Baking · Recipes

Jeff’s Birthday Treat: Swirled Cinnamon Loaf

This weekend was my husband’s birthday. We’re not the partying type, but I do like to make him something nice for his birthday treat. Jeff is a pretty laid back person and will pretty much try anything I make for him, and for his 21st birthday I said if he didn’t pick something I would make him a pink castle cake complete with ice cream cone turrets and milk dud cobblestones. Guess what his cake was that year?

This year I wanted to surprise him. We have been watching The Great British Bake Off and The Great Irish Bake Off on youtube and one particular item stuck in my head. The Kanellängd.

To me, the Scandinavian confection looked basically like a cinnamon roll loaf that is cut 95% through and then each roll is twisted. So that’s exactly what I did. I couldn’t find a proper recipe that didn’t have the ingredients weighed out, I need a proper kitchen scale, so I used a cinnamon roll recipe and just altered the shape a bit. This is probably a big faux pas, but I will use the true Kanellängd recipe next time I make it.

This time, I used The Little Epicurean’s recipe for “Papa’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls” and here is how I made it.

Swirled Cinnamon Loaf

A slitghtly altered version of The Little Epicurean’s “Papa’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls.” My changes are underlined



  • 1/2 cup warm water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large yolk
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • big pinch of fine sea salt

Simple Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • pinch fine sea salt

Let’s get mixing. 

  1. In a small bowl, add the yeast to the warm water and stir. Add the 1tsp of sugar to the yeast mixture. Yeast loves sugar. When you add it to the water, it wakes up and eats the sugar and blooms. If your yeast is alive, it will bloom and grow into a bubble foam, make sure to use a big enough bowl to accommodate the bubble foam.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together yeast mixture, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, milk, egg and yolk. Whisk salt into flour. Add 2 cups of flour to mixing bowl. Use the hook attachment to mix dough together. Mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Add another 1 cup of flour. Continue to knead on low speed, adding softened butter 1 Tbsp at a time. Add remaining cup of flour and knead until the dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. If dough is too sticky, add additional flour 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for about an hour until dough has doubled in volume.
  4. Punch down risen dough. Transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Roll dough into a 20 x 14 inch rectangle.* Spread softened butter over dough. (*Future note, roll it out a bit thinner next time)
  5. Cinnamon Sugar Filling: In a bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Distribute cinnamon sugar filling and gently press into dough. Sprinkle sea salt.
  6. Roll dough into a tight log, starting at the longest side. Slice the log into 12 equal parts, cafeful not to cut all the way through. Carefully pull each “roll” out to alternating sides and twist. Lightly grease 9 x 12-inch baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rolls rest for 30-45 minutes at room temperature to allow loaf to rise. I used parchment paper because I knew the filling would leak out and parchment paper means easy clean up! 👍
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and the internal temperature of the rolls hit 185 degrees F. Allow rolls to rest for 5 minutes to slightly cool. 
  8.  Simple Glaze: In bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, orange zest and sea salt. Mix until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add additional milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Spread over warm rolls and serve immediately.
  9. If you don’t add a glaze, like me, be sure to use a bit of butter on the bread to help keep it from drying out. 

When you cut into the loaf, you’ll see the layers of cinnamon and bread. Next time I will be rolling my dough a bit thinner to get more layers and adding a glaze. 

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