This petal-shaped Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake drizzled with a sweet glaze is delicious served fresh out of the oven for breakfast, as an afternoon pick-me-up alongside your favorite hot drink, or a fun-to-eat dessert.
This lovely rose petal coffee cake is adapted from a recipe from the Pillsbury Bake-Off, which I remember watching as a kid. This is my take on the classic vintage recipe for Sweet Petals Coffee Cake. And it’s no wonder this recipe has stuck around!
This coffee cake is similar to a cinnamon roll with a soft, buttery dough, but putting the cinnamon and sugar on the outside instead of on the inside, gives it a wonderful, crunchy, sugary texture. The coffee cake is finished with a pretty white sugar glaze.
I found the Sweet Petals Coffee Cake recipe in a little cookbook I picked up at the grocery store several years ago: The Best from 50 years of Bake-Off Contests. The original recipe was entered by Grace Autrey who created “a cinnamon-crusted coffee cake for the 9th Bake-Off Contest.”
Update: I’ve been making this Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake recipe regularly since I first posted about it. I updated this post with helpful tricks and new photos to make it easier than ever to achieve perfect, doughy coffee cake every time. Enjoy!
How to Make Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake
This Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake is a yeasted dough with just a few simple ingredients. The dough itself is made with all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, water and butter.
To make the dough, first combine the dry ingredients. I like to use my stand mixer with a paddle attachment to mix up the cinnamon roll dough. If you don’t have one, a hand mixer will work. You can also make this dough by hand, but it will take more time.
Next, add in the wet ingredients. If you’re using a stand or hand mixer, don’t add those liquids too quickly and be sure to turn down the mixer to low speed. Otherwise, you’ll end up splattered!
Once the mixer incorporates all of the wet and dry ingredients together and you’re no longer in the splash zone, you can increase the mixing speed to medium. Mix for 3 minutes to ensure everything is well combined. The dough will still be sticky.
At this point, the dough needs some kneading. I recommend switching to a dough hook if you have one. If not, the paddle will still work. Add in the remaining flour slowly, allowing it to incorporate between additions. Use just enough flour for the dough to lose its stickiness. It will pull away from the sides of the bowl. You may not need the full cup of flour.
When the flour is all mixed in, knead the dough in the machine for 5 minutes. This activates the gluten, which gives your Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake it’s pillowy, stretchy texture.
The dough now needs to rise in the mixing bowl covered for about 45 minutes, until it’s doubled in size. Look for a warm place to let your dough rise, such as near a fireplace or in a very low oven.
After rising, it’s time to do the fun part: punching down the dough. This step, called degassing, lets out the air in the dough and ensures your coffee cake doesn’t overrise and fall when baked.
What Kind of Yeast Should I Use for Homemade Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake?
You’ll want to use quick or instant rise yeast for this recipe. You can use active dry yeast, but you’ll need to allow more time for the dough to rise.
Overnight Method: You can make this the night before you want to serve it. Preferably use active dry yeast, follow the recipe as directed and store the shaped coffee cake in the fridge overnight. The next morning, allow the dough to rise for 1½ hours in a warm place before baking.
Forming A Beautiful Rose-Shaped Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake
While this old-fashioned Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake is pillowy, flavorful and buttery, the signature of this recipe is its fun petal shape.
It might look intricate, but this shape is quite simple to pull off. In fact, this is an especially great recipe to make with kids or grandkids.
Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. If you like to be precise, you can use a handy kitchen scale to ensure each piece of dough weighs the same.
Then roll each piece into a rope. The ropes will be roughly 12 inches long, but it’s more important that they are the same thickness rather than the same length. This way, they’ll all cook at the same time.
You can also have young hands help you coat the ropes in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. I find it’s easiest to set up an assembly line with a dish of melted butter, a dish of cinnamon sugar mixture and a prepared baking sheet.
A round pizza pan helps you keep the coffee cake rose nice and round, but if you only have rectangular baking sheets, use what you have!
Roll each dough rope in the melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar to coat fully, and then arrange on the pan. The first rope should be a tight coil right in the center of the pan. Then each additional rope gets placed around the center coil, touching so there are no gaps. The ropes don’t need to be joined. Just place a new rope where the last rope ended.
Let the shaped bread rise again covered in a warm spot until it’s puffy. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Now all that’s left to do is bake!
How to Decorate Freshly Baked Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake
When your old-fashioned Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake comes out of the oven, drizzle it with glaze while it’s still warm.
The glaze just takes a minute to mix up with just two ingredients. Use just enough milk for the glaze to become smooth, shiny and pourable.
Then use a spoon to drizzle the glaze into all the nooks and crannies of your beautiful sweet petal coffee cake. You could also use a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off for more control over your drizzle.
This is a great recipe to make with kids or grandkids. It’s so easy and looks great even if the strips are not perfect.
