I love cinnamon rolls. I LOVE THEM. I think the only thing I love as much as cinnamon rolls is s’mores. Recently, I made the frozen kind in the tube, and forbade Dom from eating any. (He doesn’t cook, he doesn’t get dibs, that’s my rule.) I’m even territorial about the kind of gross, frozen, in-tube kind of cinnamon rolls. You should see how nasty I get over homemade cinnamon rolls.
The thing about homemade cinnamon rolls is that they are a giant pain in the arse (arse is less offensive than a** because it’s British, you know). There are two things in cooking that I hate: baking with yeast and deep frying at home, and the reasons are because I am impatient and because I hate a mess. I made Alton Brown’s Cinnamon Rolls a long time ago, and while those were heavenly, they both required yeast AND made a big mess. The good news is that cooking blogs are always coming up with ways for lazy bakers like me to eat cinnamon rolls without using yeast/waiting for dough to rise/waiting for it to rise again/rolling it out/waiting overnight.
Like this Cinnamon Roll Cake. It’s basically a homemade version of the in-tube store bought cinnamon rolls, except cake batter instead of yeast. It even has a sugar/butter mixture you spread on top and then swirl around. It’s also REALLY easy and doesn’t make a ton of cake, which is probably best for everyone.
I timed myself, and this took 21 minutes, from measuring out the ingredients as I went, to melting the butter in the microwave, to softening the other butter in the microwave*, to spooning on the butter/sugar, to swirling it around with a knife to getting it in the oven. 21 minutes. Plus 5 minutes to make the icing.
*My A+ method for softening refrigerated butter to room temperature: take the stick, in the wrapper, and microwave it 5 seconds at a time, turning it after each 5 seconds, probably 4-5 times. This method does require you have a reasonably deep understanding of your microwave’s cooking strength, but if you’re concerned, turn the power down to about half and I promise you this will work like a charm. If your butter is frozen, instead of refrigerated, as mine often is, do the same thing, except use the defrost setting for the 5 second increments, and then after 6 or 7 of them, switch to full strength. The method isn’t as foolproof for frozen butter as it is for refrigerated butter.
Cinnamon Roll Cake with Maple Drizzle, from Cooking for Seven
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup all purpose)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, melted
For the topping:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flour
For the icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray Pam on an 8 inch cake pan. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients for the cake, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Into that bowl, mix the egg, milk and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Then, slowly mix in the melted butter until combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and set aside.
Next, in a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients: the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, until well mixed. Drop this in spoonfuls onto the cake batter, and then spread it out across the top of the cake. Take a knife and swirl the topping into the cake batter, so it looks like this:
Bake the cake for 28-32 minutes, until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into it comes out with only a few crumbs.
While it’s baking, mix together the icing ingredients: maple syrup and powdered sugar, until it’s a drizzly texture. When the cake comes out, let it cool until room temperature or just slightly warm, then drizzle the cake with the icing. Serve warm or at room temperature, or hide it from whoever you live with and eat it on the sly.