamon and brown sugar flavor along with an amazing cinnamon cream cheese frosting! It is sure to become a family favorite.
This moist cake is everything that you love about the flavor of a cinnamon roll, in cake form!
*If you prefer working with cake mix recipes, we have a delicious Cinnamon Roll Layer Cake from Cake Mix recipe as well!
Table of Contents
How to Make a Cinnamon Roll Layer Cake
This delicious layer cake is based on our Vanilla Buttermilk cake, but with the addition of cinnamon and brown sugar, and the layers are brushed with a cinnamon simple syrup for an added flavor boost!
*You can find the full recipe further down in this post. Here is a quick rundown of our steps:
- Preheat: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8×2 inch round pans. We like to line our cake pans with parchment paper as well.
- Flour Mixture: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
- Buttermilk Mixture: In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Butter and Sugar: In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed with electric mixer (we used a stand mixer with paddle attachment) until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened and fluffy.
- Eggs: Add the room temperature eggs one at a time mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
- Alternately Add Dry and Wet Ingredients: With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid). Mix just until incorporated.
- Sugar and Cinnamon Mixture: Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling.
- Fill the Pans: Divide cake batter between the three prepared 8 inch pans and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake batter before putting into the oven.
- Time to Bake! Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. Let cool 10 minutes and turn out.
Glazing the Cake Layers
When you are ready to assemble your cake layers, brush each layer with about two tablespoons of the Cinnamon and Sugar Glaze/Simple Syrup. We used a silicone pastry brush for this step.
Assembling the Cake
Next, it is time to put the cake together! For our filling and frosting, we used a delicious Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.
This recipe is so easy to make and has a hint of tanginess that pairs wonderfully with the sweet, spiced cake layers.
Simply spread each cake layer with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting (after glazing the cake layer) are repeat.
Then, add a thin "crumb coat" of frosting to the top and sides of the cake. At this point, we like to chill the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes (or longer in the refrigerator) to firm everything up before the final coat of frosting.
Decorating the Cinnamon Roll Cake
I reserved about ¼-1/2 cup of my frosting to be used for the darker brown swirl on top later.
I added the final coat of frosting to the chilled cake and smoothed over it with a hot bench scraper (heated with water) for an extra smooth finish.
This is often reerred to as the Hot Knife Method of Smoothing. Decorate the cake however you like! We just decided to go smooth today.
For the Spiral
Finally for the cinnamon swirl on top, I added additional cinnamon to the reserved frosting to darken it, loaded it into my piping bag and snipped the end away.
Then, starting in top-center of the cake, I created a spiral with my piping bag filled with the cinnamon swirl mixture.
I also added a french tip border around the top, and a small shell border around the base. (For more details on piping a shell border, see our Star Tip Piping Basics Video Tutorial!)
More Cinnamon and Spice Cakes
We love cinnamon cakes and spice cakes!
We've added several of these recipes to our Recipes Section over the years- give them a try! Some of our most popular are: Honey Cake, Hummingbird Cake, Gingerbread Layer Cake, and Pumpkin Spice Cake.
We also love this recipe for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes!
Enjoy the Cake!
Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you enjoy this delicious Cinnamon Roll Cake! Don't miss our full collection of cake recipes, including cake recipes from scratch as well as cake mix recipes!
Cinnamon Roll Cake
For the Cake
- 1 ½ sticks 170g unsalted butter, softened ( holds it shape but dents when pressed)
- 2 cups 400g sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 3 cups 342g cake flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled off) If you do not have cake flour see substitution in Notes below.
- 2 teaspoons 8g baking powder
- ½ teaspoon 3g baking soda
- 1 teaspoon 3g cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon 3g salt
- 1 ¼ cups 296g buttermilk — if you do not have buttermilk, see substitution below
- ¼ cup 54g vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon 12g vanilla extract
For Sprinkling over Batter
- ½ cup 108g light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon 3g cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Sugar Glaze to Brush on top of each Baked Layer
- 5 Tablespoons 30g powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons 28g light brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon 8g ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon 4g vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons 15g very hot water (hot water to dissolve the sugar)
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 sticks 1 cup, (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese (total weight 452g) I use full fat cream cheese. Using reduced fat or the spreadable cream cheese will cause the frosting to be too soft. Soften very slightly.
- 2 teaspoons 8 g vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt 2g optional - it will cut the sweetness, popcorn salt is best to use because it is fine and dissolves faster
- 6 to 6 ½ cups 690g to 747g powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon 3g cinnamon
The Darker Brown Cinnamon Swirl of Frosting on top of the Cake (optional)
- ¼ cup of Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ teaspoon 1.5g cinnamon
- Piping Tips Optional: French Tip 8B for piping around the top, Star tip 21 for shell border.
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8×2 inch round pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
- In another bowl, add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the egg yolk is blended.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid). After the last addition, mix just until combined.
- Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon (for sprinkling as listed above). Divide cake batter between the three prepared 8 inch pans and sprinkle the mixture over the tops of cake batter before putting into the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. Let cool 10 minutes and turn out.
For the Cinnamon Sugar Glaze for top of each Baked Layer
- Mix together and set aside. This will be used to brush approximately 2 Tablespoons on the tops of each layer as you stack the cake.
- This is used as a simple syrup on the layers.
For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.
- Cut the cold cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated. If you are using a hand mixer you may need to soften the cream cheese a bit more.
- Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cinnamon beating on low speed until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar.
- Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy. Don't over beat or it will become too soft. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a short while to firm it up a bit.
- **If you are making a dark brown swirl of frosting on top of the cake as we did, reserve ¼ cup of frosting as set aside.
- This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.
- Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake.
For the Swirl of Cinnamon Frosting on Top of the Cake (optional)
- Mix the cinnamon into the reserved ¼ cup of frosting. Adjust cinnamon amount to your liking, this amount gave us a nice darker color (and flavor).
- Load into a piping bag with the tip snipped away (or you can use a small round tip) and pipe the swirl onto the top of the cake.
Assembly of Cake
- After baking the cake layers, brush with the cinnamon sugar glaze (as instructed above), and fill and frost with the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. If the frosting becomes too soft to easily frost with, chill in the refrigerator. I also like to chill my crumb coated cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so to firm things up before applying the final coat of frosting.
- Optional: I then piped a swirl of the darker Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting for added decoration. I held the piping bag (tip snipped away) vertically and started piping in the center of the cake and spiraled outward.
- I finished things off with french tip piping around the edges (using a tip 8B)- You can use any large star tip for this. I also piped a bottom shell border using a star tip 21.