The smooth vanilla cake in this one-layer snickerdoodle cake has swirls of cinnamon-brown sugar throughout, and the cream cheese frosting on top has the characteristic sour flavour of a snickerdoodle cookie! This little cinnamon swirl cake, which is baked in an 8 by 8 inch pan, is perfect for brunch or dessert.

All views and opinions are my own in spite of this post being sponsored by Domino® Sugar. We appreciate your patronage of the businesses that help make Katiebird Bakes possible.

The modest snickerdoodle cookie sticks out for me (and I’m sure many Midwesterners) among the many Christmas cookies to love. There’s just nothing like biting into a warm, somewhat tart cookie with a cinnamon-sugar crust. Also, since cinnamon and sugar are always in style, there’s really no reason to restrict this delicacy to the holiday season.

So when it dawned on me one day like a tonne of bricks that one could probably mix the vanilla, cinnamon sugar, and tangy something into an SNICKERDOODLE CAKE…

Well, the idea would not go away.

I believed my regular smaller vanilla cake recipe, when swirled with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, would work well for this adaption (which you’ve seen in many iterations with my single layer lemon cake, rhubarb cake, and most recently cranberry crumb cake).

and I can assure you that IT DOES.

Since tartaric acid is what gives snickerdoodles their acidic flavour, I initially questioned if I could use it for the cake’s rise in place of baking powder. Nevertheless, I remained with baking powder after doing some research and concluding that CREAM CHEESE FROSTING would be a better option to replicate the mild sourness because I thought it could be too difficult.

When finishing the last piece of the snickerdoodle cake today, my husband Brian exclaimed, “I would eat garbage if it had cream cheese icing on it.”

Let’s hope that the rest of us have a little bit higher expectations, but you get the idea.


8-inch square baking pan


  • To the Cake:
  • 1 ½ cups (187g) (187g) universal flour (measured via spoon and level method if not by weight)
  • one tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • ¾ cup (149g) (149g) Granulated sugar Domino®
  • ½ cup (113g) (113g) salt-free butter
  • two huge eggs
  • Vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 113g (1/2 cup) of buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup for the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl (66g) Light Brown Sugar, Domino® (packed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
  • Regarding the cream cheese 4 ounces of frosting (113g) at room temperature softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup (56g) (56g) Sugar for Domino’s Confections
  • 12 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of your preferred milk


To the Cake:

Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. A 8-inch square cake pan should be greased. On a piece of parchment paper, trace the cake pan’s bottom and cut it out to fit. Put parchment on the bottom of the cake pan.

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Place aside.

Cream the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed for two to three minutes, or until they are light and fluffy if using a hand mixer in a big bowl.

One at a time, add the eggs and beat on medium speed until each addition is well mixed. Stir in the vanilla essence after adding it.

Beat on low speed while adding a third of the flour mixture, half the buttermilk, and then another third of the flour mixture. Continue with the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk, and the third of flour mixture at the end. Do not overmix the batter; simply beat it at low speed until it is smooth.

To make the cinnamon swirl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl.

Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture equally over the top after scraping half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and smoothing it out with a spatula. Spread the remaining batter as evenly as you can over the cinnamon sugar mixture; it won’t be perfect, and that’s good. Evenly cover with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Gently swirl the batter with a butter knife, first across and then up and down.

Bake for 35–37 minutes, or until the top is browned and the middle of the cake tests clean when pierced with a toothpick. Invert the pan onto the rack to release the cake, take off the parchment from the bottom, and then put the cake back right side up onto a cake plate. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes. While you make the icing, let the cake cool.

The cream cheese frosting is made of:

Cream cheese should be smoothed out in a big basin using a mixer or a whisk at medium speed. Once blended, it will be thick. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla paste or extract. When the mixture is barely pourable, whisk in the milk, one spoonful at a time (this may be more or less than what is called for depending on the temperature of your ingredients and your desired consistency).

Spread cream cheese frosting evenly across the cooled cake or drizzle it across it in a zigzag manner. Serve!


*If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use equivalent amounts of sour cream or full-fat Greek yoghurt instead, or you can combine 1/2 tsp. lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk and let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

Cake will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator when well-wrapped. To reheat leftover cake, I like to microwave it on 50% power for 20 seconds.

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