Cinnamon Roll Cake

This summer has definitely been a busy one! And I cannot believe it’s already coming to a close.

During the summer, I had to say goodbye to my fiance every week as he traveled to various churches to help with revivals.  Was it difficult to be without him for most of the summer?  Yes.  But I am so proud of the work he and his fellow Engage team members accomplished!  (Want to know more about the Engage program? Click here)

One of the very first weekends he was gone, Jeremy asked me to make a cinnamon roll cake that a church family had made for the team.  Naturally, I said “sure!”  Of course I would try out a new recipe! I’m always in search of the next best thing in the dessert world.

Well, what had happened was…… the summer got busy.  And I mean, I-have-something-every-weekend-and-have-zero-downtime busy.  Cake orders have been flying in! (Yay for that!!) And wedding planning, as it turns out, takes a lot of time and research.

So I was a little delinquent on the baking of the cinnamon roll cake.  May I add….technically, technically, I’d never specified a date to bake it. I’d just said I would.  So, technically, I wasn’t delinquent…just procrastinating. 😉


Finally, much to Jeremy’s surprise, I made the cake! And it really was delicious.  Especially right after it came out of the oven, and when heated up in the microwave later. (I’m a “have your cake and eat it too” type of gal.)Cinnamon Roll Cake

Now it’s time to share the recipe with you!  I’ll share the original, then tell you how I made it a tiny bit more healthful.  (Shhh, I hadn’t told the recipient about that. It’s ok, was still delicious.)


Cinnamon Roll Cake

Makes ….not sure. Maybe 20 servings?


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 cups skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13X9 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, begin making the CAKE. Mix together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder. Then add milk, eggs, and vanilla. Cinnamon Roll CakeStir just until combined. Then add melted butter and stir until well blended.CinnamonRollCake2
  3. Pour cake batter into greased pan.
  4. Mix together ingredients for the TOPPING.CinnamonRollCake3
  5. Drop topping by spoonfuls on top of cake batter. Using a knife, swirl topping into batter.
  6. Bake for 28-32 minutes at 350 F.Cinnamon Roll Cake
  7. After taking cake out of the oven, mix ingredients for GLAZE in a bowl. Drizzle glaze over warm cake. (I didn’t need all of the glaze.)Cinnamon Roll Cake


Now, this cake looked delicious and all but holy butter sticks, people!! It sometimes pains me to put in the amount of butter and sugar  in recipes.  So most of the time I don’t.  This is what has lead my mom (twice) to say “don’t try to make it healthy….I want the real thing”.  I don’t listen to that very well.  (See Lightened Up Texas Sheet Cake Recipe)

For this one:  I made a half batch since it was just a few people eating the cake. But here are the changes I made:

  • Used 3/4 cup sugar in cake batter
  • Use egg substitute instead of eggs
  • For the topping, I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. I also used a scant, unpacked cup of brown sugar. Oh! And I didn’t need all of the topping.
  • Didn’t use all of the glaze.

Did these few changes make it a healthful cake?  Not by a loooooong shot. But it made me feel better to at least improve a tiny bit.


Cinnamon Swirl Cake

Do you ever wish for more hours in the day? More time to tackle your to-do list, more time to spend with family and friends, more time to sleep??

Lately, I’ve definitely been searching for more time. So when I needed to make a cake for a coworker’s going away party, I needed it to be fast. There is a time and a place for extravagant cakes (click here to see one of my favorites!) but this definitely wasn’t the time to spend hours decorating. I had to throw something together that looked presentable but tasted delicious.

Enter this cinnamon swirl cake.

The reason I love this cake is simple…’s simple! No crazy ingredients, it can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, AND everyone loved it. Use whatever white or vanilla cake recipe you love, add the cinnamon swirl, bake, and frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

The flavor of this cake is like a cinnamon roll but a little less sweet. Best of all, your house will smell amazing as it bakes!


Cinnamon Swirl Cake

Makes one 13X9 cake

  • Your favorite vanilla cake recipe, prepared (homemade or from a box)
  • Cinnamon swirl
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, unpacked
    • 1 Tbsp flour
    • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Cream cheese frosting (canned or homemade)

Preheat oven to temp specified by your cake batter recipe. Line the bottom of a 13X9 pan with parchment paper. Spray sides of the pan with nonstick spray.

