Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

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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.

Overhead of beautiful rose-shaped cinnamon roll coffee cake with cinnamon sugar coating and sugar glaze on a light wooden background with a blue and white checkered cloth.

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!

Ingredients for the dough and cutting the dough into strips

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.  

Overhead of a homemade cinnamon roll coffee cake with a white sugar glaze on a wooden background with a white and blue checkered cloth.

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. 

Step by step photos of making the cinnamon sugar coating for the coffee cake.

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!

Making the icing in a mixing bowl and drizzling it on the coffee cake.

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. 

Close up on a white plate with a slice of cinnamon roll coffee cake with cinnamon sugar coating and simple sugar glaze eaten with a metal fork and a cup of coffee in the background.

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
Yield: 12 servings

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Quick Rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoon butter

Cinnamon Sugar Coating*

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (I doubled this)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and yeast; mix well.
  2. In a small saucepan or microwave safe dish, combine 3/4 cup milk, water, and butter. Heat to 120 to 130º.
  3. Add warm liquid to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
  4. 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.
  5. Grease a 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet.
  6. In a shallow dish or pie pan, combine nuts (if using), 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, mix well. Place melted butter in another shallow dish or pie pan.
  7. Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and keep pieces covered with plastic wrap.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350º. Uncover coffee cake. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Carefully remove from pan; place on serving plate.
  13. Glaze: In small bowl, combine glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm coffee cake.

Notes

*If desired, add 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts to the Cinnamon Sugar Coating.

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Three photos of a Sweet Petals Coffee Cake Close up on freshly baked cinnamon roll coffee cake with sugar glaze being drizzled over it with a spoon.
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