I LOVE cinnamon buns. In particular the ones from Cinnabon; huge, ooey, gooey messes of dough and cinnamony sugary goodness and loaded with cream cheese icing. You don't have to tell me how bad they are for me; believe me, I know. Chock full of carbs, butter, and sugar, and a whole meal in itself, a Cinnabon is a treat I rarely get, and feel immensely guilty when I do. But, because it's a rare event, when I get the chance I have one. This probably explains why I had one every single day that I was in Bangkok for a long weekend last fall, and even brought one back with me for breakfast!
So then you say, so why don't you just make them? Cinnamon buns aren't that hard, right? Well, no, probably not, and they have been on my list for quite some time, but they involve yeast, and kneading, and rising, and rolling, and finicky things like that, which combined with the general bad-for-me-ness have prevented me from doing it so far.
Until I saw this cake on Sweet as Sugar Cookies. There, Lisa basically describes how when she saw this cake all the other recipes she was planning to make flew out of her head. The same thing happened to me. I've had things in my head that I've wanted to make for months now, but this just took over. And part of the appeal was that it's so easy!
It begins with a regular old, run o' the mill vanilla cake batter. Then you whip together butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar and swirl it in. This is pretty tricky, because it doesn't "swirl" easily. I kind of just shoved it in and moved it around as best I could. I didn't quite get it as close to the edges as I should have!
Then you bake it, and top it with a basic glaze.
And you eat it while it's still warm!
Next time (and there WILL be a next time) I'll try making cream cheese icing to go on it. WAY easier than cinnamon buns, and just as good!
3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8" round cake pans, lining the bottom with parchment paper.
Blend the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, vanilla, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans.
Beat the 1 cup butter with brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, and cinnamon. Continue to beat until fully blended and fluffy (about 3 min.). Using a tablespoon, drop butter mixture onto cake batter. Use a knife to swirl right to the edges and cover with cake batter.
Bake cakes for about 25-30 min. Remove from oven and cool in pans 10 min. Turn cakes out onto serving plates.
For icing, whisk the powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk (or more as needed for desired consistency) and vanilla. Drizzle over warmed cakes.