Friday, May 10, 2013

Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Sticky Bun Cake for Virtual Vegan Potluck

This is my first time participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, an fun online event in which bloggers around the world post vegan recipes on the same day. I decided try and come up with a something really tasty and fun to post for the occasion.

 If you wanted to be formal, you could simply call it a Cinnamon Bundt Cake, but I like to call it by the nostalgic food memories it evokes. Hence the Snickerdoodle Sticky Bun Cake.

Snickerdoodle Sticky Bun Cake

Caramelized edges
There are a lot of recipes for various kinds of dough that are covered with cinnamon sugar and baked or fried, including snickerdoodle cookies, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, multiple kinds of doughnuts and pastries and many others. It’s a pretty classic flavor concept, but it’s not very often applied to cake batter. Probably because most cake batters are too runny to even consider rolling in anything. But if you use a batter that’s on the thick side and handle it carefully, it turns out that it is both possible and a lot of messy fun to treat it like a snickerdoodle. The result was a rather delightful coffee cake that had the classic ripples of cinnamon sugar running through it, but also had a really flavorful layer of caramelized cinnamon sugar all around the sides and bottom, reminiscent of sticky buns or monkey bread. It was really quite good; in fact I liked it so well I might use it for my next birthday. Or someone else’s birthday, if I can’t wait that long. : )

If the idea of getting your hands covered in cinnamon sugar doesn’t appeal to you, I’ve included an alternate method. I can’t promise it will be as much fun though, or be quite as caramelized.

Vegan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Vegan Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Sticky Bun Cake

Dry ingredients:
2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
1 12 oz package firm silken tofu, pureed until completely smooth
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup applesauce
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
½ tsp coconut extract
¼ tsp almond extract

Cinnamon sugar filling:
¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 ½ Tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-in bundt pan with cooking spray or brush it with oil (be thorough—this cake is sticky).

Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar filling; place in a small flat-bottomed dish and set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients (tofu through almond extract) until completely homogenous. If you like you can do this in the blender when you puree the tofu.

Whisk together all dry ingredients.

Combine wet and dry mixes, stirring until blended.  Try not to over-mix.

Now to assemble:

One blob of batter, being rolled in cinnamon sugar
Method 1 (the fun snickerdoodle way):  Spoon a dollop of batter onto the dish of cinnamon sugar. Swirl the dish around and scoop the cinnamon sugar over the top until the blob of batter is completely coated. Carefully pick up the blob and place it in the bottom of the (greased) bundt pan, briefly shaking off excess sugar if necessary. Scoop up another blob of batter and coat it in cinnamon sugar the same way and place it in the pan next to the other; repeat until all the batter is used up, placing blobs on top of each other once you run out of room on the bottom. Sprinkle extra cinnamon sugar over the top to cover any sparse spots.

one blob in the bottom of pan
one layer of blobs
Ready to bake

Method two (the stodgy layered way): Pour a layer of batter into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar on top. Pour another layer of batter over the cinnamon sugar layer. Keep alternating layers of batter and sugar until you run out of batter. Finish with a layer of cinnamon sugar on top. You separate the batter into as many or as few layers as you want. This method may require less cinnamon sugar than called for.

Either way, bake the cake for about 40-43 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean (clean of batter anyway—don’t worry if some cinnamon sugar sticks to the toothpick).

Let cool for about five minutes (don't wait too long or the sugar will harden and the cake will stick).  Gently loosen the sides of the cake. Then, using oven mitts, place a plate that is larger in diameter than your cake pan upside down on top of the cake and carefully flip. Pull off the pan leaving the cake on the plate. Let cool the rest of the way before glazing, if desired.
Vanilla Glaze

A very simple vanilla glaze would be ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp soymilk and ½ tsp vanilla whisked together until dissolved and then poured over the cake. Other extracts such as maple or coconut could be used in place of the vanilla, and cinnamon or other spices would be excellent additions as well. More elaborate glazes involving vegan cream cheese or caramel sauce would be cool too.

