This recipe title really needs to come with a bit of a disclaimer – this is not a giant cinnamon bun decorated to look like a cake but instead, it is a cake for cinnamon bun lovers. Coeliac cinnamon bun fans at that!

Cinnamon Buns are amongst my most favourite sweet treats in the world but yeasted gluten free dough is incredibly difficult to work with, so I came up with my Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun Cake.

Gluten free cinnamon bun cake

Made with naturally gluten free ingredients, this cake is an autumnal delight. Pecans are ground to a flour, their natural partner maple syrup is added for a little smoky warmth which is augmented by the use of buckwheat flour.

You can get wholemeal or plain versions of buckwheat and either will work well here. A little rice flour for lightness and ground almonds to ensure a moist cake without the eye-watering price of even more pecans!

Gluten free cinnamon bun cake

No cinnamon bun (or indeed Cinnabon) is complete without a cream cheese frosting and this cake is no exception.

Now, you certainly could spread on a traditional cream cheese frosting, like this one, but as I want to pipe it on top of the cake, and cream cheese frosting is so temperamental and goes runny easily, I do something a little crafty! I use LorAnn Cream Cheese or Cheesecake flavoured oils to make a standard buttercream icing taste as wonderful as if it was mostly cream cheese.

I absolutely love these oils which were recommended to me by my pastry chef friend Kath. They are dairy free so very handy when making dairy free “cream cheese” frosting too!

Gluten free cinnamon bun cake

To finish this cake off, I pipe on the frosting to give the signature swirl of a cinnamon bun and then fill the little groove between the ridges of frosting with melted milk chocolate but you could easily use a little butterscotch or dulce de leche if you prefer.

Sprinkle a few pecans along the edge for a final flourish and eat with joy in your heart! This cake keeps extremely well thanks to the nuts, just store at room temp in an airtight tin or cake box, pressing a piece of foil or cling film to the cut surface to help keep the moisture in.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun Cake
As with all my gluten free cakes, this tastes so good, you won't miss the gluten! This cake is made with buckwheat and ground pecans and flavoured with cinnamon before being filled and frosted with a cream cheese icing. Essentially a cake version of a Cinnabon!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: English
Servings: 10 slices
: 853 kcal
Author: Just Jo
For the cake:
  • 350 g caster sugar (can be subbed for soft brown or muscovado sugar)
  • 350 g soft butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 60 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or sub for 1/4 tsp maple extract)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60 g whole pecans
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 85 g buckwheat flour
  • 125 g rice flour
  • 1 tsp (rounded) gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp (level) xantham gum
For the frosting and to finish:
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 325 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cream cheese or cheesecake flavoured oil
  • 20 g milk chocolate, melted
  • 4-5 whole pecans, roughly chopped
  1. Start by greasing and lining two 8-inch cake tins (sandwich or deep ones will do). Preheat the oven to 160˚C for conventional ovens, 10-20˚ lower for fan forced ovens. 

  2. Beat the caster sugar and butter together for at least 5-7 minutes until very much paler, light and fluffy. Don't skimp on this bit, it helps with the rise and texture of the final bake. 

  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and maple syrup together in a jug.

  4. Pulse the pecans in a food processor until you have a fine crumb then add in the almonds, rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder and xantham gum. Blitz briefly to mix. 

  5. Gradually mix in the beaten egg mixture into the creamed butter, adding a spoonful of the flour mixture as you go to prevent curdling. Mix in remaining flour and divide between the two prepared cake tins. 

  6. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen, browned and springing back to the touch when carefully pressed in the centre. A skewer should also come out clean when inserted into the centre. 

  7. Cool on a rack in the tins until you are able to turn them out. Gluten free cakes are more delicate so don't be tempted to flip it out after 5 minutes! 

For the frosting:
  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy then add in the vanilla and the cream cheese or cheesecake flavoured oils (I love LorAnn oils for this). Taste and adjust flavourings to your liking. 

  2. Scrape into a piping bag fitted with a 1-2cm plain round nozzle. Use a little less than half to fill the cake and the rest you need to pipe in a spiral from the centre out.  

  3. If using the melted chocolate, scrape into a small food bag and snip off the corner allowing about a 2mm opening. Pipe the chocolate along the ridge created between the swirls of the frosting. If using caramel instead, beat it to loosen and proceed as per the chocolate instructions.

  4. Finish by sprinkling the edge with the chopped pecans, if desired. 

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