Prepare your favorite vanilla cake batter and pour into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together until well combined. Drop tablespoons of cinnamon swirl mixture on top of batter.

Using a butter knife, swirl cinnamon mix into cake batter in a figure 8 pattern. Swirl until cinnamon mix is spread around cake (do not mix in completely).

Bake as specified by your cake batter recipe (or by box instructions if you’re using a mix).

Allow cake to cool. Frost and decorate as desired.


Here’s how I decorated my version: I sliced the cake into two layers and filled with cream cheese frosting. Then, frosted the entire cake and piped borders along the bottom and top edges. For a final touch, I sprinkled cinnamon along the top border.


Another “for special occasions” recipe (aka it isn’t one of my healthy recipes) but great for a quick and easy dessert that will impress a crowd!

Now, off to tackle more of my to-do list…..

Cinnamon Bun, Meet Popcorn

Want a quick and easy dessert? Ta-da!! Flavored popcorn. It’s super fast and super simple. In a matter of minutes with just a few ingredients, you can have something amazing.

Sorry for the crappy picture. But you get the idea 😉

Even better, it’s great for the days that you need to make something to take to work and do NOT have the patience to visit the grocery store for ingredients. I had every ingredient in my pantry, and could just throw everything together. Awesome!

If you like the sweet and salty combo, you’ll love this. It’s not quite as colorful as this, previously posted, popcorn recipe, but it’s every bit as yummy.

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

Makes 16 servings (2 cups each)

  • 2 2.9oz bags 94% fat free butter flavored microwavable popcorn (Like this one from Orville Redenbacher)
  • 8oz (1/3 of a package) vanilla almond bark
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves

Pop popcorn (one bag at a time) and allow to cool slightly.

Pour cooled popcorn into a large bowl or into two 13X9 pans. Pick out any unpopped kernels. (You really don’t want to bite down on those!)

Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Mix spices into melted almond bark.

Pour almond bark over popcorn (separate between your portions if you had to split popcorn into batches). Mix almond bark into popcorn. I used my hands to do this part. Keep mixing lightly until coating is well distributed.

Place in refrigerator to allow almond bark to set. I left it in the fridge overnight, but two hours or so will probably be enough.

Break up popcorn, and either place in a serving bowl or distribute into party bags.

Estimated nutrition information per serving: 106 Calories, 4.3g Fat, 3.8g Saturated fat, 16g Carbs, 9.4g Sugar, 1g Protein


Super simple! This makes great party favors or grab and go treats. And you can dress up the bags with ribbon or themed stickers.

Now yes, this DOES have a lot of of saturated fat, so it’s a “sometimes” food. 😉 Sorry, the dietitian in me has to say that!


What’s your favorite popcorn flavor?

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

On Friday, I celebrated a BIG milestone in my world: my LAST day as a dietetic intern. Yay!!! Hopefully, the next time I’m working in a hospital I’ll have the RD title behind my name….and will be getting paid. Let’s be real, I’m a little more excited about the paycheck.

Anywho, so yes, big day.  My last rotation has been at the Veteran’s Affairs hospital, and I did what I always do on my last day at a location. I baked thank-you favors. This time, I made Snickerdoodle cupcakes and Pina Colada cupcakes.

I’ve always LOVED snickerdoodle cookies. My mom has the best recipe and their soft, cinnamon-y goodness is amazing.  Now I have it in cupcake form.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe….and made a bit more healthy.

Makes 28 cupcakes.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temp
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, Splenda, and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, then add egg whites, mixing until incorporated after each addition.  Scrape the sides of the bowl often.
  5. Beat in vanilla, then reduce mixer speed to low.
  6. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with two additions of milk.  Beat until combined after each….But don’t over-mix! (it makes the cupcake tough)
  7. Fill paper liners 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.  Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely in cupcake pan on a wire rack.

Now, let’s talk toppings.  Yes, you can make a cinnamon buttercream to go on top (more on that another day) but I made a simple cinnamon-sugar topping for these to simplify it a bit. Here’s how:

Cinnamon-sugar Topping

  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted  (OR you can use spray butter, which is fewer calories and much easier)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. With a spoon, spread a small amount of butter (or a couple of sprays if using spray butter) on top of a cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon-sugar on top of buttered cupcake, shaking off any excess.
  3. Repeat for all cupcakes.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite cookie? Maybe we can make it into a cupcake too!