Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Imagine a giant cinnamon roll except you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise and it’s easier to make! That’s exactly what this Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake is! Buttery and rich yet light and fluffy thanks to a few secret ingredients and tricks!
Prep 35 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Cooling / Assembly 20 minutes
Total 1 hour 40 minutes
5 from 13 votes

If you’ve been following along the blog for awhile, you know that I love sharing a mix of healthy yet creative recipes and straight up comfort food. This Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake, as you might have guessed from the title of the recipe, falls squarely into the latter camp.

It is the most decadent and delicious cake, and I do not say that with any exaggeration. I couldn’t stop eating it (I ate three slices in 30 minutes flat) and my friends couldn’t stop raving about it #notsohumblebrag #buttrue

Table of Contents:
1. Why you’ll love this recipe
2. Tips for making this recipe
3. Ingredient notes
4. Recipe card with notes

Why you’ll love this recipe

What I love the most about this cake is that it tastes just like a damn cinnamon roll but it’s much easier to make! To be honest, making cinnamon rolls (or anything with yeast) stresses me out a bit, and I don’t like having to wait for the dough to rise. I know, I know. I sound lazy and impatient (that’s not necessarily untrue). So, I decided to create a cake that tastes just like a cinnamon roll, and it’s perfect for anyone who is similarly lazy and/or impatient.

What I also love about this cake is the texture. It is light and fluffy and tender, yet buttery and rich. It’s truly the best of both worlds. If you’ve ever been disappointed by cake because it’s dry or dense, then you really need to try this recipe because it has the best texture of any cake I’ve ever made. I know, another strong statement, but I am NOT exaggerating!

Sliced cinnamon roll cake on a round marble serving platter.

Tips for making this recipe

Here are my tips for nailing that fluffy cake texture so you can trick yourself into thinking you are eating light-as-air cake, even though it’s actually buttery-and-decadent cake. #mindtricks

Vegan Buttermilk

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If you’re familiar with baking, you might know that buttermilk is often added to baked goods because it’s acidic, and a slightly acidic batter tenderizes the gluten in flour, breaking down those tough glutenous strands so the baked goods come out tender and moist.

Since traditional buttermilk is made with, well, milk, it’s decidedly not vegan. Luckily, there’s an incredibly easy substitute that works really well: mixing plant-based milk with apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar is too harsh). After you mix these two ingredients and set it aside for a bit, you’ll notice it’ll start curdling, just like buttermilk. Any plant-based milk works fine, but I’ve noticed that you get the most curdling action with soy milk.

Side note: curdling action looks like cuddling action, but they are two very different things.


Aquafaba, like vegan buttermilk, is another creative substitute for a common ingredient used in baked goods: eggs. If you’re wondering what aquafaba is, it’s simply the liquid leftover from cooked chickpeas.

When aquafaba is heavily whipped, it turns into a fluffy white concoction that mimics the properties of beaten egg whites in baking. Genius, right? And even lightly whipping aquafaba, as is done in this recipe, brings a fluffy texture and a nice lift to baked goods.

Cake Flour

There’s a reason cake flour is called cake flour. It’s especially great in cakes because it has a softer and more delicate texture than all-purpose flour, resulting in cakes with a finer, more tender crumb. While all-purpose flour is fine in many cake recipes, if you really want a light and extra fluffy cake, cake flour is the way to go.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder

As you probably know, baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents. Baking soda is much stronger than baking powder in terms of how much rise you’ll get from baked goods.

Baking soda also requires the recipe to have some sort of acid to start reacting with it, and the acidity in apple cider vinegar is the perfect neutral-tasting option that will help activate the leavening action of baking soda, thereby enhancing the amount of rise in your cakes.

Baking soda also requires some sort of acid because it is alkaline, and without an acid to neutralize it, an excess amount of baking soda can leave a soapy taste in your mouth! The acidity in the buttermilk cancels out baking soda’s alkaline nature, but the alkaline nature of baking soda, then in turn, cancels out the tanginess (acidity) in the buttermilk. Since a subtle tanginess is welcome in a cake like this (as opposed to say, a chocolate cake – I talk about this more in this post), I also use some baking powder here. The additional leavening agent not only slightly increases the rise in this cake, but baking powder also brings in a tiny bit of its own acid (not nearly as much as baking soda), which allows just a tiny bit of that buttermilk tang to remain in the batter.

Mixing the Cake Batter Just Enough

This last tip is incredibly important. Too often, cakes turn out dense or dry because the batter has been overmixed. Many home chefs think that the wet and dry ingredients have to be 100% incorporated and the batter must be 100% smooth. But in many cakes (and certainly things like pancakes and muffins), it’s okay to have a little bit of flour that isn’t 100% perfectly mixed in.

The chief reason you want to avoid overmixing the wet and dry ingredients together is that it causes the batter to become denser. This is because when you mix flour with liquid, it activates the proteins found in gluten that give baked goods their structure. Overmixing can cause the gluten to get elastic and tough, resulting in a dense, perhaps even chewy texture.

My advice: as soon as you get a 95% uniform dough, stop mixing.

Woman using cake server to take a piece of cake from marble serving board.

