Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake

Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake

Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake is absolute perfection. It’s simple to make, crazy delicious loaded with cinnamon sugar and covered in sweet icing!

This cinnamon roll cake recipe is easily a favorite in my house. I actually thought I had shared the recipe for this cake a long time ago…turns out I didn’t. You see when you bake as often as I do things get jumbled. Maybe it’s all the sugar? Nah…

Anyhow, this is the world’s easiest cake. My kids even request it for their birthday cake which seems so weird to me…hello no buttercream…but we all know kids are weird. Or maybe they aren’t…this cake is that good.

Yes, my cake mix-phobic friends I short-cutted this. I know, I know, you are all probably so disappointed in me. I am always looking for doctored up yellow cake mix recipes, and this cinnamon roll cake is the perfect example of when it’s RIGHT to use a cake mix. But yes please, if you would like to use your own cake recipe please do so. Just start the recipe when you add cinnamon sugar…I’ll explain that in a minute.

But first let’s take a look…the gooey cake, the drippy icing, the swirly cinnamon.

Hold me.


How to make Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake

Like I said the cinnamon roll cake itself it super duper easy. You’re basically doctoring up a cake mix a little bit.

THEN you make a little (a lot) of cinnamon sugar.

Cinnamon Sugar

You sprinkle that all over the top of the batter…


And gently swirl that in with a knife…


Don’t over swirl it though. You don’t want to mix it all in, you want gorgeous ribbons of cinnamon throughout.


Bake it up and it behold…


And then make a quick icing and behold again…


Your cake will be drowning in icing and loving every minute.


And if you can, wait until the icing sets up to cut it…


Or don’t. I get you.


Make it. Eat it. Love it.

This Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe will quickly become a favorite in your house!


Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert


This recipe is one of the most requested cake recipes in my house. My family loves it!


  • 1 (15.25- ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (not light)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream. Mix on low for 30 seconds and then raise the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Spread the cake batter into your prepared pan. In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this evenly on top of your cake.
  4. Using a butter knife gently swirl the cinnamon sugar into the cake batter. Don’t over-swirl, as you want ribbons of the mixture throughout the cake.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Cool cake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Pour this over the slightly warm cake. Allow the icing to set, or eat right away!


Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Keywords: cake, yellow cake mix, cinnamon roll, breakfast

Helpful tip… Out of sour cream? Here’s a sour cream substitute!












134 Responses

  1. Gloria

    I love, love, love that you have the picture of the food on the printed recipe. I am sure that we will all love this cake as well. Will be trying it for a birthday party soon.

  2. Ann Umland

    I LOVE cinnamon rolls! Will have to try this. We aren’t big cake eaters at my house, although “coffee cake” type things don’t last long. Pinned!

  3. Kate

    This is one of my favorite cakes too! I use butter instead of oil though…usually oil in a cake makes it dry (in my opinion—even if it does add flavor), but with all that lovely sour cream, you can get away with using butter and still have a moist cake. I’ve never tried both versions (butter vs. oil) side by side though….too many experiments, too little time. 🙂

  4. Julie

    I made this last night for guests we’re having this wknd, & it was incredibly easy & incredibly yummy! My hubby was literally moaning as he ate it this a.m. 🙂 The only change I made was to sub the oil for applesauce (I always do this to make cakes moister & healthier). I wasn’t sure where the vanilla was supposed to come into play, though, as it’s omitted from your instructions. I assumed in the cake mix since that’s where it’s listed w/ the rest of the ingredients, but I usually put some in my icing, too, so I ended up putting a tsp in both. 😉

  5. I just make a pancake version of this since I didn’t have any yellow cake mix. My husband loved them and now he’s offering to do all the weekend chores.(hehehe devil face emoji, did I plan for that to happen?)

    Thanks, Shelly!

  6. Jane

    Not “phobic” about cake mixes; just prefer to use trusted ingredients.

    This cake was very good using a from scratch yellow cake recipe. Everyone who ate it raved about it.


  7. Brandi

    I have made this twice now in a 9×13 and both times I couldn’t get it to bake through until after an hour. The bottom stays gooey. Any one deal with this? The top ends up browning and the bottom stays wet.

    1. Shelly

      Have you checked your oven temp lately? It sounds like your oven might be a little hot. I have this happen from time to time… Just buy a cheap oven thermometer and give it a quick check!

  8. Judy Plaatje

    Made your Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake yesterday afternoon. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Definitely going in my “Always Regarded as Delicious Recipe (ARDR) File”!! But, I just now ordered your NEW COOKBOOK on Amazon – so all of your recipes that I have printed out, and made, can just be stuck in your NEW COOKBOOK!! And, you won’t believe it, but the UPS man just this minute delivered my new Instant Pot, that I also ordered from Amazon – BECAUSE OF YOUR INSTANT POT SALSA VERDE CHICKEN recipe!! The hubs and I couldn’t stop eating it. Can’t wait to make it in the Instant Pot. Thanks for all of your efforts to give us such delicious recipes, and always with a smile!

