At some point, a friend sent me a link to an awesome-looking cake. It was a Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream frosting. I hadn’t thought of making a cinnamon-flavored layer cake, and I was excited to try it. Snickerdoodles remind me of my friend Dave, and so I told him that I would make it whenever he came to town to visit.
If you follow the link, you’ll see that the cake was a 4-layer cake (2 rounds split in two). The frosting alone had 4 sticks of butter – over a pound! I baked the cake recipe as it was, but there was no way I could bring myself to make such a rich frosting.
The cake involved both all-purpose and cake flours (cake flour for a finer, more tender crumb), a tablespoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of vanilla extract (I got to use into my homemade extract!), and some milk (I used 2%). I mixed the batter in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but a hand mixer would work fine as well.
This was my first time using the leftover butter wrappers to grease pans, and let me tell you that it works amazingly well! I baked this in two greased and floured 8-inch round pans; I used my scale to weigh the pans as I split the batter between them because I wanted to be that precise. Halfway through baking them, I rotated the pans from front to back and side to side. I jerked a pan as I pulled it out and the batter was not set at all; it was very close to becoming a snickerdoodle disaster in the oven. I baked the cake exactly 35 minutes, and it was done; I think it would have been overbaked if I’d been using 9-inch pans.
I made these layers late the night before I wanted to frost the cake. You’re supposed to remove the layers from the pans after cooling them slightly, but I didn’t want the cake to dry out so I left them in the pan. I made the frosting and assembled the cake the next afternoon. My oven slants, so I had a fair amount of cake to cut off to level each layer.
As I said, the frosting was a little frightening. An entire stick of butter between each layer?! I don’t like frosting that much, and it seemed a little too indulgent. I decided not to split the layers, and make it a two-layer cake instead. I also decided to adapt the frosting, making about half as much.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
(adapted from original recipe, and the Betty Crocker Cookbook)
1 stick softened butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons half and half
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon into the butter until it was light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar, half cup by half cup. I added some half and half when the stand mixer started to complain. I would consider actually adding more half and half to make the frosting more spreadable, because it was a little stiff.
This was just enough frosting for me to frost the two-layer cake, but I made the center layer of frosting a little light.
This was a very tasty cake. We all really enjoyed it. The cake layers were tender and flavorful. The frosting was cinnamon-y as well. Reviews of the frosting noted that it was a little gritty, to imitate the crunch of sugar on the outside of snickerdoodles; I didn’t have much trouble with that with my version of the buttercream. The brown sugar gave it a little crunch, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I’m really glad I cut down on the frosting, because I can’t imagine how sweet it must have been. I stored the cake in the fridge, and we finished it two days after I frosted and cut it. It wasn’t as tender and moist then, whether due to the cold or just time elapsed – but it was still tasty.
Honestly, my favorite thing was eating the pieces of cake that I cut from the layers to even them out. I personally don’t even need frosting. This wasn’t too difficult to make if you’ve make a cake from scratch before – and it’s a great cake to share with company.