Fluffy Cinnamon Cake

cinnamon-square.jpgWith such names as St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and Gooey Cinnamon Cake, I was intrigued and repulsed at the same time. Gooey is a gross sounding word. It’s a gross looking word; three vowels all in a row? Please. Goo reminds me of baby food and questionable substances that ooze. Hot fudge would never be described as gooey, even though it is. Maybe fresh chocolate chip cookies out of the oven are gooey, but doesn’t molten sound better?

This cinnamon cake is both dense and with a fluffy texture. It’s not spongy or airy like angel food, but it is slightly buoyant. There is a cookie, almost short bread-like base, with a second layer made of whipped butter, sugar, egg, and flour. Lastly, it is dusted with two tablespoons of cinnamon sugar, and baked until it puffs up. It is easily eaten with your hands with a cup of coffee or tea with milk. You could use a fork, but it’s so rich that it’s best served in tiny squares and tiny squares need no utensils.





Although this looks like a challenging recipe with the two layers and all. It’s not really that bad because you can reuse the bowls, and you also bake it in one step. None of this half-baking the crust, though it might have a more interesting contrast. One of my regrets is not using the entire 2 and half tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. I wish it had a denser sugary crust.

Fluffy Cinnamon Cake

ADAPTED from David Lebovitz

  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I used 2%. It was fine).


    • 1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup or golden syrup
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk or heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1 1/4 (155g) cups flour


    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Line a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all four sides. Spray the foil in the pan with nonstick spray or brush with melted butter. I usually take the used butter wrappers and rub it all over the tin foil.Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

To make the cookie base, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the 8 tablespoons (115g) of butter and the 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the egg and the milk and mix in, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients, until fully incorporated. Put the mixture in the cake pan in dollops (it’s too thick to spread if you add it all in the same place), and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula.

You don’t need to clean the bowl; you can reuse it for the next step.

To make the soft layer, in a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup or golden syrup with the milk or cream, and vanilla.

Beat the 12 tablespoons (170g) of butter with the 1 cup of sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

David Lebovitz alternates between adding the dry and wet ingredients, but nothing bad happened when I dumped in the milk-corn syrup mixtures, and then added the flour mixture. Dollop the batter over the unbaked cookie layer and spread evenly.

Mix together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it evenly over the cake.

Bake the cake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has puffed up and feels slightly damp, but gently set in the center. I let mine cook until it was soft with a little give. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When cool, lift out the cake using the overhang of the foil, and cut the cake into 1-inch (3cm) squares.



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