Do you have those friends in your life where you have to try several times to plan a get-together before you can actually find a date on the calendar that works?
This past weekend, the stars aligned for us to finally spend an evening with just such a pair. They were gracious enough to invite us to their home, where they had a delicious bowl of chili and fresh cornbread waiting for us.
Knowing that chili was on the menu, I started to wrack my brain earlier in the day about what kind of dessert goes with it, and my mind just kept going back to cinnamon rolls.
I mean, yeah, cinnamon rolls are a perfect compliment to a big bowl of chili, but they’re also generally pretty time consuming, and time was not on my side that afternoon.
Thank goodness I found a recipe for a cinnamon roll cake that came to my rescue instead, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.
This comes from the blog “The Country Cook” by Brandie Skibinski. You can find the original post at https://www.thecountrycook.net/cinnamon-roll-cake/. I doubled the vanilla and quadrupled the cinnamon in my version.
Cinnamon Roll Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups milk I used skim
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons milk I used skim
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Set it aside.
- For the cake, in a mixing bowl, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and milk until everything is smooth and well combined.
- Hand stir in the butter, and then spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan.
- For the filling, in another mixing bowl, beat together all of the filling ingredients until it forms a smooth paste.
- Drop the cinnamon mixture by the tablespoonful onto the cake batter, and then swirl it into the batter using a knife.
- Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, whisk the glaze ingredients until it is smooth. If you want a thicker glaze, add a little more powdered sugar. If you want it thinner, add a little more milk.
- Pour the glaze over the cake and serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
This was very much like if a coffee cake married a cinnamon roll. The main difference is because you put the glaze on the cake while it’s still warm, it melts into the cake instead of staying visibly on top like a normal cinnamon roll. If you’d rather have that look and texture, I’d recommend letting the cake cool completely before glazing and making a bit of a thicker glaze.
I ended up making an eight-by-eight pan of this by halving the recipe. There was only going to be four of us, and I really didn’t need the leftovers in my kitchen all week, so that made it perfect.
Even better, we had an excellent meal with excellent people. Being able to spend time with friends, cinnamon rolls or not, is so, so sweet.
This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 11, 2024.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.