Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

I was having a dessert discussion with a friend one day, who has a sweet tooth similar to mine, and we talked about if we HAD to give up ALL desserts but one which one would be the ONE we couldn't live without. We both agreed that cinnamon rolls was the one thing we could never ever give up. I mean we both LOVE lots of different types of sweets, goodies, cookies, pastries, and of course cupcakes, but there is just something soooooooooo good about warm, doughy, ooey gooey cinnamony goodness of a cinnamon roll. Whether they are fresh out of the oven, or reheated later on, they are tops in our world of desserts ( or even breakfasts!)  
I have had some issues in the past with baking with yeast. Very hit and miss for me. Either I had the wrong yeast, or it was expired, or my liquid wasn't warm enough, or my area to rise my dough wasn't warm enough. Whatever it was I have had some MAJOR FLOPS and have been very hesitant on making anything with yeast. But I had been having a craving for cinnamon rolls and really wanted to make them. I did stop by Cinnabon a few weeks ago and it satisfied my craving but I still wanted to see if I could be successful at making them at home again. I had made one recipe several years ago in our old apartment and they came out fantastic. I tried making an overnight recipe for Christmas and they were so bad I threw them all out.
Also since this is primarily a cupcake blog why not make - Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes!!! I was debating between making actual cinnamon rolls cupcake sized or making a buttery cinnamon vanilla cupcake and topping with the cream cheese frosting. I settled on the traditional type roll for this recipe and will make the other kind later on. This was my yeast challenge afterall.

So here we go....
Started out melting some butter. I tend to explode butter when melting in the microwave so I like to use my All Clad measuring cups and melt on the stove

Fresh Active Dry Yeast. Not instant

Warm milk - oops a little too warm. The best temp for proofing yeast is 105-115 F and I heated this up just a wee bit too much. So I waited for it to cool down to 110 F

My ingredients ready ( except for the flour)

The yeast, milk and sugar foaming up. Mine didn't get super foamy ( so I was starting to panic just a little) BUT it smelled super yeasty so I added in the rest of the ingredients hoping for the best

After an hour of rising ( I had heated up my oven to lowest temp, turned it off then put the bowl of dough inside covered and cracked the oven door so it could rise for an hour. The dough, not the oven. ha )
IT WORKED!!! Totally doubled in size!

This recipe makes 24 so I used cupcake liners since I had a feeling without they would stick to my pans. Plus I had some fun liners to use

After rolling the dough out I painted with the softened butter. You can do this with a spoon, hands whatever,  I like to use my pastry paintbrushes

Sprinkled with the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. I spooned it over and then spread around with my hands and sort of pushed into the dough. When rolling it was kind of spilling so I am wondering if making this more of a glaze would keep it all into place. I have also heard that sprinkling a little flour on top helps keep it in place. I will try those next time

I forgot to take a picture of them all rolled up into one giant log and cutting them but those are kind of a two hands on job and I think my husband would get mad if I got cinnamon and sugar all over his nice camera. 

After rising and then baking. Some poofed up crazy high so I squashed back in with a spoon. I wanted flatter tops for piping on the icing 

Perfect sized. Not ginormous like Cinnabon so you can actually still function after eating one and not slipping into a cinnamon roll coma.. ha ha

I wanted to pipe the frosting on instead of just a spoonful blobbed on top. Going for that cupcake "look". I frosted when the cupcakes were completely cool so the frosting would hold its shape and not melt all over...yet.
Surprisingly the liners didn't really stick with the cinnamon sugar butter oozing out  the bottom. 

I thought the bottoms looked kinda cool all spiraled up. And no they weren't burn, that's the cinnamon sugar glaze all sticky on the bottom. Yummy

I LOVED the way they looked cut in half. I put a TON of the cinnamon sugar inside but it seemed like there could have been MORE.

Microwaved for 15 seconds ( if they are already at room temp) 30-45 seconds if straight from the fridge. Seriously SOOO GOOD. And totally worth the work and waiting for them to rise. 

Cinnamon Roll Cupcake Recipe
Adapted from La Fuji Mama

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 tsp. or 1 packet (1/4 oz./7 g) dry active yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour 

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

1. Dissolve the yeast and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in the warm milk in a large bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes until foamy.
2. Mix in the eggs, butter, salt, and other 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Add flour and mix until well blended and the dough forms a ball. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about one hour).
3. After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners (I like to double them up because these cinnamon rolls are so moist), and lightly spray over the top of them with cooking spray.
4. Roll dough into a 12×22 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/2 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 24 rolls. If they are too big for the cupcake cups re-roll each one just a little bit tighter
5. Fill two cupcake pans with paper liners and lightly spray with cooking spray ( oil)  Place each roll in a cupcake liner. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Let rolls cool completely before frosting (or else the frosting will melt and slide off).

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar ( or as much as it takes to get to the consistency you want)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice or extract
pinch salt

Cream together the butter and sugar ( in electric mixer or a medium bowl with a hand mixer) add in the powdered sugar a half a cup at a time until you get the consistency you want. If you don't want stiffer for piping on the cupcakes use less sugar. Just adjust to your taste. Add in the vanilla, lemon juice and salt and mix well.


  1. What a great cupcake! I love these. I will have to give them a try. They are perfect for breakfast or dessert.

  2. Those look sooo yummy!

  3. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tracy Jeffries

  4. I made these and wondering why they would turn out kinda tough in my opinion. Not springy and airy. In order for them to be soft you have to microwave them. Any suggestions? On a positive note at least they look cute. :)

  5. mine were a little tough too and I remember having to nuke them to warm them up as well