  9. I felt the cup of brown sugar sprinkled on the top was too much. I ended up scraping it off. I think half that amount (unpacked) would have been sufficient. The cake itself was nice and moist.

  10. I felt the cup of sugar/cinnamon sprinkled over the top of the batter too much. Half that amount would have been sufficient. The cake itself was nice and moist.

  11. misty

    This is the same exact recipe i found on food.com a couple years ago and make for birthdays all the time its called quick cinnamon roll cake. My family always requests it for bdays and get togethers and they call it heaven cake.

  12. Catherine McIntyre

    Hi , is anybody there ?! I am in France , we do not have yellow cake mix, what can I use as a substitute ?
    Thnk you for your help ?

  13. Oh my goodness, Shelly, this cake is too good for words! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this over the past couple months! Gotta have my cake! I’ve had it warm, unwarm and even without the icing because I ran out of powdered sugar. It was superb no matter what! Thanks so much!!

  14. Germaine

    This cake was very very good. My family wanted to know if I could add apples to this recipe. Have u tried it with apples? Has anyone? If so did you apple pie filling or fresh apples? Thank you

  15. Ameliia

    I made this tonight. It was moist and fabulous. I too thought maybe it could have been just as good with half the brown sugar. I read a review that said the cake would be dry using the oil, it was NOT. It was very moist. Thank you so much Shelly for sharing this with us. This is the first recipe I’ve made of yours, but look forward to making many more.

  16. Tammy

    I was wondering if you could do this in a sheet pan? Or would it be too thin?
    Or could you double the recipe and put it in a sheet pan?
    Have you tried that at all?
    I have to feed 25 people so I didn’t know if that would work or if I just need to make 2 of the 9 x 13 pans.
    Please let me know

  17. Carrie

    This was delicious! I used a white cake mix because that’s what I had, but it turned out great! Thank you for sharing this! I’m sure my kids will request this a lot!

  18. Stacey

    This cake was delicious! Everyone LOVED it. I will definitely make it again. Funny note: I brought it to a party and I brought the recipe with me and 3 people asked for it!!!

  19. Tracie

    Wonderful !! In fact, I just heard my grandson (18 years ) bragging about the cake to the rest of his family. He had no idea I could hear him. And the cake was leftover from 3 days ago! That is a high compliment indeed!!!

  20. S Giuntoli

    I made this cake and while delicious it rose a lot more than yours and was not as gooey looking as the picture of yours…I wonder if you have any thoughts as to why it rose so much? I followed the recipe exactly.

  21. Dolores

    It’s a family WIN WIN! Thank you for the delicious recipe.. Only thing i added was cream cheese to the icing ? yummilicious?

  22. Kathy B

    My family loved this cake. I baked for my in-laws and my side of family heard about the cake and begged for me to bake. It was a huge hit and easy to bake.

  23. Sybyl

    This is the second year in a row that my son has requested this cake for his birthday. His friend, himself, and I love this cake as it does not have a traditional icing!

  24. Vince

    This is absolutely amazing! I mostly came to comment to let you and anyone else know that I made this today with a gluten free boxed yellow cake mix (I used King Arthur brand) and it worked beautifully.

    I hand mixed, using a whisk, and just made sure it was incorporated well. Since you aren’t building up the gluten strands or air in the cake the same way, making sure it is well mixed and somewhat aerated was enough.

    I was too gentle when I swirled unfortunately so a lot of the cinnamon sugar stayed on the top but it is still amazing. First time I’ve made a cake with a swirl through like that so I will do better next time!

  25. Robin R Shipman

    I just made this and HAD to comment This cake is DEE licious!!! I had a cake mix (don’t like them personally) so did a search on “cake mix recipes” and found this gem. Wow! Only item I was missing was the vanilla and I doubt if anyone would notice. I love love LOVE coffee cakes and this one is a winner.

    1. Shelly

      You can, but the recipe I wrote makes the cake richer and a little denser, but still super soft. If you make it according to the package directions, it will just be cake, if that makes sense!

  26. Liron

    Looks great!!!
    What can I do if we don’t have a yellow cake mix?
    We don’t have them in Israel…

    Thanks so much,

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  29. When I made this cake the first time, I had no sour cream. It turned out great though. I made it later with the sour cream and my husband and I both thought the first cake was better. It was denser, more like coffeecake and the cinnamon mixture was a bit crunchy. Great cake!

  30. When I made this cake the first time, I had no sour cream. It was still good. Later, I made it with the sour cream and both my husband and I thought it was better. It was denser, more like a coffeecake and the cinnamon mixture was a bit crunchy. Great cake!

