cinnamon roll cake with crunchy almond topping

cinnamon roll cake with a crunchy almond topping

breakfast breads are some of my favorite things.  sweet, tender, yeasty, full of cinnamon and when warm from the oven, nearly impossible to resist.  swirled breads and rolls always catch my attention and if i am making a batch at home, you can be sure it will be some sort of cinnamon swirled, yeast raised bread.  lately, i have seen any number of monster sized rolls baked in a cake pan and decided to take that route.

a standard sized recipe that would normally make about a dozen rolls was rolled out into a thin rectangle that measured 24″x 10″.   to make the filling, i broke out my secret recipe which is the topping for another of my favorite breakfast breads, a concha.  if you are unfamiliar with conchas, visit a hispanic bakery; they are large, fluffy sweet rolls with a crunchy cinnamon topping that has a shell pattern to it.  a buttery cinnamon mixture is spread on the dough and then the dough is cut into 2″x 24″ strips.  the strips are continuously wound around each other to make a giant spiral of dough and filling.  it is placed in a 10″ cake pan and allowed to rise so that it fills the pan.

but as always, i didn’t stop there.  to top off the cake, i cooked up a batch of my favorite almond topping.  there is a traditional german cake called a bienenstich, bee sting in english, which is made of layers of cake with custard filling and a crunchy almond topping.

the topping is made with butter, almonds, cream, flour, honey and brown sugar  and it is cooked until it boils.  the hot topping is spread over the completely risen cake just before baking and then the cake goes into the oven so the magic can happen.  after about an hour, the cake is ready; cool it in the pan for at least 10 minutes then carefully remove it.  one note, i never use springform pans.  the thin gauge metal allows the outside of the cake to burn before the inside is cooked and they always leak!  just use a regular 10″ cake pan and when it is cool enough to handle, place a plate on the top and invert the cake.  pull off the cake pan, place another plate on the bottom of the cake and invert it again.  then prepare the drizzle and drizzle away!  this cake is best served while still warm from the oven but it reheats nicely.

makes 1 (10″) cake serving at least 12

dough recipe
1 1/4 cup milk
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, at room temperature
about 4 cups all purpose flour,
cinnamon filling, recipe follows
crunchy almond topping, recipe follows

gently heat the milk to about 100 degrees F.  add the yeast and stir it to combine.  allow the mixture to sit until the yeast starts to get foamy.  add the sugar, salt, butter, egg and about 3 cups of the flour and mix to make a soft dough.  using the dough hook with the machine on medium low, continue to add enough flour that comes together and forms a smooth that cleans the sides of the bowl.  continue to knead the dough for about 5 minutes then place it in an oil bowl to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

while the dough rises, make the cinnamon filling and set it aside at room temperature until needed.  when the dough is ready, remove it from the bowl and place it on a large flat surface.  using a rolling pin and a small amount of flour, roll the dough out to a long rectangle measuring 10″ x 24″.  spread the filling evenly over the surface.  using a pizza wheel/pastry wheel, cut the dough into long strips measuring 2″ x 24″ each.  starting with one strip, roll the dough up into a spiral and place it in the center of a 10″ heavy gauge aluminum cake pan (not a spring form pan) that has been greased and lined with parchment paper -grease the paper too.  take the remaining strips of dough and continue to wind them around the spiral to make a giant cinnamon roll.  cover the cake with plastic and allow it to rise until it fills the pan, 1-2 hours or place it in the fridge overnight, take it out and allow it to sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking.  while the cake rises, make the almond topping recipe.  just before baking, spread the topping evenly over the cake almost to the edges.  preheat the oven to 350 and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean and the internal temperature in the center is 195 degrees F.

allow the cake to cool on a rack for 10-20 minutes.  place a plate over the cake, invert it, remove the paper and cover the bottom of the cake with another plate and invert it again.  drizzle a little white glaze over the cake if desired (1 cup powdered sugar mixed with a tablespoon or two of milk to form a glaze with the consistency of honey).

cinnamon filling recipe
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup all purpose flour
in a small mixing bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy.  add the egg and mix well.  sift the flour over the mixture and combine to form a smooth, spreadable batter.  keep at room temperature until needed.

crunchy almond topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey, or other light honey
1 tablespoon half and half
3/4 cups sliced almonds
place the butter, brown sugar, honey and half and half into a saute pan.  heat over low heat until the butter melts.  turn the heat up to medium and bring to a gentle boil.  allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes, stir in the almonds and remove from the heat.  spread the topping over the cake so that it covers the top but leave a half inch border around the edge to prevent it from running down the sides of the cake and causes sticking.

2 thoughts on “cinnamon roll cake with crunchy almond topping

  1. I love conchas. There is a bakery in South TX that I always hit up for those whenever I travel to that neck of the woods for work. (And the kolaches, of course. LOVE the kolaches).

    I would have never thought to make one large roll. This is a great idea (and a perfect morning treat).


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