The first time I made it, my twins helped me make it. I cut the dough into strips and one son rolled them into ropes, I dipped them in the butter and my other son rolled them in sugar. They loved helping and waiting to eat it was the hardest part.
Is there anything better than the smell of sugar and cinnamon baking in the oven?
Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake
- 2 ½ to 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package 2 ¼ teaspoons Quick Rise yeast
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoon butter
Cinnamon Sugar Coating*
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butter melted
- ½ cup powdered sugar I doubled this
- 1 to 2 teaspoon milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and yeast; mix well.
- In a small saucepan or microwave safe dish, combine ¾ cup milk, water, and butter. Heat to 120 to 130º.
- Add warm liquid to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough, adding more or less flour as needed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place (80 to 85º) until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Grease a 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet.
- In a shallow dish or pie pan, combine nuts (if using), ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, mix well. Place melted butter in another shallow dish or pie pan.
- Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and keep pieces covered with plastic wrap.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch long rope. Dip each dough rope in butter to coat; roll in sugar mixture to coat evenly.
- Place 1 strip in the center of the pan; wind to form a coil. Repeat with remaining dough, placing close together to make a round, flat coffee cake.
- Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Uncover coffee cake. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Carefully remove from pan; place on serving plate.
- Glaze: In small bowl, combine glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm coffee cake.
More Delicious Cinnamon-Filled Treats
If cinnamon is popular at your house, there are dozens of delicious ways to enjoy your favorite spice from morning to night. Here are some of my favorite cinnamony sweets:
- This classic homemade Cinnamon Roll recipe is easy, with perfectly swirled cinnamony layers. These rolls are guaranteed to draw a crowd any time of day.
- Snickerdoodle Bread with Cinnamon Chips turns your favorite cinnamon-spiced cookie into a wonderful quick bread studded with cinnamon chips for extra crunch.
- For a carb-conscious but equally delicious treat, try these Sugar-Free Spiced Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes from Kayln’s Kitchen.
- These adorable Mini Cinnamon Rolls are the pared-down version of cinnamon rolls perfect for little hands or a party.
- Try out this easy king cake recipe for your next Mardi Gras celebration – or anytime you feel like it!
We LOVE this idea Barb!! We have to make it soon!! Hope you and your family are safe and well during this pandemic!!
Warmly, Anna and Liz
Thanks! We’re doing well, I hope your familes are safe and well too. Enjoy the coffee cake!
In direction #6 you provide to add nuts…that aren’t mentioned in the ingredients. What nuts did you have in mind and how much of them?
Hi Peter – I mention the nuts in the notes section – 3/4 cups finely chopped. Enjoy!
We used to make these in school in the early 60’s and 70’s to SELL
How fun – thanks for sharing Mary!
We have these every Christmas morning. And growing up my Mom would make them and take them to our friends lake house, somewhere along the line the kids (4 of us) nicknamed them slugs, and that’s what we have called them ever since. Had my 91 year old Uncle from Oregon come to Indiana this year for Christmas (our 1st family Christmas since 1971) and had to explain to him why we called them slugs. He wanted to recipe, so I came here as my Mom’s copied recipe from the cookbook was missing some of the needed info.
Such a fun story. Thanks for sharing it Karen!
What is the 1/4 cup water for. I don’t see any directions about using it
It’s added with the milk – I’ve updated the recipe. Enjoy!
That’s what I was thinking but I added to milk but some say to desolve the yeast in it
My family has been making these for literally decades. Since I was a little girl. Now my kids want them every Easter and Christmas. Thanks for posting. My mom has all the Pillsbury bake off books. Now I have this saved to my kindle so I don’t have to look for the recipe. Yay! And they are incredible.
These look so good, and I’m thinking of making them for Christmas morning.
Would I be able to make these the night before, so that I could just put them in the oven in the morning?
Yes, that should work well. I would use regular active yeast instead of instant yeast. Put it in the fridge after you’ve shaped it. Then in the morning let it rise (it will take longer to rise because it’s cold, maybe 1 1/2 hours) before baking it. This will be wonderful Christmas morning. Enjoy!
No way! I have the cookbook – a friend gave it to me over 20 years ago and I have made these sweet petals for about that long. In fact I have the cookbook opened to that very page and am making them in the morning. Fabulous. They are a huge hit with my peeps. Thanks for posting!
Hi Kim – It’s such a small world. I haven’t thought of that great little cookbook for a while now. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to have to pull it out again. Wish I was having Sweet Petals for breakfast. Enjoy! So glad you let me know.
This sounds delicious! I have Pillsbury bakeoff cookbook, as well as several little books – I am a fan!
Thanks Jenny – I was in a hurry to get the icing on, so I just put it on with a spoon instead of putting it in a bag and making it look really pretty. I agree Pillsbury recipes are great. Have you had the Pillsbury recipe for Chocolate Rollo cookies? Yum!
Mmmmm! That looks incredible. There’s just something about cinnamon and sugar that is so darn good. I love Pillsbury recipes!