Cinnamon Bun Bread

Now, I am a big fan of cinnamon rolls. Whenever I pass a Cinnabon, it’s like the Cinnabon is a giant magnet and I am just a big old cinnamon-obsessed paper clip. It’s just plain sad, the lack of self-control that I have. But when it comes to actually making cinnamon rolls myself, my recipe goes something like this:

“Hi Mom! How are you? Oh me? I’m fine. I was just sitting here thinking about those fabulous cinnamon rolls that you make…*sigh*….”

Bingo. Cinnamon rolls.

But sadly for me, sometimes Mom is actually out of town and not sitting by the phone waiting for me to call, which is why I was thrilled to find this recipe on Baking Bites. It has all the cinnamon-sweet flavor of those fabulous rolls — but you make it in a regular 8×8 baking pan with none of the trials and tribulations of the yeast dough, and the rolling, and the rising, etc etc. The cinnamon filling gets swirled right into the dough so that when you cut into it, you get these amazing ribbons of cinnamon sugar goodness right through the center of the cake. (I know, the recipe says this is Cinnamon Bun Bread, and so that is what I am officially calling it, but honestly? It’s cake. I’m just being straight with you here.)

So on those occasions when Mom is actually out there doing something besides making me her amazing cinnamon rolls and I have a cinnamon roll emergency, I have this recipe in my back pocket. What a relief.

CINNAMON BUN BREAD, adapted from Baking Bites

Cinnamon Bun Bread
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
  • ⅔ cup warm milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Filling/Topping
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream
  1. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture.
  4. Mix until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.
  6. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)
  7. Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
  8. Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.


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  1. Grace says

    for me, resistance is futile against the power of cinnabon, and heck, cinnamon rolls in general. this is an outstanding cake–the filling alone makes me giddy. :)

  2. Lisa says

    Hi! Is it baked in a 13 x 9 or an 8 x8? Looks yummy and want to be sure i use the right pan – description says 13 x 9, recipe, 8 x 8? Thanks!!

  3. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    Lisa, you are SO right. 8×8, and I will fix the description. What would I do without my eagle-eyed readers??? :-)

  4. Jenn/CinnamonQuill says

    Wonderful idea! Plus, I find that when I make cinnamon rolls, people act as if they can't eat an *entire* cinnamon roll (um, we all know they can ;-), but with this bread they could take a piece and not feel so guilty, or whatever. Anymore, I just indulge without shame. Can't wait to try this idea!

  5. Ingrid says

    I made this as muffins. It IS amazing and will curb a cinnamon roll craving which in my house comes often. I'm the mom at the end of that phone call or rather a shout from the other end of the house.

    Your photos are terrific.

  6. Anonymous says

    I have made yeast dough with hot water before, but how warm should the milk be for the recipe? looks amazing!! love your blog!

  7. joeyrabbit says

    Am I reading correctly, 4 (four) teaspoons of yeast? Is that the equivalent of one pkg rapid or active rise yeast?

  8. FramedCooks says

    Yes, that's right, 4 teaspoons. One packet has 2 1/2 teaspoons in it, but you can also buy yeast by the jar and measure it out that way.

  9. easy victor says

    Hi Kate,

    I know this is an old receipt and thread, but it looks close to what I am trying to reproduce. Let me explain.

    My Mom used to make what she called a “pull cake”. Essentially, it was in the shape of a bunt pan, and you “pulled” pieces of cake from the whole cake that were formed into balls during the prep before baking. Each one of these balls had cinnamon sugar throughout (not a lot, just enough for a great taste), and were separated from each other by, if I recall, some more cinnamon sugar and possibly honey (but I’m not sure of any of this!). The flavor was amazing, and it was fun to pull the pieces from the cake instead of cutting a piece. Both kids and adults loved it.

    Mom passed away 6 years ago, and all her recipes were lost. Yours looks the closest to anything I’ve seen.

    So, my question is, do you think this recipe would work if I make the dough into balls and then baked them?

    • Kate says

      I know exactly what you are talking about – it’s called monkey bread (no idea why!) and I’ve been meaning to try a recipe for it for ages! I’m not sure this recipe would work for that, as it’s a little more “cake-like” than the monkey breads I have eaten…but I could be wrong! In the meantime, here’s a recipe from my friend Ree’s website for actual monkey bread to see if it looked like your mom’s, or if it gave you any ideas about working with my recipe. Hope this helps!

      • easy victor says

        Lol! I made that EXACT recipe 2 days ago hoping that it was the one I was looking for, but alas, it was too bread-like. Don’t get me wrong- it was pretty darn good (and really easy!). And looked like what I was trying to reproduce.

        Your concern about it being cake-like is more in line what I am trying to do (I think). I think I’ll just try making yours and cross my fingers. My salivary glands are telling me that I’m getting really close!

        Thanks for your response!

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