Monday 14 July 2014

Cinnamon Roll Protein Cake

I went armed into my kitchen. With a hope and a dream. And a cinnamon stick. Or 10.

It was do or die. Make or break. SUCCEED OR FAIL. Gluten free, refined sugar free.. high protein..Cinnabon Cake? With...lots of healthy fats and amazing cinnamon swirl factor? No...No I couldn't do it...


I did do it.

I am not sure where the inspiration came from. Cinnabon is more or less synonymous with indulgence and sinfully rich amazingness.  I used to work in a fancy-ish clothing store across from a Cinnabon. It was pure unadulterated torture. I swear they pump that smell through the air vents to bring us weak mortals to our knees cowering before the kiosk of round rolled treats.

I was determined to succeed at this recipe. I began with the cake recipe. Borrowed the icing recipe from myself (which you can find over here in my Carrot Protein Cake post). And created a beautiful cinnamon swirl with a base of dates and cinnamon. 

I do not believe that we should feel bad about indulging. We are human and in the grand scheme of life food is a beautiful thing to enjoy. BUT if I can avoid feeling yucky afterwards AND gain some health benefits while eating dessert -- why not?! Ergo, here is the calorie schpiel...  

Nutritional Info blah blah blah:

Upon calculating the calorie count for my little beauty of a cinnamon roll cake...the grand total if you cut it into 16 slices (it's a big cake, 16 slices works out perfect!) is 244 calories PER SLICE. WITH FROSTING! That's pretty crazy. And 8-10 grams of protein depending on the types of protein you use. The fat is around 10-12 all coming from coconut oil and healthy fats! As far as carbohydrates -- Cinnabon has 127 grams of carbohydrates! My little protein cake has 25 depending on the sweeteners you use! Plus protein and fat help slowww down that absorption of carbs. Not too shabby little cinna-cake.

Per Slice: 
Calories: 244
Protein: 10
Fat: 10
Carbs: 25

 Not too shabby at all. Keep in mind good fats, protein and healthy ingredients keep you full and nourished as opposed to feeling sick and then hungry moments after! Fun fact: If you OMIT the frosting in this recipe and just make a snack cake using each layer to cut into individual slices (re: 32 servings not 16) each slice would be EIGHTY CALORIES A SLICE! That's pretty sweet. FUN FACT NUMBA TWO: the nutritionals of this cake are more or less the EXACT same as my protein bars just fluffed up into a cake. 

Grab your glass of milk (almond milk for me, please!) and look through these beautiful pictures. Once you do -- you won't be able to resist making one for yourself. I mean for others. No, no...definitely for yourself!

Cinnamon Roll Protein Cake

Yields 2 9-inch Round Cakes
Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, High Protein, Vegan Option


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder (SunWarrior works amazing)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup greek yogurt or applesauce or mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, separated (or egg replacer/flax eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 3-5 drops liquid stevia* (optional)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, etc)

Cinnamon Swirl Filling

  • 1/4 pitted dates, pureed 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar* (optional)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

Vanilla Bean Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together
  3. In a separate bowl, combine and mix all wet ingredients except the eggs
  4. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, adding the yolks to your wet ingredients bowl
  5. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside
  6. Add your wet ingredients (except the egg whites) to your dry ingredients and mix together until you have a thick, fluffy batter. Add your non-dairy milk as needed to get a batter that is thick, but stirs easily and can be poured out of your bowl. If it gets stuck when you stir, add more milk!
  7. Fold in egg whites
  8. Prepare filling by blending all ingredients together until you have a very thick paste
  9. Transfer filling into a small bowl and combine with 1/3 cup of your cake batter and combine fully
  10. Scoop batter into two 9-inch round baking pans that have been thoroughly greased (I use coconut oil!) 
  11. Drop your cinnamon swirl filling onto your cake in the pans in a random pattern 
  12. Swirl the two batters together with a knife until you are happy with your marble design 
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean!
  14. Transfer to a wire cooling rack by placing the rack on top of the pan, holding the two together and flipping very quickly!
  15. Let cool completely before frosting -- I frosted it with my healthy Vanilla Bean Frosting from my Carrot Cake Protein Cake post! Also make sure your frosting is cold! You don't want it melting
  16. Place in fridge to set and keep cold until icing has completely set and is firm to the touch

Et Voila. You have a cake that is dense but soft and moist, swirled with a wholesome yet sweet and warm cinnamon layer. Absolutely perfect. The icing works so amazingly well with this I almost fainted when I tried it. Really, I did.

Not sure how the swirl turns out? Let's have a look at the process!


Plop and SWIRL!

Not much to look at... but after baking: 

It's really quite beautiful!

Now for assembly...I made my own cinnamon sugar with stevia and cinnamon (teaspoon of each) and sprinkled this on top of the first layer of cake, iced with a few spoons of the frosting.

Layer number two. I adore that swirl on the top!

Adore it as I do, I must cover it...

The icing can get PERFECTLY smooth. It's stunning!

Really. Really REALLY PRETTY!

You know me. Never happy with leaving something bare. I melted only a couple of squares of white chocolate (if that's too much sugar for you, feel free to use dark chocolate or omit this step) and mixed in my cinnamon 'sugar' (stevia) mixture to pipe on the cake!

Not before I dusted the top with the cinnamon sugar:

Then I went cray:

And once all was said and done I added a simple garnish of cinnamon sticks and roasted coconut.

I am in love with this cake. The dripping and melting, the colours and the SMELL! Ohhh it smells divine. Eat your heart out scented candles this smell is REAL!

Time to DIG IN!

I was too impatient to cool my cake in the fridge to allow the icing to set. And as a result my icing kind of...melted... 

OOPS? Normally that wouldn't happen -- but like I said, I am impatient...

But it did not affect the taste at all. SO. INSANELY GOOD. This has been the only time my stomach did not hurt after a cinnamon roll-esque dessert. It only felt warm and happy inside.

Just look at that beautiful swirl. Ohhhh yeah!

This is not for the faint of heart. This cake will: cause minds to blow, eyes to widen, taste buds to be overwhelmed, hearts to flutter and tummies to smile.

The soft pillowy cake with melt underneath layers of beautiful vanilla bean frosting and lift you up to cinna-heaven. I don't think I've ever had anything like this. It's so familiar yet also unique. It's probably my all-time favourite thing I have ever made!

Anyways this will make your mind explode. That's actually exactly what will happen, I know it.

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself! Don't forget to share this recipe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest (links are all in the sidebar of the blog!) and let me know what you think! It means a lot to me to get feedback and I love to hear feedback!

Happy Swirling!



  1. Hi, Could you please tell me a substitute for the protein powder in all your recipes thanks.

    1. Hi Nasha! Thank you for the comment! I usually substitute the protein powder with 1/2 - 3/4 cup more flour! You may need to increase the liquid too -- it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use.

      Hopefully this helps! I am going to start testing different variations without the protein powder soon!

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