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December 29, 2011

cinnamon roll cake + maple cream cheese glaze.

I think I'll go the descriptive route with these.

The cake part itself is fairly healthy, with whole wheat flour and oil. Once the base cake batter is made, it is a rather attractive light brown, toasty color. I put ground flaxseed in, which speckled the batter and was highly reminiscent of the extra browned bits that arise from browned butter. And there is no need to go into detail about how magnificent and life-changing browned butter is.

After smoothing out the pillowy cake batter into the pan, you need to prepare the cinnamon swirl part. It is a cinnamon roll cake, so the cake part is like the dough of a cinnamon bun and then you need that thick swirl of cinnamon goodness. The swirl in the cake is made of softened butter, combined with an aromatic mix of dark brown sugar and ample cinnamon. This mixture is dolloped atop the cake batter, and then you go to work on it with the thin end of a spoon. The result is a fabulous swirled masterpiece that is sent to the oven.

You know it's done because the house smells like cinnamon. Did you know cinnamon can reduce your risk of heart disease? Yup. How alluring is that? Definitely much more so than the cake as it departs the oven. The cake part has risen and sort of envelopes the rich buttery cinnamon swirl that in enclosed in deep ripples. The swirl is not fully absorbed by the cake, still bubbling in some areas.

You draw your eyes away long enough to make the cream cheese glaze. You take some softened cream cheese and pour in a nice glug of real maple syrup. A drop of maple syrup ends up on your finger. A single, amber, translucent drop. It seems almost forbidden to lick something so golden, but you do it anyway. A little vanilla rounds out the flavor, and a few splashes of milk make the glaze the perfect viscosity. You start attempting to swirl the glaze onto the still warm cake, but correct yourself. It's better to have it smeared into every crevice, have it drip into every rivet, and coalesce with the still gooey swirl.

After the cake is ready, it is highly unphotogenic from the outside. You know this is simply a farce, though, that the facade outside hides a delectable interior. You carefully cut a slice and slide it out of the pan onto a fancy plate. Because only fancy will suffice for this beauty. The cut was too perfect. As remediation, you decide to take a bite to make the shot more rustic. You feel the residual heat of the cake and you see it slightly melting the glaze. After two bites, you hit the jackpot - the next bite will consist almost entirely of the buttery swirl, with just enough cake, and a generous amount of glaze, dripping stealthily down the side. A bite is necessary, quick, before the glaze hits the plate!

And then it's gone. All of it. Gone.

Cinnamon Roll Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze 
slightly adapted from hur

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup oil 
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 Tb all purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tspns (or 1/2 Tb) ground cinnamon 
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened 
  • 3 - 4 Tb real maple syrup 
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla 
  • 1 - 2 Tb milk 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Make the cake. Whisk dry ingredients together, from flour to salt. 
  3. Mix wet ingredients. 
  4. Add dry to wet, and mix till just incorporated. 
  5. Put batter into a greased round 9" cake pan. 
  6. Make the swirl. Mix together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon evenly. 
  7. Add to the butter, and mix thoroughly. 
  8. Dollop atop the cake batter, and swirl with the back of the spoon. 
  9. Bake cake. It should take about 20 - 30 minutes, a skewer (in the cake part) in the center should come out pretty clean. 
  10. Make glaze. Beat cream cheese. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Add milk, enough so frosting can be drizzled. Or keep it thick and just slather it on. Either way, glaze the cake while it's still warm. Add chopped nuts on top, if you so desire.
  11. Indulge. Serve warm, preferably, or at room temperature. 

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