Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

The cold continues…as in the one that’s plaguing my head and chest. When I’m not wishing I could sleep myself into oblivion, I’m wandering around in a foggy haze. Concentration is nil. Desire to do anything is about the same. Ugh.

I’m staying true to my plan, though. The 100 Days of Miles plan, that is. Even when a curve ball was thrown at me with a last-minute business trip scheduled for my husband (meaning no child care so I could go to the gym, even in the wee hours before work), I found another way to get it done. Today was Day 8 and I’ve totaled 14.2 miles so far. Not too bad considering where I was at when this started. AND the monkey wrench thrown into my plans actually brought about a very wonderful alteration to my training–the return of jogging intervals.

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun CakeI’ve always found it easier to incorporate jogging intervals, a la Couch-to-5K-Program, while walk-jogging outdoors. Instead of having to fumble with controls on a hamster wheel, all I have to do is adjust the movement of my own two feet and–WHAMMO–I’m there. I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, then, when I took a quick spin around the neighborhood and found my feet moving to the beat of a jog. Across the street. A little further down the street. And then several more short bursts. The air was brisk, the daylight fading, and my spirits improved twenty-fold. There was my elusive bliss, found even without sustained 11-minute miles. I missed you!

The side effect was that I could not sleep. The adrenaline rush, partnered with the marked absence of my husband, made it impossible to sleep. So what did I do? Drink a warm glass of milk? Read a book? Nope. I made dough, waited for it to rise, and made chocolate chip cinnamon bun cake. That’s normal, right?

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun CakeThe twist to this cake is, quite literally, a twist. Instead of rolling strips into buns, you twist folded strips to create a cinnamon swirl on the exterior. Cute! Then make a spiral in the cake pan to create the cake. It looks fancy, but it’s really quite easy. A little messy, but you can throw the filling that falls out on top of the cake and that works just fine, too.

What will tomorrow bring? Probably more rounds of Emergen-C and smoothies to boost my immune system, a little bit of exercise to keep the streak alive, and an indulgence: this chocolate chip cinnamon bun cake. Because life is all about finding balance.

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 16
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large cage-free eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup organic sugar
  • 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for work surface
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum Yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine the buttermilk, eggs, butter, sugar, 4 cups of the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and begin kneading.
  2. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup flour as needed to get a sticky, smooth dough that cleans the sides but remains stuck to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads.
  3. Knead for 5-6 minutes, or until you get a nice, smooth dough ball.
  4. Oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough ball to that. Cover with plastic wrap and move to a warm, draft-free location to rise until doubled in size. (I usually set my oven to the lowest temperature, let it warm up to about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the heat off, the light on, and let the dough rise in there with the oven door closed all the way.)
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size (1½ to 2 hours, depending on how warm your house is), flour your work surface and dump the dough ball onto it. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough in half, set one half aside, and roll out the other half with a floured rolling pin until you get a rectangle about 10" by 18".
  1. Drizzle half the melted butter over the rectangle and spread it out with a pastry brush until the entire surface is covered.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the rectangle.
  3. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips over that. Press in gently by running the rolling pin over the filling.
  4. Fold in half, gathering the two long sides together.
  5. Cut into 1-1/2" strips with a very sharp knife. Press down a little to set the filling, then take one strip and twist it so you get a ribbon of cinnamon along the length of it.
  6. Coil the first strip and place it in the center of one of the prepared cake pans.
  7. Twist the next strip and wrap it around the coil in the center of the cake pan, pinching the edges to seal them. Repeat with the rest of the strips until the cake pan is full.
  8. Repeat with the 2nd half of the dough and 2nd cake pan.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Remove plastic and bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and lightly browned.
  12. Remove from oven, place plates over the tops of the pans and invert, transferring the cakes onto the plates. (If you do not do this immediately, the cakes will get stuck in the pans like glue. Not that I'd know anything about that...)
  1. While the bun cakes are baking, prepare the frosting.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the frosting ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Spread half the frosting over each cake while still warm from the oven.
  4. Serve warm or room temperature.

 How do you create balance in your life?

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    • Maria @ Pappa Don't Preach on January 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm
    • Reply

    oh my gosh. That looks beautiful! I’d be too sad to eat it…just kidding! I’d gobble it up!!

    1. Sad? Then you just make another one! 🙂

  1. Yum! I love the giant swirls! Good job on your training!

    • Food to Fitness on January 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm
    • Reply

    Looks amazing! Keep up the good work.

  2. GREAT job on the jogging intervals! Intervals are an excellent way to make the most out of your training and I’m glad you were still able to get your miles in despite your curveball. You should be proud!
    Also be proud that you can create something so effing delish – holy.

    1. I was once addicted to the Couch-to-5k program–a great way to incorporate intervals. 🙂 I feel a bit like the tortoise right now–slow and steady–but I’m getting there. Thank you for the encouragement–it means a lot to me!

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