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Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This delicious, layered cinnamon coffee cake is made with tender, cinnamon swirled cake layers, browned butter frosting and a delicious cinnamon streusel filling!

This post is sponsored by B&G Foods, but all opinions are my own.

image of a cross section of a coffee cake layer cake that's frosted with brown butter frosting

How to Make This Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

To make sure your layered coffee cake turns out as amazing as possible, let’s walk through each step together!

I’ve also included a video tutorial of the process below.

Step 1: Make the Cinnamon Swirl

Whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon. Set aside.

Step 2: Make the Cinnamon Swirl Cake Layers

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line three 8″ pans with parchment rounds and grease with Baker’s Joy nonstick baking spray.

Make the batter following the recipe card below, then start to fill the prepared cake pans.

Pour about 1 cup (250g) of cake batter to each of the prepared pans and spread into an even layer.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture over the cake batter, adding about a third of it to each pan (about 1/3 cup).

Leave a 1-inch ring around the edge of the cake uncovered so that the swirl doesn’t go to the edge of the pan.

Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to swirl the batter with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Divide the remaining cake batter between the three pans, about 1 cup (260g) per pan.

It’s easiest to drizzle the cake batter over the cinnamon sugar mixture, then spread evenly.

Step 3: Bake & Level the Cake Layers

Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Flip the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool.

Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers once they’re fully cooled.

image of coffee cake layers being leveled to make a coffee cake layer cake

If you make these cake layers in advance and freeze them, let them thaw for about 20 minutes before making your cake.

The cake layers should still be slightly cold to the touch, which will make it easier to assemble your cake.

Step 4: Brown Half of the Butter

As the cake layers bake and cool, make the browned butter buttercream.

Place 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of unsalted butter into a large skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Once the butter has fully melted, stir frequently to prevent the butter solids at the bottom of the pan from burning. It should begin to bubble up a bit and look foamy on top.

Let the butter continue to cook until it becomes an amber color and begins to smell nutty.

Once it reaches this stage, remove from heat and pour into a heat proof bowl.

Set aside to allow the butter to come to room temperature and solidify. This usually takes about an hour.

Step 5: Make the Browned Butter Buttercream Frosting

Beat 1 cup or 2 sticks of room temperature butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth.

Mix in the cooled brown butter, Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract, and salt on a low speed.

Slowly mix in 7 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed.

Halfway through mixing, add in the heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.

Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

Step 6: Make the Cinnamon Streusel Filling

Next, make the cinnamon streusel filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon, and salt.

Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir together with a fork or whisk to make some nice, big crumbles.

You should end up with a bowl of what looks like wet sand with some pea-sized chunks. Set aside.

Step 7: Stack and Fill the Cake

Stack and frost the cinnamon cake layers on a greaseproof cake board using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.

Spread an even layer of browned butter buttercream on top of the first cake layer.

Top with about ½ cup of cinnamon streusel. Top with the next cake layer and repeat.

image of a cinnamon swirled cake layer being stacked to make a coffee cake layer cake

Step 8: Crumb Coat & Chill

Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake that fully covers the cake layers.

Smooth using an offset spatula and/or bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.

image of a layered coffee cake being crumb coated with brown butter frosting

Step 9: Frost and Decorate, Then Enjoy!

Remove the cake from the fridge or freezer and cover the cake in a thick, second layer of brown butter buttercream.

Smooth using an offset spatula and bench scraper.

Gently press the remaining cinnamon streusel around the sides and top of the cake to fully cover it.

Place the remaining buttercream in a small piping bag fit with a star tip and pipe buttercream swirls around the top of the cake.

Substitutions, Swaps & Ingredients: Cinnamon-Swirled Layers

While I love this layered coffee cake recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all these ingredients on hand.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Crisco Vegetable Oil – Crisco vegetable oil works best in this recipe! It adds moisture and gives this cake that tender texture we associate with coffee cake.
  • Clabber Girl Baking Powder – Baking powder helps these cake layers bake up beautifully and lightens their texture. Clabber Girl is the #1 brand of baking powder in America and has been around since 1850!
  • Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening – Shortening contains 50 percent less saturated fat than butter and makes these cake layers super soft and tender. I like to use Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening in this recipe because it lets the flavor of the cinnamon swirl in these cake layers really shine through! There are two varieties of Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening, butter and original. Either will work great in this recipe!
  • Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon – Using premium spices and extracts is important when you bake and cook because it makes your food more flavorful. You can taste the difference!! Spice Islands source the highest-quality spices and extracts from around the world.
  • Grandma’s Original Molasses – I love adding a bit of molasses into these cake layers to give them a gorgeous color and amazing depth of flavor.
image of ingredients laid out to make a layered cinnamon coffee cake
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with all-purpose flour. However, you can swap in a good gluten free flour blend (like this) if needed. Just be sure to stir the batter longer than normal to help give the cake proper structure, and let the batter sit for about 20 minutes before baking it if you opt to make a gluten free version.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
  • Brown Sugar – I like using light brown sugar but dark brown sugar will work too!
  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, sour cream, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat).

Substitutions & Swaps: Brown Butter Buttercream

Some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this frosting recipe include:

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) can also be used to make the frosting.
image of a layered cinnamon coffee cake that's been cut into to remove a slice

Tips for Making the Best Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter. Stir until the flour is just combined!
  • Don’t level and torte your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.
image of a slice of a coffee cake layer cake

Making This Layered Coffee Cake in Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
image of a bite of a slice of a coffee cake layer cake

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this layered cinnamon coffee cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think!