Leftovers taste particularly good when reheated, by  the way.

Cooled and Glazed


Mini muffin version
Muffins/ Cupcakes: This recipe can be made in muffin or cupcake form; in fact it was originally modified from a non-vegan muffin recipe. Either the snickerdoodle method or the ripple method can be used. If the snickerdoodle method is used, the cupcakes will hold together better if each cupcakes consists of a single cinnamon sugar coated dollop of batter rather than multiple ones. This recipe will make 12-14 high domed muffins or 18-20+ level cupcakes (or 50-60+ mini cupcakes). The baking time will  have to be decreased to about 20-23 minutes for full size cupcakes and 15 minutes or so for minis.

Sugar Free Version: Replace the turbinado sugar in the batter with an equivalent amount of stevia or other sugar free sweetener. Use the layered method, not snickerdoodle method. Omit cinnamon sugar filling and replace it with a combination of 3 Tbsp of wheat germ or crushed bran cereal with 3/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar free sweetener equivalent to 3 tbsp of sugar. Layer as usual, using a light hand with the wheat germ mixture.  The cinnamon flavor is not as pronounced in this version; you might want to consider spicing up the batter to compensate. To improve texture and reduce gummy-ness in sugar-free baked goods, you can replace 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour with cornmeal, oat bran, or ground nuts.

Other flavors: You could try adding nuts or dried fruit to the cake, or changing up some of the spices and extracts. You could even try replacing ½ to ¾ cup of the flour with cocoa or carob powder for a chocolate version (I haven’t tried that variation yet, but now I definitely want to).


  Be sure to visit the the other participating blogs!

 Previous Blog in the Virtual Vegan Potluck chain:   Self Health Web

 Next Blog: In Fine Balance


  1. I love your dessert...need this in my big belly!

    Happy Virtual Vegan Potluck 3.0 Day x

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    ★ we travel + eat vegan blog ★

    1. Thanks for commenting! Sorry for the late reply; I was having troubles with the reply-to-comments function.

      Better late than never, I hope, :)

  2. Love the way the cinnamon swirls between the layers.


  4. Awesome flavors in this cake - and it's lovely to look at, too! Thank you for participating in the Potluck!

    1. It's great event! Thanks for putting it together.

  5. Oh - Heavenly Vegan Baking was a no-show. Can you update your Back link to: Thanks!

  6. Oh, this is fantastic! What a beautiful dessert!

  7. This sounds deicious! Happy VVP~

    - alexis

  8. Ooh that sounds yummy! Rolling the batter in cinnamon sugar is a great idea...I've never thought of that before :)

    1. The rolling in cinnamon sugar part is a ton of messy fun. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  9. Looks delicious!
    ♡ Vix :: vegan baking + raw desserts

  10. This looks awesome! Love that you added in some variations too :)

    1. Thanks! I like to include variations when I can.

  11. Oo, yum, that looks amazing! I love cinnamon-y desserts. I like your step-by-step photos for how to arrange the "blobs" of dough, too. :)

    1. I thought the step by step photos would make it easier to understand. I had to be careful not the get the camera covered in cinnamon sugar in the process, though. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  12. This really looks so good. Do you think you can substitute the silken tofu for something non soya based or is it one of the key ingredients that should not be fiddled with? I would love to try it, but if there is soya in it, I may end up eating the entire cake myself (Mr SpinachRevolution is allergic to soya...)

    1. You could try using a non-dairy milk such as almond or rice milk in place of the tofu. Start with about 3/4 cup, then if the batter looks too dry add up to 1/2 cup more as needed. Make sure the batter stays fairly thick so you can still roll it in the cinnamon sugar. The texture of the final product may end up a little different.

      Thanks for commenting!

  13. That looks pretty darn good!

  14. Mmmmm...snickerdoodles! Love the flavor in any form.

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