Monday, March 1, 2010

Recipe Review: Cinnamon Streusel Layer Cake ~ 3.1.10

Yesterday we celebrated the 11th birthday of one sweet little niece of ours, Caterina!

Being Caterina's Godmother puts me in a wonderful predicament each and every year.... making a cake! A responsibility that I have deemed upon myself, mind you.  I have grown quite fond of cakes over the past several years and was excited that C was up to trying something a little bit different for her birthday this year.

I clipped this recipe a few months back because I do love what Ms. Byrn's does with a cake mix! Many of my favorite cake/cupcake recipes have emerged from her book Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor and this one is entering the recipe box files of my "tried and true" recipes! My favorite part was the slightly crunchy streusel layer in between the creamy layer of frosting right smack dab in the middle of the cake! YUM!

Next time I'll.... add toasted chopped pecans in between the cakes. I may try our favorite buttercream frosting, too. I love a good cream cheese frosting (and this one is good), but I like it better with carrot cake.

Giving this recipe: 4 thumbs up!

See, you can make a yummy cake from a box!

Cinnamon Streusel Layer Cake

•Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
•3/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar plus 3 tablespoons for the topping
•8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
•2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
•1 cup sour cream (regular or reduced-fat)
•1/3 cup vegetable oil
•1/4 cup water
•3 large eggs
•Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe at bottom)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist 2 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray. Using a pencil, trace the bottom of 1 of the cake pans onto 2 pieces of parchment paper. Cut out the round pieces of paper and place them in the bottom of the 2 prepared cake pans.

Place 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, the butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy and smooth, 1 minute. Put half of the streusel mixture in each prepared cake pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread the streusel out to within 2 inches of the edge of the pans. Set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, water and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 11/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a smaller bowl and set aside. Divide the remaining cake batter evenly between the 2 cake pans, spreading the batter over the streusel.

Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon into the reserved batter until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Drop the cinnamon-flavored batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the batter in the pans and swirl it to the edge of the pan, being sure not to disturb the streusel layer. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

Bake the cake layers until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack to cool completely, streusel side up, about 20 minutes longer. Peel off and discard the parchment paper circles.

While the cakes cool, make the Cream Cheese Frosting.

To assemble the cake, transfer 1 layer, streusel side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with about 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second cake layer, streusel side down, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Place the cake, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting
I used 1/3 less fat and it was just fine. I also tinted about a cup of the frosting and used it to pipe a message on her cake.

•8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
•4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
•3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
•2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners' sugar a bit at a time, beating with the mixer on low speed until the confectioners' sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Add the vanilla, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the frosting until fluffy, 1 minute longer. Use the frosting at once.

see here and here for some past cake creations


  1. Boy, that does look good. I love the photo of Caterina too.

  2. My mom used to make this cake when we were little. So tasty!