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. Kim says

    Was your frosting gritty from the brown sugar? Mine was. It was okay if you think about it being like a snickerdoodle, which has the crunchy sugar all over it, but I was wondering if I did something wrong.

  2. Krista says

    So I tried the cake tonight and followed the directions to the letter. Unfortunately my cake didn’t rise at all. I wonder if my baking powder has expired? Is that possible? Anyway, it tasted good and the icing was fantastic. We liked the crunchy bits in the icing. I will try this recipe again and hope that I get a rise out of it ;)

    • Arlene says

      Make sure your flours and baking powder are always fresh..If you live in a high altitude location you should check about adding extra liquids. Check on line about baking in high and low altitudes.

  3. Wendy says

    Hey!! We used to shop at Glens Market when we camped at Otsego Lake. {yrs ago when I was a kid} This cake looks to yummy not to try. Think I will be doing the baking for the next “family” dinner.

  4. Sofia says

    This is a silly question, but I don’t want the frosting too liquid, for the frosting is it 4 1/2 sticks of butter or 4 half sticks. I know it is more common sense and will be 4 1/2 sticks but I really don’t want to mess it up!

    • says

      Not silly. I understand 100%. You are correct in assuming it is four and a half sticks of butter! How can it go wrong with four and a half sticks of butter? :-)

  5. Nicole says

    I made this cake, and I follow directions pretty closely, and it looked nothing like that. The cakes were dense, thin, and sort of a pinkish tinted color, and the icing was pretty dark. I have no idea, with the brown sugar and cinnamon, how you could have gotten your icing that white? Eight cups of confectioner’s sugar certainly did not make mine much lighter. I’m wondering what I could’ve done wrong?

  6. Elizabeth says

    What a delight to find your link on apartmenttherapy and than read you grew up in Gaylord and now live in Traverse City. I am originally from Mackinaw City and grew up going to the Glens Family Market in Cheboygan. I live in Denver now but am very proud of my strong Michigan roots. Can’t wait to try this recipe and follow your blog!

  7. michelle says

    I am baking this tonight but have a question about the refrigeration. My dinner party is tomorrow. Should I bake it and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight? or just for a few hours and then take it for overnight? My whole cake plate will definitely not fit in the fridge. Just trying to think of the logistics unless I do this tomorrow along with the other millions of things on my list. Thanks!

    • Arlene says

      Prepare the icing and place it in the refrigertor. In fact I make the icing first anyway and keep it in the frig. Bake your cake and after it cools down, keep it in the pans(I would use parchment paper for this idea for the bottom of the pans)and cover it. Then keep it in a cool area of your kitchen. The next day take out the frosting fluff it up, divide your cakes and frost it….There ya go. :-)

  8. Danielle says

    Pity you didn’t say when to put the vanilla in :( I, for the first time in my life, tried to follow a baking recipe (I always fail) to the T. I only realised now after putting the cakes in the oven that I didn’t put any vanilla in…then realised it wasn’t in your step by step :(

    • says

      I must have back spaced through that instruction. I’m sorry! I’m confident that the cake will still be delicious without it, it just won’t have that hint of vanilla in it. I’ve fixed the printable to reflect that!

  9. says

    I made this on Tuesday for hub’s bday. The cake itself was AMAZING. Moist, flavorful, delicious. The icing was delicious as well, but über sweet. When I make this again I will most likely make it a single layer to reduce the amount of icing used or use a cream cheese icing between the layers. All in all, it was delicious!!

  10. says

    This looks gorgeous, but I really wanted to say WOW! How cool to find somebody from that area of Michigan! My family is from Flint and we used to camp and trout fish in Gaylord and we would always shop for supplies at Glen’s. So cool!

  11. Allyson says

    I tried this recipie today but made cupcakes instead. I followed the recipie exactly but my cupcakes came out dry. Any suggestions on why this happened and how to prevent it next time?

  12. Josefa Coffey says

    Just trying to think of the logistics unless I do this tomorrow along with the other millions of things on my list. It was okay if you think about it being like a snickerdoodle, which has the crunchy sugar all over it, but I was wondering if I did something wrong. Think I will be doing the baking for the next “family” dinner.

  13. Fatima says

    My cake did not rise and it was doughy even though I followed the recipe and pulled it out of the oven when it was ready. The ingredients I used were fresh. My buttercream was not thick enough and when I was trying to put some around the cake, it would melt off. I was so excited to try this recipe for the Christmas Eve dinner we host every year. I am glad I have a backup plan. Any ideas of what went wrong?

  14. jaerodriguez says

    So, I loved loved loved the cake. I did have an issue with the bake time, I made it twice, the first time I baked around 45 minutes and once layer was completely not done in the middle. The second time I backed closer to an hour and they were completely cooked. I have an oven thermometer so I’m not sure why this happened. I also had an issue with icing the cake, it was very tender and fell apart into the icing, the icing pulled chunks of cake off. I am thinking that next time I will add more liquid to my icing as it was probably too stiff. After all the trouble I went through I was kind of ready to write this cake off, until I tasted it!! WOW. I love it! It’s staying in my recipe box and I’m sure I will make it many, many more times.

  15. Kate says

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for posting this. My friend wanted a snickerdoodle cake for her birthday and I’d never even heard of such a thing. Luckily, I found this site and it turned out great.

  16. Arlene says

    This cake is out of this world!! I’m a chocolate lover of cakes, but I also love cinnamon. If your cake doesn’t rise properly, it’s important to make sure your flours and baking powder are fresh. Another thought is where you live. Different altitudes change baking procedures. Ex. Denver(The mile high city) and New York (sea level). As for baking it and keeping it in the frig overnight that’s fine. For you have to store the left overs in the frig anyway. What you could do is make your frosting first and place that in the refrigerator overnight. Make your cake that night and cover it after you bake it and prepare the rest the next day. This is definitely not a summertime cake. I’ve made other cakes that have butter in the icing and found that in warm weather they ended up sliding this way and that way..Hope this hints were helpful…All in all a definite keeper.

  17. Patricia says

    I thought it was delicious but the buttercream was too sweet for me. I frosted my cake just like the picture so went back and took all outter frosting off.

  18. says

    This cake was pretty good (I’m a sucker for snicker doodles), but the sugar! I had to cut the sugar in half for the frosting. Still turned our delicious! :)

  19. says

    I made this recipe for one of friends at college’s birthday and everyone loved it. Everyone has been talking about it since. I didn’t use as much powder sugar (like 4-5 cups) because I wanted the frosting to have a lot of flavor and it turned out delicious. People were licking the frosting of the plates. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. Pansy Hodges says

    The cakes were dense, thin, and sort of a pinkish tinted color, and the icing was pretty dark. I am thinking that next time I will add more liquid to my icing as it was probably too stiff.

  21. Brooke says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this cake last night to take into work today and it was absolutely DELICIOUS. I did fill it with a cinnamon cream cheese buttercream (but cut back a touch on the sugar), and frosted the outside with the frosting here- SO many compliments! However, my frosting came out far, far darker than the one in the picture- the cinnamon turned it the color of brown sugar. It almost looks like there is no cinnamon in the cake that’s pictured! Any tricks for keeping the frosting nice and white(ish)?

  22. Nicole says

    This looks fantastic but I’d like to make a single layer cake… any suggestions on cutting back on ingredients?

  23. diane says

    I made this cake as a surprise for my husband. He came into the kitchen and tried to look at the recipe. I chased him out. Then, an hour later, he came back in and saw the two layers cooling on the rack. He said, “This is the surprise?” I said “Wait til it’s done.” After I assembled it, I gave him the first slice. You should’ve seen his face at the first taste. He loved it! He loves snickerdoodles!
    It was pretty easy to make. I substituted a cinnamon cream cheese frosting for the buttercream. I sprinkled the top with chopped pecans. it was ssooooooo good. A fabulous recipe, four stars!

  24. says

    I’m in the UK and have just found this recipe which I’d love to make for my husband’s birthday next week. For those of use who are ‘overseas’, what is the weight for the butter? We can’t get butter sticks, it only comes in a 250g (8oz) block. Sorry, another question, should it be unsalted butter?

    • says

      Hi Wendy! A stick of butter here in the US is 4 ounces or roughly 125 grams. I hope that helps! And regarding the salted or unsalted question, it’s a matter of preference. I prefer to use unsalted butter in my baking, but either will be delicious. Happy Birthday to your husband and Happy Baking to you!

      • Morgan says

        Wait a minute. Earlier, Sophia asked if the icing called for 4 1/2 sticks or 4 half-sticks, and you told her 4 1/2 sticks. Now you are telling Wendy from the UK that a “stick” in the US is 4 oz. It used to be that all sticks of butter were 8 oz and that is typically what a “stick” means in a recipe. When Sophia asked about “half-sticks”, surely she was referring to the 4-oz sticks that are the most common size now. So now you may want to edit the recipe to include the exact ounces to clear up any ambiguity. I used 4 1/2 whole sticks (9 half-sticks) or a total of 38 oz and that really is a LOT of butter. But it came out amazing. I imagine that using the same amount of sugar but half the butter would mean that the icing would be thicker and loads sweeter (and it is plenty sweet as it is). Anyway thanks for this awesome death-on-a-plate recipe and I enjoyed your witty preface to it.

  25. says

    Thanks Rebecca. I’m sorry I have another question – they don’t have ‘cake flour’ in the UK, what would be the best substitute do you know?

  26. says

    Hey – I want to make this…but for cupcakes – have you tried that? I’m assuming it makes 24-30 of them…probably use the same amount of frosting? What about cooking time??

    • says

      Hi Amanda- I have not tried making cupcakes. A few of the folks in the comments have (and have left directions for doing it the way they did it.) The frosting makes a ton, so you could probably get away with reducing the frosting a bit. :-)

  27. says

    OMG – I am now the master baker, thanks to you! I made the jumbo cupcakes (cooked for 25 min at 350) and cut the frosting recipe in half and they were perfect…but now I’ve got folks asking for the recipe? Can I include you in my next installment of “watcha got cookin’?” on my blog? I’ll include a picture of my cupcake and a link to you (either the site, or specific page, whichever you’d prefer).

  28. Jessica jones says

    Hi I would really live to make this for my sisters graduation shes in love with cinnamon! Is there any way I can use all, all purpose flour instead of adding the cake flour?

  29. Qponie says

    Me and my dad have always loved snickerdoodles, but what made the tender flavor was the cream of tartar. How does this taste so snickerdoodle-y without the cream of tartar?

  30. Julie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been making these (as cupcakes) for about a year now and they are by far everyone’s favorite! They turn out delicious every time :)

  31. Marcy says

    I am so glad that I found your recipe on Pinterest. My 2 year old daughter helped me make it. IT IS AMAZING!!!!! The friends we had over for dinner couldn’t stop raving about it (or eating it!). Thanks for the delicous recipe. I will be keeping this one in my regular rotation! :) – Marcy

  32. Smartcookie says

    I made the buttercream frosting like a wilton buttercream with half crisco because it wasn not going to be refrigerated because of space issues. Worked great, crusted nicely and was DELICIOUS. My grandson liked it more than chocolate. I loved the gritty texture of the brown sugar that was truly like a good snickerdoodle cookie.

  33. linda says

    I made this recipe for the first time for a decadent dessert contest in my office and of course I won 1ST place now I need a follow up for my reputation :)

    • Kathryn Holt says

      I’ve got a great cake recipe for your next decadent dessert contest!! It’s called Blitz Torte and it’s made with pineapple curd and meringue. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll sent you the recipe.

  34. Denise says

    Amazing cake! I can’t believe I’ve never had this before. I found it on Pinterest a few months ago and finally decided to make it. Not only did I love it, but everyone else did too! It got awesome reviews from everyone who tried it and a lot of people asked for the recipe. Your site will be getting lots of hits in the next couple of days. ;)

  35. Ceil Garrison says

    I made this cake today with the frosting. Even tho the frosting tastes good it is quite grainy. How can I fix it next time?

    • says

      Chelle is absolutely right, but I must say that I prefer the grittiness of the brown sugar in the fluffy frosting… It reminds me of the texture of an actual snickerdoodle with the little sugar crust on it!

    • Jordan says

      Hi I already made my frosting and it’s very gritty, thin and not very flavorful, I’m not sure what to do, do i need to add more powdered sugar? when i tried to add the half and half it became way to thin and watery:( help please!

      • says

        It’s going to be a bit gritty when freshly made because of the brown sugar… That subsides somewhat as the cake sits in the chill chest. If it’s too thin, try sifting in some powdered sugar and beating it. The amount of sugar and liquid have to be tinkered with depending on the relative humidity of where it’s being made!

  36. Marcy says

    This is one of the best cakes I have EVER made. It knocked the socks off my dinner guests! And I may or may not have eaten it for breakfast the next morning. :) I have been waiting for the right event to make it again, and now that Christmas is here, it’s time! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  37. Tiffani says

    Mine is sitting in the refrigerator now. I can’t wait to try it. I’d never made buttercream frosting from scratch before so I was worried about it, but it tasted amazing and I have a little left over. And I hope my cake won’t be too dry because I baked the cake Thursday and frosted it today.

  38. Yum says

    I am not much of a cake baker or a recipe-follower, but I baked this cake exactly according to the recipe. It looked and tasted delicious! Next time, I may either use less of the icing, or find a substitute for some of the butter (maybe cream cheese?) It was lovely to indulge in a slice (or half), but we were unable to finish the cake as it was too buttery for our personal dessert-loving taste buds. Extremely memorable though! My friend just reminded me to PLEASE send her the recipe after tasting it six months ago! (And I did.)

  39. Bonnie says

    This is the most amazing cake ever. After reading the article I had to make it. I’ve already forwarded this recipe to several of my best buds. Read the article last night and baked the cake this morning. Anyone debating…just bake it!!! Bonnie.

  40. Laurinda says

    I made this for my grown son’s birthday. He loves snickerdoodles. The cake is amazing. I did make it in just two layers and cut the frosting recipe in half. Delicious! Thanks for sharing.


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