Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Posted by hsimpsongrossman on February 25, 2014

This, dear readers, might be the last post in my Memoirs From a (No) Ski Vacation series of posts.  (Come on! At least have the decency to wait for me to finish the paragraph before you jump up and down with joy! If you were fed-up with this saga, all you had to do was let me know– send a nice little comment here on the blog or on Facebook! Oh, but that would be asking too much!).  Anyhow, this one is about a lesson I learnt (the hard way) about humility.

During the crazy week preceding my ski (scant ski) adventure, I was lucky to have Hillel, CEO during day time, amazing private chef at night, and the legendary cook of that group of skiers, share his lists, advice and lessons learnt from previous trips with me.

Tignes Ski Trip Top Management
Top Management

As I was telling him about my grand plans to wake up extra early every morning and bake fresh muffins for breakfast, have warm little puddings and cakes await my freezing skiers as they return from the slopes and bake fresh challah bread for Shabbat, Hillel suggested that I go easy on myself, bake pastries at home, freeze them and bring with me rather than take unnecessary risks with an unfamiliar oven, as I will be facing other inevitable challenges.

Though I could hear him trying to talk some sense in to me, the only voice I actually listened to was that of the overachieving, superwoman inside my head, who kept on snickering: “Ha! Is HE telling US you can’t manage cooking in high altitude, for a big crowd in a foreign country, in an unfamiliar kitchen for the first time, all by yourself? Ha! Does he have any idea who he’s dealing with?”

The first (and only) cake I baked in my tiny toaster oven in France began emitting that dreaded burnt smell less than 15 minutes into it being baked.  I lowered the temperature, covered the scorched yet not fully baked cakes with foil paper and rotated the tins every 10 minuteswhich meant fussing over them for over two hours, a complete waste of time considering the end result.  I did, however found consolation in the symmetrical burning pattern on those cakes.

Needless to say I sheepishly hid the recipes for the other planned cakes and settled for pastries I brought with me (and there were quite a few of these).

Apple Date Loaf Perfectly Burnt
Perfectly Burnt

Thank God for my Polish maternal genes, for making me feel guilty about leaving my baby Perfect Son (Hmm, 15 and a half, mature enough to tell us that he has tests, responsibilities as a counselor in his youth group and other things going on and thus can’t just take a week off, when offered to join us) behind, and expressing my love (and guilt) using the best method known to Polish mothers- baking for him.

I was looking for something familiar and comforting (ignoring my selfish need to try out a new recipe) and chose this Cinnamon Roll coffee cake which he loves.  Luckily, I decided to multiply the recipe and ended up with four loafs – one for him and three to take to France.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake for Baby Perfect Son
For Baby Perfect Son

Three loafs of this Cinnamon Roll coffee cake vanished within seconds.  I had to ward off numerous sneaky, so-called friends trying to get hold of the meager slice I saved for Better Half who left his post momentarily to make me a cup of coffee.  And if it weren’t for my newly found soul- mate Harel hiding two good looking slices from those vultures so that I can take pictures, you would have had to settle for the picture above, taken at home from Perfect Son’s allotment (I try not to put all my eggs in one basket, or in this case, all my cakes in one continent).  Harel was also the only one who instantly spotted the Narnian lamp-post in the pictures I took.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake Narnia

Besides this cake being a quicker, improved and refined version of those famous yeasty cinnamon rolls, it’s a real beauty to look at, as in addition to the characteristic rich cinnamon–nut  swirl, it has a second delicate cinnamon marble in the batter of the cake itself!

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake Close Up
Close Up

I found this recipe in a beautiful and delicious blog called Bake or Break, which I have accidentally discovered while roaming Pinterest.  I made a different glaze, decreased the amount of sugar in the batter and added some spices.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake Snow Flakes to the Right
Snow Flakes to the Right

 Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake on the Spot: Prepare cinnamon filling.  Mix dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients.  Marble sugar-cinnamon swirl in to the batter. Spread half the batter.  Sprinkle filling. Spread rest of batter.  Bake.  Prepare glaze and drizzle.  Voilà!

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake, adapted from Bake or Break

Ingredients, for about 18 servings:

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3-ounce/80 gram box instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup (1 stick/110 grams) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the filling:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon grated dried ginger

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

1-2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of each of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius. Generously grease a 9- or 10-cup Bundt tin, or grease or line with parchment paper two 10 by 5 inch Loaf tins.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ¾ cup of the sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix. Add butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix well. The dough should be thick.

In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Very gently fold into the cake batter. Do not mix thoroughly (not more than 5-6 mixing motions), as you want to leave swirls of cinnamon-sugar in the batter.

Transfer half of the cake batter to prepared tin/s.

For the filling:

Mix brown sugar, spices, and pecans. Sprinkle over the batter in the tin/s. Scoop remaining cake batter over the filling and gently smooth the top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes if baking in a Bundt tin, 30-35 minutes if baking in loaf tins , or until a knife or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, except for some moist crumbs clinging to it.

If using a Bundt tin, cool in the tin for 20 minutes and then flip onto a wire rack to cool completely.  If using Loaf tins, cool in the tins for 10 minutes, release from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze:

Mix confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, vanilla and spices. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix until smooth.  Add more milk as needed to make the glaze pourable.

Drizzle glaze over cake.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake No Ski For Me
No Ski For Me

This cake keeps well tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days and freezes well.


Filed under Cakes

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16 thoughts on “Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

  1. I suggest the following: we will teach you how to bake (opposite of burn) in a toaster oven since our built-in oven is for diary only and sometimes we want a cake to be served during a Shabbat lunch (when Eyal comes, usually).
    In return, we will be happy to get more recipes of delicious cakes.

    • Atals, the not burnt parts were amazing, but I could not disclose that fact or else I would have ruined the story..

    • Savta, we ate it on Shabbat so I hope they worked very hard on Sunday (for the ice cream and pizza on Motzaei Shabbat too..).

  2. We came on aliya in June 1975, but our container came later. In the meantime, we cooked on a rented 2-burner kirayim, and baked in a “wonder-pot” on top of the kirayim. The cakes were surprisingly good (although not as good as the cinnamon cake featured in your newest post). I just checked Wikipedia, and to my surprise, discovered that Wonderpots are still available! Next time that I’m in the “right” part of Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, I will buy one for my favorite globe-trotting blogger!

  3. Here I am, at 5 am alone in my bedroom, homesick and hungry. When will they invent edible laptop screens? For now I will have to settle for your wit and humor.

    • Dear Judy,
      I was afraid of your opinion, as this cake contains more than the sugar and butter amounts you deem responsible.
      But, next time we meet at Shani’s I can bring along a sliver? That won’t count.

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