These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are perfect for fall and for feeding a crowd! AND they start with a Pillsbury® Cake Mix! Love that!
I am in love with cinnamon rolls.
Like, I kind of want to marry them.
But the thing with cinnamon rolls, is that they aren’t a simple whip up a batch and make kind of thing.
There’s yeast involved, rising, sitting, kneading…
Anyhow when Pillsbury asked me to have a look at some of their new fall seasonal products, I jumped at the chance…because a little birdie told me that Caramel Apple was one of their new flavors! ANNNND I knew that might be nothing better in life than using that Caramel Apple Cake Mix in a batch of cinnamon rolls. Can you even imagine a better flavor combo?
Here’s the thing…
Since Cinnamon Rolls are a bit of a “process” I always used to think of them as “special occasion” food.
But, what Pillsbury asked me to focus on with their new line of mixes was “Celebrate More”… and so that made me pause.
Cinnamon Rolls don’t have to be a special occasion food… they can be a, “Let’s celebrate Saturday” food…right?
Celebrating more of your everyday moments is really something that I try and do…as hard as it might be.
And while cinnamon rolls might not be your “celebration breakfast” of choice.. you could certainly make a cake to celebrate an evening at home. What’s more fun than cake after dinner when it’s NOT a birthday? Right?
Or celebrate your kid’s soccer game with an expected batch of cookies… it’s just little things like that you can do to make normal days a celebration.
But with all that said, we’re here today to focus on Cinnamon Rolls. Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls…basically a party in a pastry.
Let’s talk about these…yes they start with a cake mix, but you still have to do a little bit of work.
The cake mix in this case adds the delicious caramel apple favor which is unexpected! But you could absolutely use a vanilla cake mix for this recipe as well!
I started by making a caramel apple filling…again you could omit this step, no problem..I just liked the idea of the little chunks of apple through out!
It’s a simple filling..some chopped apples, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Once you have cooked all that together, set it aside to cool down, and get started on the dough.
First mix your cake mix, flour and yeast (Rapid Rise) into a large bowl…
Add some warm water and mix that together.
You’ll need to add a little more flour to the mix and knead that on a floured surface until it comes together…
Grease a large bowl and set your dough in there to rise.
It will almost double in size in about 45 minutes…
Once it’s ready divide it into two equal portions and roll it out in a rectangle. Brush it lightly with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar…
Then top that with half of your apple mixture and roll it up…
Slice it carefully into 12 pieces and place it in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
Cover that and let it rise again for about 20 more minutes. During this time repeat the process with your remaining dough.
Then bake your cinnamon rolls up!
Now to finish them off, I used the Caramel Apple frosting. You could easily use a vanilla or cream cheese frosting too! I heated the frosting up in the microwave for about 25 seconds until it was pourable and then drizzled about half of the frosting onto my first batch of cinnamon rolls, reserving the other half for the other pan.
And then I dug in.
I loved using the Pillsbury Cake Mix in this recipe…the flavor combo was sensational!
makes 2 pan of 12 cinnamon rolls (total 24)
Caramel Apple mixture
- 2 apples, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
Cinnamon Roll dough
- 5 – 6 cups flour, divided
- 1 box Caramel Apple Cake Mix, or you could use vanilla
- 2 (.25 oz) packages of quick rise yeast
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 can Caramel Apple Frosting (you could sub vanilla or cream cheese frosting as well!
Caramel Apple Mixture
- In a medium saucepan combine apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes until apples are soft and mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
- In large bowl combine cake mix, 4 cups of flour and yeast. Pour in warm water and mix to combine.
- Turn the dough out on a floured surface and add in 1-2 more cups of flour, kneading until the dough is elastic and soft.
- Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400° and grease 2 9×13 baking pans.
- When dough has doubled in size remove from bowl and divide in half.
- Roll half of dough out on a floured surface into roughly a 10×14 inch rectangle.
- Mix together the cinnamon and light brown sugar for filling.
- Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Reserving the other half for the second dough.
- Top this with half of reserved caramel apple mixture.
- Roll up the dough and cut it into 12 slices and brush with a little bit more butter. Place your rolls into one of the prepared pans and cover with a towel for another 20 minutes. Rolls will almost double in size.
- Repeat process with the leftover dough and remaining toppings.
- Bake each pan for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Microwave the frosting for 20-25 seconds, stirring until smooth and pourable.
- Drizzle frosting over cinnamon rolls.
- Serve warm.
If you can’t find the Caramel Apple Cake Mix, simply sub in a vanilla or french vanilla cake mix. Also, you can easily use vanilla or cream cheese frosting.
*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but thoughts are my own. ©/® The J.M. Smucker Company. Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license.