I recently joined Pinterest and have been searching for delicious breakfast breads and cakes to make for the hubby. I found this cinnamon roll cake on several pins from several baking blogs – they were all the same recipe but duplicated so many times! It must be a great recipe. The first version I found was from Divine Baking, who also links up to another site with the recipe.
This was definitely delicious looking, and the prospect of a cake that tasted like a cinnamon roll minus the work was tempting. However, for breakfast it sounded pretty heavy – 3 sticks of butter and no fiber. I decided to try to health-ify it. I started by replacing 2/3 of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. I didn’t want to replace all of it to start because I didn’t know if the extra gluten would help with the gooeyness. Then I reduced the sugar in the cake because it had brown sugar swirled throughout and would be topped with a sugar glaze. Maybe I could have reduced it to 1/2 cup? It was still very sweet. I also replaced 2 sticks of butter with applesauce. I didn’t have dark brown sugar so I used 2 Tbsp of molasses – I figured since I was using whole wheat flour it could use more moisture since that needs more liquid than all-purpose flour.
With that said, I now share my attempt at a lightened version of the infamous cinnamon roll cake.
Lightened Wheat Cinnamon Roll Cake
Original recipe from Divine Baking
Yield: one 9×13 inch cake
For the Cake
For the Topping
For the Glaze
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In an electric or stand mixer mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Once combined well, slowly stir in the applesauce.
- Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, mix the softened butter, sugars, flour, cinnamon, applesauce, and pecans (if using) until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoon and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. You want to make sure it’s done.
- Place powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Random tip – if you need softened butter but didn’t think about this beforehand so you have rock hard, cold butter, stick it in a warm bowl of water. It will float so put the seam side-up. It probably needs about 5 minutes or so, depending on how warm the water is. It generally won’t melt, maybe a little on the edges, but it’s a good trick when you don’t prepare. I’ve done this for cookies, cakes, and tons of other baked goods and they always turn out fine. Don’t use hot water though – then you’ll get melted butter…that’s way different!
I didn’t follow directions too well. I used much bigger drops than tablespoons.
My brown sugar mixture probably looks a lot different than the original recipe because I used applesauce which is more liquidy. Theirs is maybe more of a crumble. Then you take a knife and swirl it around for a marbled look. I think I swirled mine too much because it didn’t look like Divine Baking’s.
Then it bakes and looks like this!
I debated adding the vanilla glaze, but there is no such thing as a cinnamon roll without the glaze. I would maybe make only have of the glaze recipe though since you pour it over a warm cake, it really just soaks in anyway…
This was definitely ooey, gooey, moist, and very cinnamon roll tasting. I did not noticed the absence of butter or the addition of whole wheat. I try to convince myself it’s completely healthy…