This Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake is the best of both worlds of cinnamon rolls and creamy cheesecake. It’s made with sweet dough without yeast that gives a real cinnamon roll dough feeling, creamy tangy cheesecake, a cinnamon swirl filling and a cream cheese frosting for a good measure. Even better, it doesn’t need to be baked in a water bath!
Classic desserts combined
I am a big big fan of cinnamon rolls and cheesecake. They each bring something special to the table and both are pretty simple if you think about it. They let their basic ingredients shine. In cinnamon rolls that would be cinnamon, butter and dough, and in the cheesecake that is cream cheese.
This cinnamon roll cheesecake brings these two classic desserts together in a one showstopping dessert. Maybe it looks complicated, but really anyone could make it! Even if it has some additional layers, it really is worth it to put a bit more effort into it. With the step-by-step process shots and detailed instructions, anyone can make this successfully, plus it doesn’t even require a water bath to bake!
This post is also available as a Web Story – Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake.
Honestly, I love the plain cheesecake so much, I don’t like to mix it much with anything else. I think I only have three other cheesecake recipes on the blog: apple crumble cheesecake bars with salted caramel sauce, no-bake mini cheesecakes with zabaione (now that one is so interesting, you’ve never seen anything like it), and my sugar-free protein cheesecake which really doesn’t count, right?
But I’ve been in love with this cinnamon roll cheesecake from the first time I heard about Cinnabon cinnamon swirl cheesecake in the cheesecake factory. I couldn’t get to that, but I found a similar Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake at SweetRecipeas so I decided I will just have to make it at home. Best decision ever!
What Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake is made of
To make this cinnamon roll cheesecake the best it could be, really resemble the cinnamon rolls and not just be a cinnamon cheesecake, it’s made with 4 different components that make it worth its name.
The layers are:
- Two layers of sweet dough – this dough is not made with yeast like cinnamon roll dough is, but uses baking powder to leaven. There is no waiting time for it to rise up or anything like that. And this is a must component to make this cheesecake feel like you are eating a creamy, delicious cinnamon roll.
- Cream cheese cheesecake filling – this creamy, tangy filling is a standard cheesecake center, but a bit less sweet to balance all the other sweet components. I suggest using Philadelphia cream cheese because it’s just the best and you can taste the difference.
- Cinnamon swirl filling – just like you smear the butter, sugar, and cinnamon filling onto the cinnamon roll dough, you put dollops of this filling all over our cheesecake filling and swirl it around. This way we get beautiful, flavorful pockets of cinnamon filling all throughout the cheesecake.
- Cream cheese frosting – cinnamon rolls have this frosting, right? Then it’s only right for this cheesecake to have it too and take it up another level.
Now imagine the flavor and texture of these all together.. To die for!
Note that this cheesecake is on the sweeter side even though I reduced the sugar as much as I could.
How to make a Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
There are no weird and out of the ordinary ingredients in this recipe. You will need just a few kitchen staples and lot’s of cream cheese.
The ingredients you need:
- cream cheese,
- sour cream,
- baking powder.
Now it’s just a matter of how we mix these ingredients together to make this magical creation!
Step-by-step of making cinnamon roll cheesecake
Before the first step, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature!
This advice applies in almost any recipe really. Whenever you are mixing ingredients, making emulsions of water and fat, you will achieve the best results if your ingredients are at room temperature, which is around 20–22 °C (68–72 °F). This will get your baking on another level!
Step 1. Make the sweet, No-yeast Cinnamon Roll Dough.
There is nothing hard about making this dough, you just mix it together with a standard creaming method.
The only messy part is disturbing it across the bottom of the pan as it’s pretty sticky. To help yourself, grease your hands with some oil or butter and then press the dough around to distribute it all over the bottom of the pan. The layer will be very thin but it rises up during baking. If it makes it easier for you, you can also use a bit more on the bottom than on top. So you would use 2/3 of the dough on the bottom and 1/3 on top, just really get it all over the bottom!
Step 2. Make the Cheesecake Filling
Be sure to mix the cream cheese to a soft creamy texture to prevent any lumps. After adding the eggs, don’t mix too much, just enough to incorporate them in. Over-mixing at this point can trap too much air in the batter, which can cause the cheesecake to crack. So mix on low speed and add each egg after you incorporated the one before.
Step 3. Make the Cinnamon Butter Swirl Filling
For this, just combine the melted butter with the sugar and cinnamon. I’m very tempted by the idea to brown the butter first but haven’t tried it yet. If you do give this a try please leave a comment telling me how it went!
When distributing the cinnamon filling on the cheesecake mixture be careful not to put it too close to the edges. Because the filling is mostly sugar, it could easily burn if it touches the side of the pan directly. After you used all the filling, take a toothpick or a knife and gently swirly it around the cheesecake filling.
Step 4. Bake
Drop small spoonfuls of the remaining dough over the cheesecake. At this point you can swirl this around in the same way you did the cinnamon filling or let it be as it is.
Bake at 160 °C (320F) for about 60-70 minutes. Why there is such a big time difference is because ovens can be really tricky and different. Usually, ovens don’t run at a temperature they say there are, so it’s best to buy an oven thermometer. My cheesecake baked for 65 minutes. You know it will be done when the center is still slightly jiggly when you shake the pan.
Step 5. Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
After the cheesecake is cooled, finish, whip up the frosting, and pipe it all over the cheesecake. You can make bigger or smaller stripes of frosting.
Or try piping the frosting in a circle for a big cinnamon roll look!
Tips for baking the perfect no water-bath Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
Follow these tips for guaranteed success!
- Use a spring-form pan. Cheesecakes are usually baked in spring-form pans, and this one is no different. It’s just the easiest to remove it. Plus, we don’t use the water-bath for this recipe so there is just no way to ruin the cheesecake with water.
- Have your ingredients at room temperature before you start mixing. Especially to prevent the cream cheese to be grainy, it has to come to room temperature. All the other ingredients also mix in a lot better if they are at around the same temperature.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. So many times cheesecakes crack, and that’s not a big deal in terms of how delicious it’s gonna be, but if we can prevent it, why not. There are a few reasons for that and one of them is over-mixing the cheesecake batter, and incorporating too much air into it. My trick for preventing that is mixing the cheesecake batter with an immersion blender for a few seconds. This really smooths the whole batter and eliminates the possibility of incorporating too much air. You don’t have to do this, but I advise you to try it. Either way, mix the eggs in just enough to be well incorporated.
- Don’t over-bake the cheesecake. Over-baking causes the cheesecake to crack, be dry and grainy. Turn off the oven as soon as the edges are not moving but the center of the cheesecake is slightly jiggly when you shake the pan.
- