Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream

In honour of Valentine’s Day I’m bringing back one of my most popular posts EVER here on Foodie with Family from the archives. That’s right, folks, Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream is back. Make this sweet for your sweetie.

This Snickerdoodle Cake is something special folks. A towering four layer Snickerdoodle cake made with cinnamon, vanilla, and butter is generously iced with a rich Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Recipe for a cake that is the stuff of dreams. Make no mistake. This one is indulgent and it is worth it!

Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream from


Here is the cake that upended my tidy little world. This is a Snickerdoodle Cake with  Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Recipe.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not fond of cake or frosting. (Here and here, for starters…) As a little girl, I watched “Pollyanna” over and over. I’m talking about the original nineteen-sixty Disney film. It was one of the twenty five movies available for rental in the small movie  section of the Glen’s Market in Gaylord, Michigan where we shopped.  Despite my dislike for cake, I dreamed of the giant slab of cake she scored at the fair. That towering layer cake called to me like no other cake could. And for the most  of my life, I resigned myself to the fact that while that Pollyanna cake looked so good, no cake measured up to the promise it offered.  That is still true except. for. this. cake.  And who do I blame thank for this earth shaker? My friend, Krysta. She, without a word, sent me this link. No word of warning, no heads-up. No. Just a link. She knows my feelings on snickerdoodles so she sent it my way. She didn’t know it, but she delivered my Pollyanna cake to me.

All of a sudden, in my brain at least, I was Hayley Mills wandering around a small town fair with the world’s largest slice of layer cake, in this case, Snickerdoodle Cake and a sunny disposition. I might’ve even belted out the National Anthem and poked at the little prism dangling in my kitchen window. It was as good as I thought it would be.

The Snickerdoodle Cake itself is a cinnamon vanilla butter cake. (I died a little bit just typing that…) It is moist, it is cinnamon-y. I’ve never had a cake like that. It is layered around and slathered with the only buttercream I have ever craved in my life; brown sugar cinnamon butter cream. (A little more dead now…) It is smooth yet still crunchy with sugar. It has little bursts of brown sugar and cinnamon and it is smoothed out with half and oh-my-goodness half. People. The buttercream. It must be stopped. CLICK HERE for the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Recipe.

Who’s in?

Before you pop over to the recipe for the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream and rub your eyes and question me, that is not a typo. Yes, there really ARE 4 1/2 sticks of butter in the buttercream. I told you it must be stopped.

Four layer Snickerdoodle Cake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream

Cook’s Tips

Here are some tried and true cake baking and decorating tips to help you get the most polished finished product before you polish off your finished product.

  • To butter two pans easily, smear the pans with the butter wrappers you used for the cake itself (use more soft butter if necessary.) *If you choose to use parchment, too, butter under AND over the parchment for easiest release.
  • To flour those pans neatly, toss 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour into one pan, swirl it around over the second pan then tap the excess into the second pan. Repeat the process with the second pan, then tap the excess into the garbage.
  • When dividing cake batter between pans, use a scale to get them as close to even as possible. No scale? Scoop it in with a measuring cup.
  • Smooth the top of the cake batter into the pan and tap firmly on the counter several times before baking to settle the batter evenly.
  • Rotate pans front to back and side to side mid way through baking.
  • Cool the cakes COMPLETELY before slicing into layers. Do not hurry this or you will regret it immensely while you cry over your broken cake.
  • Before slicing your cooled cakes into layers, use a large serrated knife to even up the top of the cake. (In other words, to slice off any dome that formed while baking.)
  • Before you move your cake to the plate you’ll use to frost and serve it, lay four strips of parchment or waxed paper around the edges. Center the cake on the parchment strips. This will help you frost the cake rather than the plate. When you’re done frosting, pull the strips straight away from the cake. Ta da! Professionally done. Go you!
  • Make sure each  layer of frosting/cake is level before adding another level. It is much easier to adjust as you go along than to try to fix everything with frosting.
  • When the cake is assembled, refrigerate for at least an hour (preferably more) before attempting to slice into wedges. If you skip this step, the cake is likely to shift around on the frosting and look like it was thrown together by drunken monkeys.
  • If you forget all of these steps it really won’t matter because you’ll still have this cake. Pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee or tea and enjoy it anyway!


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5.0 from 2 reviews
Snickerdoodle Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The name says it all: Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream. This is the well-loved snickerdoodle cookie rewritten as a moist cinnamon vanilla butter cake layered and surrounded with a smooth, decadent buttercream laced with sweet ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Gently adapted from Always With Butter
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter (8 ounces by weight), softened to room temperature
  • 1¾ cups fine or superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 batch of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Recipe
  • Whole cinnamon sticks for garnish
To Bake the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in colour.
  5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating each egg and scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Add about ⅓ of the milk, beat to incorporate, then ⅓ of the flour, again beating to incorporate.
  7. Repeat this process, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until all of the milk and flour are added and mixed in evenly.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake, rotating midway through, for about 35 minutes or until the cake tests done.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before turning out onto the racks to finish cooling.
To Assemble and Frost the Cake:
  1. Level out your cooled cakes and cut each into two even layers.
  2. Place one layer on a cake plate then add a layer of buttercream, spreading to the edges and evening out as you go. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  3. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  4. If desired, garnish the top of the cake with whole cinnamon sticks.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing.
  6. Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator.


Originally published August 26, 2011.


  1. TxsBeach says

    This is beyond awesome! I can totally relate to the Pollyanna part. I was Haley Mills for about 5 years after seeing Pollyanna. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. TiffH says

    I love snickerdoodles, and for the love of everything never make a snickerdoodle crispy, its just wrong. Soft and chewy and tender and melt in your mouth del-i-cious! So I’m thinking this cake will be everything a snickerdoodle is with all the yumminess of a cake (yes I like cake, thankyouverymuch). Question? Can you use regular sugar instead of superfine? Will it make a difference?

  3. Cliff says

    Sorry – I’m new to baking. When you call for butter, is that salted or unsalted? Also, is there a typo in step 9? Should it be cool in pan for 5 minutes before the rack?

    Thanks for this recipe! It’s going to be a birthday cake for someone very special to me.

    • says

      In this cake, Cliff, you can use salted or unsalted, according to your preference. And thank you for the heads up on the typo, I’ve fixed it. It should’ve read “cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before turning out onto the rack.” :-) Happy birthday to your special someone!

  4. says

    I was so swayed by this recipe that I made it this evening. I made it in cupcake form, because I’m not very skilled at layered cakes. These are moist, flavorful awesomeness. :)

  5. Cindy says

    Wow, that cake looks amazing, my kitchen is calling me.

    Here’s another tip for you cake makers that 99% of the time does not require leveling with the serrated knife. Measure the circumference of the cake pan and tear off a section of paper toweling approximately the same measurement. (A inch or so short is fine). After the batter is tamped into the pan, fold the section into a long, thick strip about 1-1/2″ wide. Wet the strip and very gently press out some of the excess moisture by pulling the strip between two fingers (much like the wringer washing machines). Wrap this around the outside of the cake pan. Bake as normal.

    Paper burns at 451 F (anyone read this book?), so it is safe. My kitchen has never burned from this technique in 30 years. The paper keeps the edges of the batter cooler, allowing the cake to rise evenly. The results are a nearly flat-topped cake and never again will you have to find a use for the cake scraps.

    • TiffH says

      That is interesting, I have never heard of doing that before. But wait does that mean no scraps to eat while frosting the cake…… bummer. And yes I have reread that book recently, I think I got so much more out of it as an adult, than I did as when I was in school.

  6. Kristina says

    Your cake is lovely. Like you, I’m never that impressed by the frosting. I’d prefer pound cake with powdered sugar or glaze, and, I make most of my family and friends gasp when I say “chocolate is boring.” I’m bored of chocolate almost always — and dry chocolate cake in restaurants is just so wrong. Your cake is so so lovely, and it appeals because I think cinnamon and vanilla is so much more interesting than chocolate!

  7. Sandra says

    Rebecca, this looks so yummy. I have done similarly with a cinnamon buttercream icing for a homemade birthday cake and it was SO good. I really could have eaten the whole cake myself so I expect this recipe would be even better. Just slap 5 pounds on me and call it done.

  8. says

    Its my birthday in a couple of days and ive been debating what cake, if any, i fancied making…i may have found it! This looks unique, gorgeous, and just so so tasty. I need that buttercream in my life! Lovely cake indeed :)

  9. says

    I hate you so hardcore right now. Seriously. This is just so *unfair*, how can you post something like this that looks so amazing and delicious and I AM IN ANOTHER COUNTRY?!

    The next time I visit your end of the world please just present me with this cake so that I can smoosh my face into it…

    Jax x

  10. says

    this cake looks beautiful, rebecca! where did you get the good idea to make a snickerdoodle cake? it’s one of my favorite cookies and your creative twist is great!

  11. Sammylou says

    I live in Australia and our butter does bot come in sticks. How much butter is this in cups or grams? THANKS!

    • Debbie says

      I hope you have found your answer somewhere before now, since you posted this so long ago, but a stick of butter equals 1/2 cup, or 8 ounces. A pound of butter equals 2 cups, so the frosting for this cake requires 2 1/4 pounds, while the cake itself uses 1 cup, or 1/2 pound. :)

  12. says

    Cinnamon buttercream?! YUM! I used to work in a heritage town, and my job was to make cinnamon ice cream the old fashioned way….I’m betting this buttercream will bring me right back to that delicious ice cream! If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it.

  13. satu says

    Asking same as Sammylou, how much butter is a stick? >I live in finland and our butter comes in 500 gram package.

  14. says

    Me. I’m in. The frosting would be one of those I would have to constantly remind myself to quit taking ‘just one more bite’ of to keep from wondering why I didn’t have enough to actually cover the cake.

    I have a cake I love that has a mascarpone, espresso and white chocolate frosting. That is my ‘finally found the perfect one’ cake and it’s all about that frosting too!

  15. Stacey Evans says

    I just lost 18lbs, I came across your recipe on tastespotting, I just made the cake for my 18 year old son and husband, I told myself I was not going to have any, but it looks to amazing to ignore. It is absolutely fabulous, my new favorite cake and my families, thanks for sharing.

  16. says

    The cakes looks oozing with goodness! I hope I make healthier versions of cakes and other baked items without sacrificing it flavor

    • says

      Half and half is made of half cream and half milk. I suppose whichever combination of butterfat you wanted to use (if you’re not able to buy pre-mixed half and half where you live) would work just fine!

  17. Nezzie says

    It looks delicious. can’t wait to try it… however, I don’t have a clue what’s ‘half and half’! hahaha. Is it milk? Half full cream, half skim?

  18. Token says

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. To say that it is awesome is the understatement of the year. Thanks for the great recipe!

  19. Molly says

    LOVED the cake! Thanks so much! I don’t know if I did something wrong, though. The buttercream frosting, though yummy, was a bit grainy (brown sugar?). Wondering if I should heat the butter and brown sugar to dissolve the sugar a bit?

  20. Molly says

    Oh! And, I copied the instructions down, and didn’t have written to add the vanilla to the cake. Common sense, I know. I just didn’t look back at my ingredients. But thought I’d mention that I didn’t see to add vanilla in the recipe! Again – great cake! (Even without vanilla). ;)

  21. Keely says

    SO YUM! The frosting tasted just like snickerdoodle batter! Don’t ask me how I know this :)

    I will definitely make it again, but I think that I will cut the frosting in half and not split the layers. We are huge sweet teeth in this family, but with all of the frosting, it was just too rich and sweet for us to have more than a few bites (and whoa, we have a giant cake here). I think that the two layers of cake and one center layer of frosting plus the top and sides would be perfect for us.

    Thanks for the recipe! One of the easiest scratch cakes I’ve made!

  22. catherinr says

    I live in Denver and would love to try this but I’m thinking the recipe will require some adjustments. Do you have any suggestions for making this successfully in our high altitude? Thanks!

  23. Steph says

    Oooommmmmgggg this cake looks so good. I have a couple of questions, though. There is no half and half in Australia. So I am assuming, in this recipe, it would be 1/4 of milk and 1/4 of heavy cream? Also, we do not half sticks of butter. Can someone weigh a stick and lemme know how many ounces it is? I can convert it to grams. Thanks!!

    • says

      You’re right on with the milk/cream combination! As for the butter, one stick is 1/4 of a pound, so one stick is 4 ounces by weight or (according to my scale) 113.4 grams. Happy baking!

  24. Heather says

    Ive been waiting for a great time to make this cake! Low and behold what a better time than the family reunion to display an awesome cake.

    I may have messed up the buttercream…i had to half the recipe. See what had happened was in the first batch using all said ingredients i thought I had forgotten the vanilla, needless to say I added it and well…it was not that tasty. All of this lead to some frustration, i ended up cutting my foot on a knife that was on the floor (no idea it was there till i was bleeding) had to go to the store for more powdered sugar forgot the butter. I had just enough to half all of it…do you think it will be ok?

    either way i had some of the cake part…oh gosh amazing!

  25. Steph says

    Thanks Rebecca!

    I, like the above poster, made cupcakes (and mini loaves because I just bought the pan and I heart it) instead of the cake as I’ve made them for a birthday party at work. There was less chance of me stuffing up cupcakes than a beautiful cake like you have photographed. Anyway, I haven’t frosted them yet, but even neggie they are soo yummy, light, and lovely.

    Just wanted to mention, you list vanilla in the ingredients, but do not in the steps. =)

    Wish me luck on the frosting!

  26. Heather says

    What kind of butter do you recommend to use? My buttercream came out kind of weird….and i think it had to do with the type of butter i used

  27. Steph says

    I used unsalted butter.

    Just wanted to say, this is one of the beat cakes and frosting I’ve ever had! The frosting is so addictive I had together it out of the house!

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It’s definitely a keeper.


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