Cinnamon Roll Cake

The holidays inspire me to become a bit more festive in the kitchen and the result can be something along these lines: comfort food with a Cinn-ful twist. As I talked with a friend in preparation for a coming dinner party, this Cinnamon Roll Cake recipe began writing itself. It was rich, but not gratuitously sweet. It was filling and as comforting as I could hope. Its greatest triumph, however, was its artfully designed aesthetic: a giant, homemade, 9" cinnamon roll! Eyes widened and tongues dampened as several of my dinner guests urged the cake to be sliced prior to the assortment of savory treats. Even after holding off for several hours whilst eating, eating, and more eating, no one could resist a bite from this captivating Cinna-beauty. Enjoy!!

Servings: 16 slices
Prep Time: ~2hrs 30min

1/4 Cup of Water, lukewarm
3 Packages of Active Dry Yeast, rapid rise
1 1/2 Cup Nonfat Milk, lukewarm
3/4 Cup Butter, unsalted, room temperature
2/3 Cup Sugar, granulated
2 Tsp Salt
5 Cups Flour, All-Purpose
~1 Cup for kneading

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/3 Cup melted butter

2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1-2 Tbsp Milk, Nonfat
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted, room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting (Optional)
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted, room temperature

Dough: Pour the water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Let sit for five minutes. Gently, using a whisk, mix the milk, butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in the flour, one cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto a clean surface and knead dough until it is elastic and no longer sticky (may take up to 1 cup). Place the dough into a greased medium-sized bowl, and evenly coat the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough doubles in size (~hour and a half).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Top Layer: On a floured surface, flatten a little more than 1/2 of the dough into a 13 x 9 inch rectangular panel about 1/3 inch in thickness. Cut off the excess dough to form straight edges and set aside excess for later use. Score the rectangle into 1” strips. Coat with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar until well-coated. Roll one strip into the shape of a cinnamon roll and place into the center of a circular 9" cake pan. Using the first shape as a guide, wrap each strip around one another until the dough reaches the edges. Brush the top with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for up to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from pan. 

Bottom Layer: Form the remaining dough into a ball and flatten it into another 9" circular cake pan until it reaches the edges. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for up to ~18 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Glaze - After both layers have completely cooled, carefully remove from the pans. Set the bottom layer onto a cake plate. Spread a thick layer of glaze to about 1/2" from its edges (up to but no more than 1/2 of the glaze). Place the top layer and press lightly into the glaze. Slightly warm the remaining glaze and drizzle over the cake, allowing it to drip naturally. Use a spatula to spread the glaze to the sides of the cake. Mixture will harden as it cools to room temperature.

Frosting - To hide the 'double stack' of dough, cool the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes after glazing. Spread the frosting across the sides of the cake until evenly coated to desired thickness. Note this is an optional step, but will give a greater appearance of a "cake" when sliced.

Refrigerate the cake until an hour before serving. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half, then cut the half in half, and so forth, so that each quarter yields four slices. Serve each slice at room temperature or warm slightly. Think: how do I like my cinnamon roll? And enjoy it!

Nutrition Info (1 Slice - without optional Cream Cheese Frosting):
Calories 403, Total Fat: 13.9g, Sat. Fat: 8.8g, Cholesterol: 37.3mg, Sodium: 308.3mg, Carb: 63.4g, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugars: 31g, Protein: 5.2g