If you love cinnamon rolls, you are going to love this epic cinnamon roll cake recipe! It’s inspired by one of my favorite breakfast foods! To make this amazing cinnamon cake, I start with buttermilk cinnamon and vanilla cake layers. For the filling, I use cinnamon-flavored dulce de leche and frost the cake with a cinnamon version of my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. I’ve made hundreds of cakes and this one is definitely in my top 10! It’s dangerously delicious! You’ll be coming back for seconds!
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Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Cake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Brown Sugar: I use brown sugar in the cake batter for a more caramelized flavor! You can use all white sugar if you don’t have brown sugar on hand.
- Buttermilk: using buttermilk or soured milk in cake recipes makes the cake extra moist and soft.
- Oil, eggs, sugar & flour: for the cake batter.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg: this recipe uses cinnamon and nutmeg for the cake layers, for the caramel filling and for frosting!
- Dulce de leche: this thick caramel sauce is actually cooked, sweetened condensed milk. You can use a thick caramel sauce in place of dulce de leche.
- Cream Cheese: soften the cream cheese for about 1 hour prior to making the cream cheese frosting. It will be easier to mix it!
How to Make the Cinnamon Cake Layers
My cinnamon roll cake starts with the incredible buttermilk cinnamon cake layers! These cake layers are so moist and delicate and delicious!
- Start by combining all the wet ingredients and sugar in a large mixing bowl: buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix until the eggs are well beaten.
- Next, it’s time for the dry ingredients. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined.
- Bake the cinnamon cake batter in three, 8-inch cake pans for about 25 to 27 minutes.
- The cake layers need to be completely cooled before using in the recipe! I recommend cooling them on a wire rack for about 1 ½ hours.
- Once they’re cooled, take a long, serrated knife and level the cakes. By exposing the inside of the cake, the caramel filling can fill the little air pockets!
Dulce de Leche Cake Filling
What I love about cinnamon rolls is the caramelized cinnamon filling! To imitate that delicious filling for my cinnamon roll cake recipe, I created my own version using dulce de leche! The cinnamon-flavored dulce de leche goes so well with the cake layers and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting!
To make the easy filling, simply combine one, 13-ounce can of dulce de leche with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix the spices into the caramel thoroughly and it’s all done!
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
My easy 5-Ingredient Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is the perfect option for this cinnamon roll cake! It tastes just like the spread I use for my original cinnamon roll recipe! I have a separate video recipe for this frosting, which is part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series. For this cake recipe, I added just 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the frosting.
Cream cheese frosting can often become soft and hard to work with. My solution? I like to prepare the frosting the evening before and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight! As the frosting chills, it really thickens and takes on a new consistency. I remove the frosting an hour or 2 before I need to use, allowing it to come up to room temperature. Don’t have time to chill the frosting overnight? Even an hour or 2 will work great!
- The cream cheese and butter should not be too soft or melted! This will also cause the frosting to be too soft. They need to be just soft to touch.
How to Assemble the Cinnamon Roll Cake
Once your cinnamon cake layers are cooled, it’s time to put together this incredible cinnamon roll cake! The first step is to level off the tops. I recommend doing this to expose the little air pockets inside.
- Spread half of the prepared dulce de leche filling onto the first cake layer and spread it evenly to the edges using an off-set spatula. Check out my video recipe above to see how it’s done!
- Next, add the frosting! Gently spread the frosting over the caramel to prevent it from sliding off. Top with the second cake layer and add the remaining caramel to the second layer, followed by more frosting.
- Frost the outside of the cake with a crumb coat of frosting first, then chill the cake and add the final layer. Check out the tools I use down below with my other product recommendations!
- Garnish the top of the cake with dollops of frosting, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of caramel sauce!
Enjoyed this amazing cinnamon roll cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Maple Pecan Cake with Maple French Buttercream – this delicious cake is made without any added sugars, just pure maple syrup, even for the frosting!
- Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cake – the most delicious pumpkin cake with caramel pecan filling and salted caramel buttercream!
- Chocolate Turtle Cake – another incredible caramel pecan filled cake, this one with chocolate cake layers and chocolate buttercream!
- Pineapple Carrot Cake – my favorite carrot cake is made with crushed pineapple, carrots, pecans and cream cheese frosting!
- Caramel Banana Banoffee Cake – this epic banana cake is filled with dulce de leche and frosted with cream cheese frosting. So delicious!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Ateco Turn-table: this turn-table is a must for all cake decorators! It makes cake decorating a breeze!
- Cake Spatulas: to get a beautiful finish for any cake, use these spatulas! Also, I love this cake scraper!
- Hand-held KitchenAid Mixer: some jobs don’t require a large stand mixer! This handy, small mixer is great for making cake batter!
- Decorating Tips: this set of decorating tips has all my favorites for decorating any cake or dessert!
Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe with cream cheese frosting (video)
For Cinnamon Cake:
- 1 cup whole-fat buttermilk
- ¾ cup cooking oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp EACH: baking powder, baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
For Caramel Filling:
- 13 oz can dulce de leche
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For Cinnamon Cake Layers:
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C and line three, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper; spray the sides with a baking spray.
- Prepare the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla and sugars. Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are well beaten and the mixture is smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and mix on medium speed for 1 minute, just until incorporated.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the three prepared pans and level the batter with a spoon or spatula. Bake in the preheated oven at 350F/177C for 25 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Next, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Place the softened butter into a large mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the softened cream cheese and continue whisking for another 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often, until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar. Mix again for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high speed until the frosting is fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, refrigerate until thickened.
For Caramel Filling:
- For the caramel filling, combine the dulce de leche, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl. Use a spatula to fold the spices into the caramel thoroughly.
Assembling the Cake:
- To assemble the cake, first make sure the layers are completely cooled. Next, use a serrated knife to level off the tops of each layer. Spread half of the prepared caramel filling onto the first cake layer and use a spatula to spread it evenly to the edges. Top the caramel with a generous amount of the cream cheese frosting. Gently spread the frosting over the caramel with an off-set spatula.
- Repeat the same process for the next cake layer, using the remaining caramel filling. Top with the last cake layer, then apply a crumb coat of frosting onto the cake. Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes before applying the final layer of frosting. Watch my video recipe to see how it’s done.
- To garnish the cake, transfer any remaining frosting into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used a French star tip #4. Pipe dollops onto the cake and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a drizzle of caramel sauce. For best results, refrigerate the cake for 1 hour prior to serving.