Please leave a rating below and a comment to let me know your thoughts.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24

Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

image of a cross section of a coffee cake layer cake that's frosted with brown butter frosting

This delicious, layered cinnamon coffee cake is made with tender, cinnamon swirled cake layers, brown butter frosting and a delicious cinnamon streusel filling!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 4 minutes

Ingredients

Cinnamon Swirl

Cinnamon Cake Layers

Browned Butter Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, divided (452g)
  • 1 tsp Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract (4g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (875g)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60g)

Cinnamon Streusel

Instructions

Cinnamon Swirl

  1. Whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon. Set aside.

Cinnamon Swirl Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line three 8" pans with parchment rounds and grease with Baker’s Joy nonstick baking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Mix the Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening slowly into the dry ingredients on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, Crisco Vegetable Oil, Grandma’s Original Molasses, and Spice Island's Pure Vanilla Extract.
  5. Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients on a low speed until just incorporated.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on a medium speed for 1 more minute to make sure everything is properly mixed.
  7. Add about 1 cup (250g) of cake batter to each of the prepared pans and spread into an even layer.
  8. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture over the cake batter, adding about a third of it to each pan. Leave a 1-inch ring around the edge of the cake uncovered so that the swirl doesn’t go to the edge of the pan.
  9. Pour the remaining cake batter evenly between the three pans. It’s easiest to drizzle the cake batter over the cinnamon sugar mixture, then spread with a small offset spatula.
  10. Bake for 34-47 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Flip the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool.
  11. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers once they're fully cooled.
  12. If you make these cake layers in advance and freeze them, let them thaw for about 20 minutes before making your cake. The cake layers should still be slightly cold to the touch, which will make it easier to assemble your cake.

Browned Butter Buttercream Frosting

  1. As the cake layers bake and cool, make the browned butter buttercream.
  2. Place 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of unsalted butter into a large skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the butter has fully melted, stir frequently to prevent the butter solids at the bottom of the pan from burning. It should begin to bubble up a bit and look foamy on top. Let the butter continue to cook until it becomes an amber color and begins to smell nutty.
  4. Once it reaches this stage, remove from heat and pour into a heat proof bowl. Set aside to allow the butter to come to room temperature but firm back up. This usually takes 1-2 hours. You can accelerate the process by popping the brown butter in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Beat 1 cup or 2 sticks of room temperature butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth.
  6. Mix in the cooled brown butter, Spice Island's Pure Vanilla Extract, and salt on a low speed.
  7. Slowly mix in 7 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Halfway through mixing, add in the heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  8. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 

Cinnamon Streusel Filling

  1. Next, make the cinnamon streusel filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir together with a fork or whisk to make some nice, big crumbles. You should end up with a bowl of what looks like wet sand with some pea-sized chunks. Set aside.

Assembling this Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  1. Stack and frost the cinnamon cake layers on a greaseproof cake board or flat plate using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of browned butter buttercream on top of the first cake layer. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cinnamon streusel on top of the frosting. Top with the next cake layer and repeat.
  3. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake that fully covers the cake layers. Smooth using an offset spatula and/or bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge or freezer and cover the cake in a thicker second layer of brown butter buttercream. Smooth using an offset spatula and bench scraper.
  5. Gently press the remaining cinnamon streusel around the base of the cake. Place the remaining buttercream in a small piping bag fit with a star tip and pipe buttercream swirls around the top of the cake.

Notes

This recipe can be made with a stand mixer or hand mixer. I like to use the paddle attachment when making the batter and frosting, but you can also use a whisk attachment or a large bowl and hand mixer.

Tips for Making the Best Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale.
  • Brown your butter first! It needs time to firm back up and come to room temperature.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter, stir until the flour is just combined.
  • Don't level and torte your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might've gone
    awry.
  • Making This Layered Cinnamon Coffee Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 700Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 92mgSodium 222mgCarbohydrates 89gFiber 1gSugar 71gProtein 4g

6 Inch Cake Recipe: Small Vanilla Layer Cake w/ Buttercream Frosting

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

[…] Layered Coffee Cake […]

Foxx

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

Hi there, First I am a huge fan of all of your recipes!!!!!! Second, for the crumble, do you heat treat the flour before adding it in?

Keith

Monday 15th of November 2021

If you only have 2 - 8" pans, or you don't want to make 3 layers, you need 2/3rds of this recipe for the batter. Since Chel has been kind enough to convert measurements to weight for most ingredients, simply multiply weight times .666. That's DOT 666. For example, the AP flour in the cake layer section weighs in at 390g. 390 x .666 = 259.75. Round up to 260g and there's your adjusted AP flour. Repeat for all ingredients. For the cinnamon, let's do 2/3rds of 1 tsp multiplied by 2 (for two tsp). 2/3 times 2 is 4/3 - which is 1 whole and 1/3 tsp. So 1 and 1/3 tsp of cinnamon (go 1 and 1/2, be bold! hehe). The salt is simply 2/3rds tsp. I think if you 2/3rd the frosting, you might run out. I'd use the full recipe and store the rest for some cupcakes or whatever at a later date. Frosting stores forever, it's just butter. Cheers and thanks Chel!

Brigit

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Where’s the recipe for the cake better for the cinnamon coffee cake ?

Debbie

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

Can I substitute 1 stick of butter for the shortening?

Keith

Monday 15th of November 2021

@Debbie, yes! But two things... 1st, it will change the texture slightly! Non-fussy people won't even notice. 2nd, you need a slight weight change as butter has water in it and weighs more. Google 'substitute butter for shortening' and you will find the correct conversion. If you don't bother with that, nothing disastrous should happen if you just went 1:1 with butter. Keep an eye on the tops of them as they bake. If they start browning too fast, get a foil tent going.

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