Monday, October 27, 2014

A Giant Cinnamon Bun - Happy Birthday Cathleen!

Someone should post a video of drizzling the glaze...

So after a few months of playing with different ovens/kitchens, I've found out that baking isn't really impossible in college. Of course, this process did take a few sacrificed cakes - the kitchen in my unit somehow only heats the outside of the cake no matter how long you bake them. At this moment I would like to give a sincere gratitude to all the dear friends who ate those partially uncooked cakes and even complimented on the soft (uncooked!) centers. Again, another reason to apply to Cornell ;)

So it turns out that my chef/housewife/talented singer roommate, Cathleen, is OBSESSED with cinnamon. Therefore for her birthday the brainstorming didn't need a long time of thought - what's more cinnamon-ny than a GIANT cinnamon bun? Adding the maple syrup glaze was more of a Canadian touch (homesick moment). 

A big thank you to all the generous and lovely people who've helped with the production of this "gone-in-10-minutes" cake - Jeanne's bread club and her yeast when I didn't have time to do grocery shopping, Richard and his awesome (functioning) oven, Jenny and her emergency milk, and the countless people who've helped set up for the day. Though the cake probably only played a small role, it was the product of patience and care. 

Okay enough with emotional moments now - time for the actual recipe, as requested :)

Giant Cinnamon Bun "Cake"

serves a few hungry college students or makes one 9-inch cake
adapted from one of my all-time favourites, Sally's Baking Addiction



  • 2 and 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour, non-sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 and 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) 2% milk 
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature


  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) salted butter, softened to room temperature (trust me salted actually tasted better)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon (because someone likes cinnamon) 
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar


  • 1 cup (120g) powdered (confectioners') sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or cream
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make the dough: Set aside 1/2 of flour. In a large bowl, toss the 2 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch (no need to be lukewarm). Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. I've added just 1/3 cup of the reserved flour since I didn't have a KitchenAid and the dough looked elastic enough. 
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will slightly rise.
  4. Make the filling: After 30 minutes, roll the dough out in a 15x12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Spray a 9-inch round pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips. Loosely roll up one strip and place it in the center of the pan. Sprinkle extra cinnamon-sugar topping on top if needed. 
  6. Loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 90 minutes (until doubled in size)
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. 
  8. Make the glaze: Remove cake from the oven when it's done. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, right before serving, drizzle with glaze. Mix the sifted powdered sugar, milk/cream, maple syrup and vanilla together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar and then add salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.
The newly-formed dough

not exactly a rectangle but...

buttery goodness

favorite part: sprinkling!


After baking, before glazing



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