A cake with tons of cinnamon, aromatic and delicious. The cake layers have the same flavour as cinnamon rolls and the cheese cream is the perfect companion for these cakes for the iconic flavour of cinnamon rolls but with a tart texture. To make it even more decadent, the top layer of the cake is made of real cinnamon rolls to give an impressive contrast of textures and a very special touch to this cake, and is deliciously finished with that extra layer of cinnamon rolls. The graceful touch of this wonderful cake is the cheese cream frosting that covers the cinnamon rolls and the mini cinnamon rolls, which are really cute !!
Today’s post is a bit special. From one side, it is special because with it I am opening the 2020 Christmas season recipes of the blog. Not that it is a Christmas recipe, this cake can be made any time of the year, and I would eat cinnamon rolls every day and be the happiest person in the universe. But I thought that with the decoration style it fits perfectly for this time of year.
Secondly this post is also special because I want to tell you about an inspiring corner that I found very close to home and that I wanted to share with you in this post.
It is a retreat in the woods near the town of Geisenbrunn. A dark and gloomy area, where as you can see, moss grows everywhere and that to me is simply magical. There are just a few places on earth where I have found so much peace as in that forest. To describe it in words is almost impossible, so I accompany it with some images, although I know that it still not enough either.
I discovered it recently thanks to the pandemic and the long walks I went for the past months, one day I ended up entering the nearby forests and reached this retreat, becoming a place I offen go to. One autumn day I decided to take the camera with me because I saw so much beauty around that I had to capture and share it. At this time of year the forest has more moss than ever and is full of all kinds of mushrooms.
So not only I decided to go and have fun with a photo shoot, but also I took a few twigs and moss to decorate the scene for this cake, because the images of this post are inspired in that forest, so I hope to take you there with while you read it as well. By the way, the photos at the end are very nice with the moss, but you should’ve seen me being scared every time a spider came out of the moss twigs. I didn’t like that at all, I’m not particularly afraid of them but those moss spiders have a very intense green colour that disturbs me a little. So, professional advice from a person who steals twigs from the woods, clean them before use !!
To take the photos in this forest I took my beloved macro lens, the Canon 50mm f1.4. It is the one I practically always use for blog sessions, although taking pictures in the nature with it is when I have more fun. It’s really made for that, there’s just a little bit of light and it is very difficult to capture the details, but with this lens you can handle it!
For those who do not know what a macro lens is, it is one which focal length is fixed, but the main feature is that photographs can be taken very close to the object and allow us to focus it, like these I’m sharing here today. They are also the best lenses to achieve those blurred background effects that are so beautiful in macro photography, and that are achieved by shooting at very low focal lengths.
By the way! another thing that I have not told you about this magical forest is that it is the home of these precious babies and their parents :). It is a protected area where deer live, they even have large feeders for them! Sadly, none of them hhave yet come out to greet me… but I’ll keep visiting them until they become my friends!
Cinnamon roll layer cake
A cake with tons of cinnamon, aromatic and delicious. The cake layers have the same flavor as cinnamon rolls and the cream cheese cream is the perfect companion for these cakes to have the iconic flavor of cinnamon rolls but with a tart texture.
- FOR THE BRIOCHE OF THE CINNAMON ROLLS (OPTIONAL, CAN BE PURCHASED):
- 150 ml milk
- 30 g butter
- 50 g brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 20 g fresh yeast
- 335 g of flour
- FOR THE FILLING OF THE CINNAMON ROLLS:
- 80 g butter at room temperature
- 100 g brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- FOR THE CAKE LAYERS:
- 200 g flour
- 1 and ½ teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 200 g sugar
- 120 g butter (at room temperature)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 160 ml milk
- 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- FOR THE FROSTING CREAM:
- 250 g cream cheese (Philadelphia type)
- 200 g heavy whipping cream (cold)
- 40 g icing sugar (add more if you want sweeter)
- FOR THE ICING OF THE CINNAMON ROLLS:
- 120 g cream cheese (Philadelphia type) at room temperature
- 60 ml milk
- 60 g icing sugar
The first step is to prepare the cinnamon rolls. As I indicate in the ingredient list, this step is optional, since you can buy the cinnamon rolls and even skip the top layer of the cake with the cinnamon rolls. If you're using a store-bought version, skip to step 7. If you decide to make it the same as I did, make the cinnamon roll brioche first. To do this, heat the milk with the butter until the butter has melted, it shouldn't boil. Melt the fresh yeast into the milk and butter mixture and keep a part. Pour the eggs into the mixer and with the paddle attachment, beat with the sugar, nutmeg and salt on medium speed for 1 minute.
Add the hot milk mixture and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour, beating for 1 minute and cleaning the sides of the bowl from time to time with the spatula. Add the rest of the flour and beat on medium-low speed for 1 more minute. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Grease a clean bowl with two drops of oil and transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1h 30min until it doubles in size.
When the dough has grown, drop it out onto a floured surface and knead lightly by hand to deflate. Roll out the dough into a rectangle of about 40x25 cm.
Spread the softened butter over the entire surface. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the spices. Sprinkle the mixture all over the surface of the buttered dough.
Divide the rectangle into two halves: one half should be ¼ the original size and the second half larger, about ¾. With the big one we will make the cinnamon rolls for the top layer of the cake and with the small one the mini rolls to decorate.
Roll the big dough portion on its longest side as tightly as you can and cut 7 rolls of about 4 cm wide. Grease the mold that you are going to use for the cake (in my case a 18 cm one). Arrange the rolls on the tray evenly. They should not be in contact, at this time the rolls are still small and there will be a lot of space between them and the margins of the mold, but that space will be filled when they do the second lift.
Repeat the previous step with the smaller dough square. In this case, cut the rolls about 2 cm wide and place them on a baking sheet leaving a gap between them.
Cover the trays with plastic wrap and let the rolls do the second lift for 1 hour until double their size. At this point you could also keep them in the fridge and leave them overnight. The next day you would take them out of the fridge in the morning and leave them for 1 hour at room temperature until they grow.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Bake the rolls for about 28-30 minutes. After 15 minutes in the oven, cover the tray with aluminium foil to avoid browning too much on the top. Remove from the oven and let cool before unmoulding. Don't eat them all before continuing with the cake.
To prepare the cake layers, preheat the oven to 170 ° C. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce the speed and add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully after each addition. Add the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Incorporating fully after each addition.
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon. Pour ¼ of the batter into two greased 18cm diameter pans. Sprinkle each of the pans with half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Pour the other 1/4 of the cake batter on top and spread as best you can so that the sugar and cinnamon are covered. Using a toothpick, swirl the dough so that it resembles the spiral of cinnamon rolls.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before unmoulding.
To prepare the frosting cream, using the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat all the ingredients on medium high speed until the creams thickens. Whisk for at least 2 minutes.
Lastly, prepare the icing for the cinnamon rolls. Using a whisk, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar and milk and mix until the mixture is homogeneous.
To assemble the cake, place a layer of sponge cake and cover with ⅓ of the frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and frost with ⅓ of the cream. Finally, top with the layer of cinnamon rolls and refrigerate the cake to harden for at least 2 hours. You can use a cake ring for stability if necessary.
When the cake is cold, you can frost the sides with the remaining ⅓ of cream. I have left it naked, using very little frosting for the sides. To finish, frost the cinnamon rolls with the icing and top with some mini cinnamon rolls as decoration.
The cake must be kept in the fridge if it is not going to be consumed immediately.