Cinnamon Roll Cake might just be the most scrumptious way to dress up a box of cake mix! This seriously moist, sweet cake is swirled with a brown sugar, cinnamon roll filling and drizzled with a sweet icing!
*This recipe post is sponsored by Challenge Butter.*
Decadent Cinnamon Roll Cake Made Easy
This easy, but insanely delicious, Cinnamon Roll Cake is equal parts delicious and easy to make! I love whipping up a good box mix cake recipe. Too often, box cake mixes get a bad rap… But when you know how to dress them up, they can taste like they’re straight out of a bakery. This easy cake recipe combines cake mix with another one of my secret tools – vanilla pudding mix!
The pudding mix creates a dense, moist, and delicious element to the cake that really makes it taste like it was made from scratch. While the cake batter bakes to perfection, what really makes this dessert stand out is the swirl of buttery cinnamon roll filling! It’s made with ingredients like brown sugar, cinnamon, and the perfect amount of Challenge Butter.
If you love freshly baked cinnamon rolls (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll love this simple cake recipe! It combines all of the fluffy, sweet goodness of cinnamon rolls with everything you love about cake. Plus, unlike cinnamon rolls, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of dough rising and all that jazz. Just mix up the batter, swirl in that cinnamon sugar filling, bake, ice, and enjoy!
WHAT’S IN THIS CAKE?
Made with simple ingredients, this budget friendly cake recipe is made with lots of love without hurting your wallet. That’s always a win in my book!
For the cake:
- Yellow Cake Mix – Any brand should get the job done right! Just pick your favorite (or cheapest) box.
- Vanilla Pudding Mix – Don’t make the pudding! You’re simply going to mix the powder in with the other ingredients as it is.
- Milk – Whole milk works best for this cake batter.
- Eggs – They need to be room temperature, so don’t forget to take them out of the fridge about an hour prior to making the cake batter.
- Butter – I love using my favorite Challenge Unsalted Butter!
For the cinnamon roll filling:
- Brown Sugar – All out? No worries! You can make your own by combining one cup of white sugar with one tablespoon of molasses.
- Cinnamon – The amount of cinnamon in the mix adds just the right amount of warmth.
- Flour – All purpose flour is what you’ll need.
- Nuts – It’s an optional ingredient, but I personally love tossing in a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans.
For the icing:
- Powdered Sugar – No icing would be complete without this! Don’t swap it out for any other sugar.
- Vanilla – For the best results, use pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
I ❤️ CHALLENGE BUTTER!
If you open my fridge, Challenge Butter is the only butter you are going to find. Challenge Butter is made the old-fashioned way with the freshest milk and cream from happy cows. It is 100% natural and doesn’t have any artificial preservatives, fillers, dyes or added hormones.
I always use Challenge Butter in my kitchen because it is churned fresh daily, as it always has been since the company began in 1911! Challenge Butter is also farmer-owned with more than 450 family-owned dairies. I love knowing that we are helping to support other families!
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLL CAKE
Make the batter, add that gorgeous cinnamon roll swirl, bake, ice, and enjoy. This cake couldn’t be any easier to make… or eat!
- Prepare the kitchen. First things first! Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set it aside while you prepare the cake.
- Create the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Mix everything together until it’s nice and smooth with no lumps. Pour it into the prepared baking dish.
- Make the cinnamon roll filling. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Whisk everything together. Pour the melted butter over the cinnamon brown sugar mixture and mix until well combined. If using nuts, stir them into the filling at this point.
- Swirl it in. Pour the cinnamon roll filling on top of the cake batter in even rows across the top. Using a butter knife, swirl the cinnamon roll mixture into the batter. Be careful not to over swirl the mixture! Just a few good swirls should do the trick.
- Bake the cake. Bake for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Ice it and enjoy! While the cake is cooling for a few minutes, make the icing. In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth, leaving no lumps of powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over warm cake and serve immediately.
TIPS AND VARIATIONS
Make sure you enjoy the BEST Cinnamon Roll Cake every time!
- Serve it warm: Just like real cinnamon rolls, this Cinnamon Roll Cake is best served nice and warm! If you’re enjoying a slice after it’s cooled to room temperature, treat yourself to the best bite by warming it in the microwave in 5 second intervals.
- Make it even sweeter: If you prefer a fully coated cake, double the amount of icing. It’ll really double down on the sweetness. Or go with a Cream Cheese Frosting instead!
- Use full fat milk: I don’t recommend swapping the whole milk for skim or plant based milk. A full fat whole milk creates the best, most moist consistency for the cake.
- Don’t over bake: Honestly, this cake is very hard to mess up. There is only one golden rule: DO NOT OVER BAKE THE CAKE! Watch it closely and remove it as soon as it’s done baking! I check mine with a toothpick in an area that looks like cake only, no cinnamon swirl filling. Take the cake out of the oven as soon as the toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
STORING LEFTOVER CAKE
If you manage not to devour this whole cake in one sitting, it keeps pretty well for up to 3 days at room temperature! Just make sure it’s kept in an airtight container so it stays fresh and not dried out. Reheat a slice for 5 seconds in the microwave to make it taste almost as good as it did that first day!
CAN I FREEZE CINNAMON ROLL CAKE?
This cake freezes well! Wrap individual slices in saran wrap and then place in a ziplock freezer friendly bag. When ready to serve, let cake thaw on counter for a couple of hours and then serve room temperature or microwave a slice for 5 seconds for that freshly bake feel.
Cinnamon Roll Cake
- 1 box, 15.25 oz yellow cake mix (do not make the cake mix)
- 1 box, 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix (do not make the pudding)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup Challenge Unsalted Butter, melted
Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ cup 1 stick Challenge Unsalted Butter, melted
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Mix until well incorporated. Pour into baking dish.
- Next, begin making the Cinnamon Roll Filling. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour, then whisk together. Pour the melted butter over the cinnamon brown sugar mixture and mix until well combined. If using nuts, stir them into the filling.
- Pour the Cinnamon Roll Filling on top of the cake batter in even rows across the top. Using a butter knife, swirl the Cinnamon Roll mixture into the batter. Careful not to over swirl the mixture, just a few good swirls should do.
- Bake for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- While the cake is cooling for a few minutes, make the icing. In a small bowl, add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth, leaving no lumps of powdered sugar.
- Drizzle glaze over warm cake and serve immediately.
- Store leftover cake at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 5 days. Reheat a slice for 5 seconds in the microwave to make it taste almost as good as it did that first day!
- Freeze: Wrap individual slices in saran wrap and then place in a ziplock freezer friendly bag. When ready to serve, let cake thaw on counter for a couple of hours and then serve room temperature or microwave a slice for 5 seconds for that freshly bake feel.
More Sweet Cinnamon Recipes
- Orejas (Homemade Palmiers)
- Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Cinnamon Apple Empanadas
- Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- Bacon Cinnamon Rolls
- Easy Cinnamon Bread
- Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)
- Cinnamon Baked Apples
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.