Sunday, June 10, 2012

Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Birthday cake + cinnamon rolls?
It can only mean one thing... Happy 2nd Birthday, The Nonpareil Baker!

I've made a quite a few desserts over the past two years, which makes it pretty hard to pick favorites. But these cinnamon rolls? Easily one of the best things I've ever eaten.

I don't think I need to explain myself much on this one. It's cake and cinnamon rolls... together. You want specifics? There's yellow cake mix in the filling and the glaze! And let's not forget sprinkles. Sprinkles improve any situation in life by at least fifty percent.

It's true.

Not in the mood for cinnamon rolls? Well... that's weird. But if you insist, here are some more of my favorite recipes from the past year:

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
Maple Toffee Popcorn
Pumpkin Maple Rolls
Carrot Cake with Coconut, Raisins, & Walnuts
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Lofthouse-Style Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream

Marbled Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Sugar Blondies with M&M's

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Deep Dish Caramel Snickers Cookies

I know you're now dying to make every item on that list, but trust me... make birthday cake cinnamon rolls first! I was eating one while watching The Bachelorette with my sister (who was trying to be healthy), and despite the riveting plot development, I couldn't help remarking aloud how good it was and rolling my eyes every 12 seconds.

I'm sure it wasn't annoying at all?

Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Joy the Baker and How Sweet It Is

For the dough:

1/4 ounce active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water, heated to 115°F
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed

For the filling:

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup yellow cake mix

For the glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons milk


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, and water. Let the mixture sit until it becomes foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the mixture does not become foamy, start over with new yeast

2. To the yeast mixture, add the remaining granulated sugar, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Whisk until combined. Add the flour and salt, and mix at medium speed with the dough hook attachment until the dough begins to come together. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead for 4 minutes.

3. Add the butter, and continue kneading for 6 minutes more; the dough will be wet and sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and knead in another 1/3 cup flour. The dough will still be sticky! Transfer the dough to a large bowl coated with nonstick spray, and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.

4. Once the dough has doubled, transfer it to a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed; I added about 1/4 cup. Allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes before rolling.

5. Coat a rolling pin with flour, and roll the dough into a 10-inch square. In small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then spread it evenly over the dough. Fold the left side of the dough toward the center, and fold the right side over the left side, just as you would fold a letter to fit inside an envelope. Repeat this process, folding in the top and bottom to make a small square. Turn the dough over so the seam is facing down, and gently roll the dough into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. It's okay if some of the cream cheese peeks through!

6. Brush the melted butter all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, yellow cake mix, and sprinkles evenly over the butter, and gently press it into the dough. Starting from one of the short sides of the rectangle, begin rolling the dough into a tight cylinder. Position the cylinder so the seam is facing down, and trim off the uneven edges with a sharp knife.

7. Cut the dough into 8 slices. Arrange the slices evenly, cut side up, in a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

8. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once the rolls have risen, remove the plastic wrap and bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. 

9. While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cake mix, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons milk. Add additional milk if needed to reach the desired consistency. Pour the glaze over the warm rolls and top with sprinkles.

Makes about 8 rolls.