Cinnamon sugar pound cake
Updated: Jul 16
This cinnamon sugar pound cake took multiple rounds of iteration, and the end result is just amazing! It has just the right amount of moisture, with cinnamon sugar flavor in every bite.
In my first rounds of this cake, I had added cinnamon directly in with the dry ingredients but I felt that it led to a dry cake. Instead, I took some inspiration from coffee cake (one of my favorite treats) and added layers of cinnamon sugar in between the batter.
The icing glaze on top has cinnamon in it to ensure the cinnamon sugar flavor is truly carried throughout. This is also another spot where you have the ability to customize a bit. If you want a thicker glaze, you'll use a bit less milk, and if you want it to be thinner, you can continue adding milk as you create your icing. I've tried it both ways, and both are incredibly delicious.
Pound cake is one of my favorite types of cake, and my Birthday pound cake was my first spin on this classic dessert. I've always loved cinnamon sugar cakes so I knew that would be my next pound cake. Aside from the lack of sprinkles, there is one key difference in this recipe. The addition of sour cream! I mentioned earlier that I felt the cinnamon had a bit of a drying effect, and to combat that I knew I needed a helper. Adding in sour cream (instead of milk which is what I used in my birthday pound cake recipe) was the perfect partner for the job.
I do recommend using a stand or hand mixer for this recipe. It could be done by hand, but in order to get just the right consistency when creaming your room temperature butter and sugar and then as you continue to add your wet ingredients, the help of a mixer will lead to the best end result. Each step of the way, you want to make sure to pause, scrape down your bowl and paddle, and really make sure you have a batter that is one consistency. Then, when you get to your dry ingredients, you want to only mix as much as necessary.
I used cake flour in this recipe, and do recommend using it if you have access to it. All purpose flour will absolutely still work, but cake flour will lead to a more tender cake in the end.
Once your cake has fully cooled, you'll add your icing, allow it to set, and then enjoy! You can slice your cake and serve right then, you can freeze the slices, or you could even freeze the full loaf if you don't plan to serve for a while. If you freeze the full loaf, I would recommend doing so before you add your icing. Then, you can defrost it in the fridge overnight, add your icing and then serve. My favorite method is to freeze my fully prepared slices, and then microwave for about 5-10 seconds per side - it will taste like it just came out of the oven!
One last thing - I used this 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan by OXO. I recommend using a metal pan like this rather than a glass pan. If you have a 9 x 5 inch pan that will work too, you just may need to reduce the cook time by about 5 minutes. A glass pan will also work, you just may need to increase the overall bake time. You can always reduce the temperature if you're worried about your cake browning too much, or you can even turn your oven off and leave your cake in there for a few minutes longer if needed.
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter at room temperature 226g
1 cup granulated sugar 192g
2 tablespoons light brown sugar 24g
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream 56g
1 1/2 cups cake flour 168g
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Cinnamon sugar layers
3 tablespoons granulated sugar 36g
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cinnamon sugar glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar 90g
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk (I used 2%) or water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Total time: 4 hours including chill time
Prep time: About 20 minutes
Bake time: One hour
Chill time: 1-2 hours
If you haven't yet, remove your butter from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Take your eggs and sour cream out as well at least 30 minutes before starting.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place your butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment secured. Bring your stand mixer slowly from a low to high speed and allow it to combine the butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes as the color of your butter lightens. If you see any butter pockets, pause your mixer, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle, then turn your mixer back on for another minute. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and your paddle attachment once more.
Next, crack all three eggs into a separate, small bowl. Turn your mixer back on at a slow speed and add one egg at a time, adding the next egg only once the previous one has been fully mixed in. Once all three eggs are added and incorporated, let your mixer run for another minute or two at a medium to high speed. Wait until you see the color of your batter continue to lighten, and you see a smooth and even consistency.
Now add in your vanilla extract and sour cream into your stand mixer and turn your mixer back on at a low speed to start, then up to a medium to high speed until your vanilla and sour cream are both fully incorporated.
Scrape down the sides of your bowl again, making sure to reach down to the bottom and you can mix again for a minute or two if you feel your batter isn't yet fully consistent.
Next, add in your cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Turn your mixer on slowly to avoid your dry ingredients from flying out of your bowl (I like to pulse on and off to start). Mix at a low to medium speed until your dry ingredients have just combined into a smooth batter.
In a separate, small bowl mix to combine your cinnamon sugar mixture (three tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon).
Grab your 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan and line it with parchment paper. It should cover the long sides and just hang over the top edges of your pan - this will make it easy for removal later.
Use your spatula or a large spoon to scoop about a third of your batter into your pan and gently press down to smooth your batter and ensure there are no air pockets. Use a spoon to sprinkle on about half of your cinnamon sugar mixture to fully cover the top of the batter. Then, add another third of your batter and smooth out carefully. Finally, sprinkle the rest of your cinnamon sugar mixture, then add and smooth the rest of your batter on top. Once you’re finished, lightly bang your pan onto a flat surface a few times to release any air pockets that may have built up.
Place your pan into the 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes to an hour. (I recommend checking at about 50 minutes). You'll know it's done when there is a crack down the center and the rest of the top is golden brown. It may look slightly damp in the center. That is okay, but it should not look wet. Another way to check that it is completely baked is that it shouldn't jiggle when you shake the pan.
Once you remove your cake from the oven, place it onto a cooling rack if you have one. After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove your cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely. To speed this up, you can also place your cake into the fridge.
Once your cake has completely cooled, about 1-2 hours, make your glaze. Into a small or medium sized bowl, sift your powdered sugar and cinnamon to ensure there are no clumps. Add in about a tablespoon of milk to start and your half teaspoon of vanilla extract. Quickly stir together with a spoon, and if it's too thick, add more milk starting with a half tablespoon. It should be thin enough to pour but thick enough that it will coat the cake nicely without all falling off your cake.
If your cake is on a cooling rack, you can put the rack on top of a sheet pan or another easy to clean surface as some of the glaze will drip off of the cake. With a spoon, add your glaze to your cake spoonful by spoonful, starting in the center and then adding around the edges so that some drips down the sides. You can use your spoon to carefully spread and fill in any open gaps.
Allow your glaze to set for about 15 minutes and then slice and enjoy! If you notice your glaze isn't setting, you can place your cake into the fridge to speed up the process.
Slicing and storage guidance
I like to slice my cake into 12 slices. I do this by cutting it in half, then cutting each half in half to create four sections, then three slices for each quarter of the loaf. You can also do eight slices if you want thicker slices. I recommend enjoying your cake within the first few days for the best taste and texture, and it will stay freshest in an airtight container in the fridge. If the cake feels hard at all or has been in the fridge, put the slice you plan to enjoy in the microwave for 5-10 seconds per side and it will bring it back to life. If you don't plan to enjoy the cake the same day, you can also wait to slice (or even to glaze it), which will help to keep the cake fresh.
You can also absolutely freeze your pound cake. You can do this before or after you add the glaze. My preference is to slice and individually wrap the pieces and freeze them in a plastic bag or other airtight container, and then you can allow the frozen slices to defrost in the fridge (or microwave a slice) whenever a craving strikes.
Carb and serving info:
Servings: 8 or 12 slices
Carbs for full recipe: 509
Carbs per serving (1 of 12): 42
Carbs per serving (1 of 8): 64
Carbs for glaze only: 92
Carbs for cake only (including cinnamon sugar layers): 417
Carbs per slice no glaze (1 of 12): 35
Carbs per slice no glaze (1 of 8): 52
Carbs for full recipe with 3/4 of the glaze: 486
Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.