  31. Alison

    I just made this and it’s great but I didn’t end up with any of the cinnamon sugar swirled into the cake, so it’s like a ton of sugar on top. Is there an art to making the ribbons? Was trying not to overmix like you said but I did run the knife through it a bunch of times, in swirls and figure eights!

  32. Hi there. I am planning on making this for my boss’ birthday this morning, before work. Your total time in the header was misleading, saying 30 minutes, when in the body of the recipe it calls to bake for 30 and cool for 20, give or take. Other than having to set my alarm for an earlier wake up call, I was wondering if this recipe translates well as cupcakes? This seems to be the best of both worlds: cinnamon rolls and cakes…who could ask for more? REALLY, REALLY looking forward to it. Thanks!

    1. Shelly

      The total time is the prep and bake time. Cool time isn’t included in that. But if you’re taking it to work, the commute time would work for the cooling off if that’s what you’re worried about! But yes, certainly you can make this recipe into cupcakes.

  33. Valerie L.

    This cake is delicious, and I am planning to make it again today. However, I have found that I needed to double the ingredients for the glaze, because I just didn’t think there was enough glaze to sufficiently cover the cake. Did anyone else have this problem?

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        1. Shelly

          IT might be a little denser than normal. Mixing with the mixer aerates the batter helping it rise, and create a light texture, but since the base of this recipe is a cake mix, it might work! I would recommend using a whisk at the very least!

  35. Charley

    First time I made this it turned out really oily overly eggy and soggy. It wasn’t great. But the second time it’s been great

  36. Missy J

    If there are any negative reviews they are insane. I absolutely never take the time to review things but this is super easy and fantastic. Seriously.

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  38. Heidi

    Made this today, the middle never cooked thoroughly even after 50 minutes. My oven is new and I have never had any issues with baking anything. Extremely oily . Maybe next time I will not use as much oil as you suggest…it smells good though.

  39. Leslie

    Is something off with the icing measurements? Just made a thick blobby mess that was very difficult to spread. I had to add more milk then microwave and was still thick. I ended up having to do two batches just to be able to cover the cake because it was too thick to spread.

    1. Shelly

      That’s strange! Simply adding more milk should thin it out. I would start by adding 1 teaspoon at a time more milk until the desired consistency is reached!

  40. Terry

    Made this according to the original recipe the first time and it was wonderful. Then I decided to add some diced apples and pecans into and it was awesome. Thanks for sharing recipe.

  41. I made this but I had a problem with the brown sugar topping. It didn’t swirl into the cake at all. It just sat on top and remained as grainy sugar. The cake still tasted good, but there was no cinnamon/brown sugar swirl at all. I’m thinking it would work better if I put half the cake batter, half the brown sugar/cinnamon, second half of cake batter, second half of brown sugar/cinnamon and swirled that. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I had this issue.


    I tried this recipe today. I used butter instead of oil. Cake isa bit on dry side after cooking 37 minutes. The cinnamon is not in the midle after swirling it around real good. I drizzled cream cheese icing on it. everyone likes it. I feel it could have turned out a bit better.

  43. Janelle

    This is a very easy and yummy cake! I have made it 5 times, and the last 2 times I have used a butter pecan cake mix which really takes it to the next level!! I will say that it tastes much better on the second day, so I always make it a day ahead of time. I suspect that the people who are having difficulty are either not reading the instructions, using the wrong ingredients (e.g., white sugar instead of icing sugar) or are using their own scratch cake recipe.

  44. Heatherjoy

    So good, even without the icing (we prefer whipped or ice cream instead of frostings/icings)! I ran out of vanilla and had a bit of maple extract to use up, so subbed that, along with two types of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Used spices in the cake batter and the sugar mix. Ran out of sour cream and yogurt, so used applesauce. Cake was light and moist with a rich, warm, complex, yet subtle, flavor. A pinch of sea salt on top makes for an incredible bite, btw. Huge hit in my house, have made it twice and will keep turning $1 Yellow Cake mixes into this delicious treat.

  45. Kathryn

    This recipe is so seriously yummy even if you mess up as I did! I had everything lined up, pan prepped and ready to go. When I put the cake on the cooling rack I saw the bowl of cinnamon and sugar. OOPS. I poked the cake all over and heated the sugar/cinnamon mixture in the microwave just until it glistened-about 20 seconds- then dumped it on the still hot cake, spread it around. A few minutes later I covered this with the icing. This was for a party the next day so there was no testing it out until then. Phew! It was still a yummy success!

  46. Elizabeth

    I was craving cinnamon rolls but didn’t want to go through the whole process of kneading dough and waiting. I came across this recipe, made it as written and it came out delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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