Today’s recipe takes the cake.
The coffee cake, that is.
You may think that I have lost my damn mind, but I think this recipe is kind of…genius. I am generally a modest person, too, so for me to say that really means something. These are incredible, guys. I combined two of the best breakfast baked goods into one, and there is no going back.
These impossibly fluffy and tender cinnamon rolls are topped with a TON of coffee cake streusel (because that is always the best part of any coffee cake, right?) and then drowned in a ridiculous cream cheese icing/glaze situation.
It is insanity. And genius. All at once.
The thing is, I have always been a HUUUUGE fan of cinnamon rolls.
On trips to the mall with my mom as kids, my sisters and I would always hope and pray that a Cinnabon cinnamon roll was in our futures. We kept our nagging and begging to a minimum, patiently walking around the mall and into stores we could care less about, and sometimes my mom would reward us with a cinnamon roll. We would all fight over the center of the cinnamon roll, too, because that’s the best part (duh). It’s where all the butter and sugar meet in all their gooey, glorious goodness.
We also ate a lot of those cinnamon rolls that come in a can with a little tub of frosting to schmear on them once they come out of the oven. We loved those. Those were a special treat, too. But when we saw the can in the fridge, we were always super excited.
As a young adult, I started making my own cinnamon rolls from scratch. And I gotta tell ya, nothing else compares. Once you do it, you may never eat another Cinnabon or canned cinnamon roll again. They’re just very…special when made at home. They take a little bit of time for rising/proofing/other fancy baking words, but the actual hands-on process of making them is easy! You just have to be ready to invest a little extra time.
For that reason, I usually save cinnamon rolls for special occasions, like Christmas morning or for a family brunch, but when I got the idea of topping cinnamon rolls with the best part of coffee cake (STREUSEL!), I couldn’t wait for a special occasion to arrive. I had to make them immediately. And tell you guys alllll about them!
Guess what? My husband thinks that these may be the best cinnamon rolls yet! He was not shy about diving right in when he saw them sitting on the counter. I promptly packed the remaining rolls up and sent them to work with him the next morning. It was for his own good, haha. The coworkers’ reviews aligned with his – these were something special.
Now, if the idea of sprinkling buttery, cinnamony streusel on top of cinnamon rolls freaks you out, (1) we may not be able to stay friends (I kid, I kid), and (2) feel free to leave it out of the equation. The cinnamon rolls and cream cheese icing DEFINITELY can stand on their own and will still be ridiculously delicious. I do urge you, however, to take a leap of faith here and try the streusel out. It adds so much to these!
Not only is the streusel incredibly easy to make (it all happens on the stovetop), but it adds another irresistible layer of buttery, sweet goodness on top of these already amazing cinnamon rolls. AND! It really makes these taste coffee cake-esque! It adds that fun, crumbly texture, which I adore.
So, c’mon! Lose your damn mind alongside me. You will NOT regret it.
2 cups whole milk
½ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 package of active-dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
4½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1½ teaspoons fine salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of fine salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Drizzle of milk
Whisk together the milk, canola oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until well combined (you want the sugar to dissolve).
Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 1 minute.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 4 cups of flour. With the dough hook attachment, start the machine and slowly pour in the yeast mixture until it is just combined.
Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm place for an hour.
Add the remaining ½ cup of flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix into the dough until well combined. At this point, you can either roll out the dough and use it immediately or store it in the fridge, well covered, for a couple days.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle on a well-floured surface until it is about ¼-inch thick.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Evenly pour the melted butter over the rolled out dough. Evenly sprinkle the butter with the sugars and cinnamon.
Carefully and gently start rolling the dough lengthwise, forming a tight roll.
Cut the dough into 1-inch slices and place in a well-greased baking dish (I used 2 9-inch round cake pans for mine - but feel free to put them all in one larger baking dish!). Once all the rolls have been placed in the baking dish, cover with a towel, and allow to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, or until they double in size.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the streusel topping by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the other ingredients to the pan once the butter is melted.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, for about 5 minutes. You want to cook it long enough to cook out the raw flour flavor. It is ready when it is very crumbly and the butter has been completely absorbed.
Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the baked cinnamon rolls while they cool.
Whisk together the cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, mixing well after each addition. If the icing is too thick, add in a splash of milk until you get it to a drizzling consistency.
Pour the icing over the warm cinnamon rolls and streusel.
Cinnamon roll dough recipe adapted from here.