Ingredient Notes

Okay, now that I’ve given away all of my secrets for how to bake a light and fluffy cake, a few more notes about the ingredients and tips for success!

I use vegan butter in both the cake batter and in the brown sugar-cinnamon swirl filling. The first step in this recipe reminds you to take your butter out of the fridge so you can soften it at room temperature. This recipe will NOT work with cold butter.

The recipe also calls for sunflower oil, though you can use any relatively neutral oil you like. The reason I use both oil and butter is that butter brings that rich buttery taste (obviously), but using butter alone can result in a cake that feels too heavy.

For the brown sugar-cinnamon swirl filling, I scoop it into a piping bag, and then carefully pipe out a big concentric circle on top of the cake batter. That’s what makes it look like giant cinnamon roll! But, if you are feeling lazy (hey, it happens), you can just dollop rounds of the filling along the top of the cake and use a skewer or knife to create a swirl pattern. It won’t look as cool but it will still taste delicious!

And finally, you’ll notice that there’s a sugar icing involved because, well, cinnamon buns wouldn’t be cinnamon buns without that icing/frosting. But, I recognize there’s quite a bit of sugar in this cake, so feel free to cut the sugar icing recipe in half and just add a light drizzle over the cake.

Cake server with a slice of cake on it on marble serving board.

If you love this Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake, please rate and review the recipe below. It’s always much appreciated :)

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake

5 from 13 votes
Imagine a giant cinnamon roll except you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise and it’s easier to make! That’s exactly what this Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake is! Buttery and rich yet light and fluffy thanks to a few secret ingredients and tricks!
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling / Assembly 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 12



  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened at room temperature (I used Country Crock’s olive oil-based Plant Butter)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nondairy milk at room temperature (I used almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups 256 g cake flour (spooned and leveled)
  • A heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Swirl Filling

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened at room temperature (I used Country Crock’s olive oil-based Plant Butter)
  • 1/3 tightly packed cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour, you can use more of the cake flour, or all-purpose flour

Sugar Icing

  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Take the vegan butter for the cake and cinnamon swirl out of the fridge to soften.
  • Line the bottom of a round 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides to prevent sticking. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • Make the vegan buttermilk. Combine the 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar and stir. Set aside to curdle.
  • Prepare the aquafaba. Pour 1/3 cup of the liquid from a can of chickpeas into a medium bowl. You can also use the liquid from chickpeas cooked from scratch. With an electric mixer, beat the aquafaba on medium speed until it starts to get foamy, about 45-60 seconds.
  • Whisk together the cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl, add the softened 1/3 cup vegan vegan butter, cane sugar, and oil until well incorporated and fluffy, 45 seconds or so. Add in the whipped aquafaba and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined, 15-20 seconds .
  • Add half of the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, beating on low speed until just combined. Then add the vegan buttermilk and beat until just combined. Finally, add in the remaining flour mixture until you have a mostly smooth batter, but do not overmix (it’s okay if there are a few flour pockets remaining) to prevent the cake from getting dense. The batter should be light and fluffy. Transfer the batter to the prepared 9-inch cake pan.
  • Make the cinnamon swirl filling: Add the 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon flour to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together until evenly combined.
  • Scoop the cinnamon swirl filling into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off. Starting in the center, pipe the filling into a concentric circle to mimic the look of a cinnamon roll. Alternatively, you can simply dollop the cinnamon filling evenly over the cake better and use a skewer or knife to marble and swirl over the cake.
  • Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, and it feels firm to the touch and the edges are lightly browned. My cake was done in exactly 40 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before removing from the cake pan and serving.
  • Make the sugar icing while the cake is resting. Add the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons nondairy milk, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, but still thick and viscous. Add more milk as needed. Drizzle the icing over the warm cake and serve warm.

Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 611IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 from 13 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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36 comments on Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake

  1. Lin

    5 stars
    This is such a fluffy and delicious cake!! I followed the recipe as written and it turned out so well. I think my cake pan might be on the shorter side so it bubbled over a little bit, next time I’ll add a baking sheet underneath just in case.
    I’ll defiantly make this again for any brunch/holiday event!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We appreciate your feedback and support, Lin. Thank you for leaving a review!

  2. Riffat Nisa

    Can i miss out the aquafaba?
    Or replace it with something else?

  3. Ishika

    5 stars
    My friends said this was the best thing I’ve ever made (and I’ve cooked for them many, many times). Thanks for making it so easy to be vegan, Nisha! <3

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, we are elated to hear that, Ishika! You’re very welcome for the recipes :)

  4. Michelle

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday (along with your naan recipe) for my brother-in-law’s birthday party. My sister also made a cake for her husband, which looked a lot nicer than my cinnamon roll cake, but everyone wanted to eat my cake. They said it was heavenly good. My sister got jealous. I find myself hardly cooking anything else except for your recipes. I just know, whatever recipe of yours I chose, there is no going wrong. Thank you so very much for this site. It has been a game-changer for me.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, we are so happy you enjoy the recipes Michelle! We are so honored you love the recipes so much.

