A delicious re-interpretation of our homemade Cinnabuns recipe, this decadent Cinnamon Bun Cake has all of the scrumptious flavor of a cinnamon bun without all the work! Seriously, one of the easiest cake recipes you will ever make!
Cinnamon Bun Cake Recipe
Cinnamon buns are one of my favorite desserts, but they are time-consuming to make and require a lot of clean surface space to roll out the dough. Sometimes, you just want the taste of your favorite dessert – without all of the work!
This Cinnamon Bun Cake ended up being the perfect way to satisfy my cinnamon bun craving – using a doctored cake mix recipe with swirls of sweet cinnamon sugar baked in and a delicious, crackly vanilla frosting glaze on top. It tastes just like the inside piece of a cinnamon bun and is so easy to make that the kids can help with every step.
This sheet cake would be perfect for BBQs or potlucks – it’s low-fuss, easy to serve and I love being able to just bake my potluck contribution in a casserole dish and take it along with me. However, I can’t think of any occasion that I wouldn’t want a slice of this delicious, tender cake.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of nuts in cakes or cinnamon buns but if you’re a fan of them you can swirl them in along with the cinnamon sugar. I highly recommend Millican Pecan’s Pecan Pieces. I didn’t realize what a difference there could be between pecan brands, but these are so incredibly fresh and flavorful – plus I always grab some pecan coffee or their flavored pecans when I place my order.
Can you freeze this cinnamon bun cake? Yes, bake the cake in a freezer-safe container (another reason I love my Pyrex Casserole Dish), wrap and then store for up to one month. Do not add the frosting before freezing.
- You can make a cream cheese frosting for this cake instead of the crackly vanilla glaze described below
- Swap out the vanilla cake mix for chocolate cake mix, caramel cake mix, pumpkin cake mix, etc, for a new flavor combination.
- Use pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon for a fall-inspired twist
- Divide the recipe into individual loaf pans for 3 cinnamon roll cakes
- Swap out the oil required in the recipe for applesauce for a lower fat content
- Use a maple extract instead of vanilla for a delicious twist
More Cinnamon Bun Inspired Recipes
Of course, you can make our Homemade Cinnabuns recipe (or any of the delicious variations we’ve made on it – Gingerbread Cinnamon Buns, Strawberry Cinnamon Buns, Swedish Cinnamon Buns, etc), or check out these cinnamon bun inspired recipes:
- Cinnamon Bun Pancakes
- Cinnamon Bun Popcorn
- Easy Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls from the Soccer Mom Blog
- Cinnamon Bun Latte
- Cinnamon Bun Crackers
- Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Cake from Shugary Sweets
Cinnamon Bun Cake Ingredients
- Vanilla Cake Mix
- Oil of Choice
- Greek Yogurt <– can use sour cream
- Brown Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Vanilla Extract, optional
For the Vanilla Frosting:
- Powdered Icing Sugar
- Milk of choice, as needed
- Vanilla Extract, optional
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: swap out the vanilla cake mix for different flavors: caramel cake, pumpkin cake, etc.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- 9″ x 13″ Casserole Dish <– I love these Pyrex dishes with fitted lids for easy transportation to parties or leftover storage
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Electric mixer – this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
- Mixing Bowl
- Offset Spatula
How to Make a Cinnamon Bun Cake
Preheat oven to 325ºF
Grease and line a 8″x12″ cake pan, and set aside.
Mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and greek yogurt and combine for 2 full minutes.
Pour the cake batter into the cake pan.
Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the cake batter and then use a spoon or spatula to twirl the brown sugar mixture into the cake batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool slightly before preparing the icing.
(You can apply the frosting while the cake is still warm or wait for it to be cooled completely – if warm, it will melt into the cake a bit.)
Combine the powdered sugar, half of the milk, and the vanilla (if using). Add the milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Pour the frosting over your cake and smooth out with an offset spatula.
Grab your free printable for our Cinnamon Bun Sheet Cake recipe:
- 1 box cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup oil of choice
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
For the Frosting:
- 2 cups powdered icing sugar
- 3/4 cup milk of choice, as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Grease and line a 8"x12" cake pan, and set aside.
- Mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil and greek yogurt and combine for 2 full minutes.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan.
- Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the cake batter and then use a spoon or spatula to twirl the brown sugar mixture into the cake batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool before preparing the icing.
- Combine the powdered sugar, half of the milk, and the vanilla (if using). Add the milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
- Pour the frosting over your cake and smooth out with an offset spatula.
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365 Everyday Value, Organic Vanilla Extract, 4 fl oz
Domino Powdered Sugar, 32 Oz
Domino Dark Brown Sugar, 32 oz
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Greek Whole Milk Plain Yogurt, 32 Ounce
Pyrex Grab Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set, 8-Piece, Clear
McCormick Ground Cinnamon, 7.12 oz
Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix, White, 16.25 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 462Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 361mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 1gSugar: 52gProtein: 6g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
This cinnamon bun cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion – easy enough for a weeknight dessert but delicious enough for a special occasion.