  5. Niha khan

    5 stars
    Love this recipe..I too am a lazy person n impatient one to wait for the yeast to rise the this recipe is love for me..
    I need one help with the baking mode for this..
    Like my oven has these modes-
    1- Upper element onn with fan off.
    2- upper element onn with fan onn.
    3-lower element onn with fan off.
    4- lower element onn with fan onn.
    5- both upper and lower elements onn with fan off.
    6- both upper and lower elements onn with fan onn.
    Please tell me which mode to select to bake this lovely..💕waiting for your reply..
    Thank u so much for sharing such an amazing recipe with us..

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “Hi there Niha, you seem to have a fancy oven! Haha. I don’t have all those settings, but typically you want even heat distribution for a cake and the middle rack. I think fan off should be fine – I don’t typically use the fan setting / convection setting on my oven.”

  6. Jackie

    5 stars
    Wow!! I wouldn’t call myself a confident baker. Following the recipes to baked goods make me nervous BUT Nisha never fails to explain things perfectly. This cake turned out delicious and beautiful! My husband called it dangerously good! Thank you Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Jackie!

  7. Filipa Maciel

    5 stars
    Made this Cake and loved it!
    However i think i used to much butter. Can you tell how many grams of butter did you use, instead of cups?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Filipa, 1/3 cup of butter should be about 76 grams. Hope that helped!

  8. Lara

    5 stars
    Wow this is delicious. I’ve had a craving for cinnamon rolls for the last couple of days and this definitely was a great way to satisfy my craving! Thanks as always for the delicious things you come up with, Nisha! 💛

  9. nathalie

    have you tried this with gluten free flour? if so do you have recommendations?

  10. Maddie

    I love this cake! Has anyone tried make it as cupcakes?

  11. Lynda Pickhardt

    Hi Nisha,
    Your recipes are wonderful and you are so much fun to watch. Please, make your recipes printable on your blog. That would help tremendously. Thank you, Lynda Pickhardt

  12. Tracy

    Hi. I think there may be a typo. Is it……1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar as written in the ingredients or 2 Tablespoons as listed in the directions?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Tracy…the the 2 tablespoons refers to the non-dairy milk. The amount of non-dairy milk is "3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons"…you mix that amount of milk with the apple cider vinegar (the 1 1/2 tsp in the ingredients is accurate).

  13. Biota

    My first time cooking with aquafaba! I made this for a family Christmas party I went to and everyone raved about the light and fluffy coffee cake texture. Everyone was amazed it was vegan, and I even had a request for the recipe.
    My tips – Definitely don’t opt out of the cake flour as it makes the texture. And add the non-dairy milk slowly when making the icing as I eyeballed the amount and it turned out a little too runny. Also I used a springform pan instead of a regular cake pan and it turned out perfectly!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thank you so much for sharing your feedback and tips :) Super helpful for both myself and other readers. Yes, the cake flour is key! Really brings that light and fluffy texture that you want in this cake.

  14. ShirleyAnn Pearman

    Looks like a good recipe of Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cake. Therefore, if you don’t mind I am going to sharing it on my Facebook Group. you for sharing.

  15. Ashley

    This was absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s quick, simple, and one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten.
    You’re wasting time reading this review. Go make this cake. NOW. You’re wasting valuable cake eating time!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Ashley! Thank you for your amazing feedback. Really makes me so happy to hear that this was one of the best cakes you’ve ever eaten. And haha, yes, don’t waste time reading and get to baking!

  16. Diane

    Follow up from earlier comment… this is ridiculously delicious. Light, decadent, cinnamon-y all day!!! I will post a picture on IG. My cake is darker than yours Nisha, because I used organic coconut sugar (only because it’s what I had). So Yummy. Not pretty as yours, but as you said, delicious.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Diane! So happy that you loved this cake! It really is so light and fluffy but so decadent. Glad it worked with coconut sugar too, good to know :) And I cannot wait to see your photo on Instagram!

  17. Diane

    Hi Nisha, my huge cinnamon roll cake is in the oven as I write this. The batter was simple to bring together and it smells delicious as it’s baking. Sadly however, my beautiful cinnamon swirl on top of the batter melted into one flat covering over the top of the cake. :( Not sure if the vegan butter I used makes a difference. I used Earth Balance. It piped on very nicely but just melted all over the top of the batter. Any thoughts? I’ll let you now how the final product comes out. :/Diane

  18. Jenn

    Gluten free option?! I so want to eat this!

    1. Lisa

      Jenn, Authentic Foods makes a GF cake flour. It’s pretty pricey, but I plan on ordering it specifically to make this cake!

      1. Nisha Vora

        Oh wow! I had no idea. Thank you for the recommendation1

  19. Henrietta

    Can apple sauce or bananas be substituted for some of the butter in order to reduce the fat content?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Henrietta, I have not tried it, but based on prior baking experience, I think replacing up to half of the butter with applesauce might work!

  20. Noelle / Too precious For Processed

    Thank you for sharing this scrumptious cake recipe along with the helpful hints. I can taste this now and I can’t wait to bake this for my family. I think it will make a great treat for the upcoming holiday season :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      I am so happy you enjoyed the helpful hints! And yes this would be such a perfect holiday cake! Thanks Noelle!

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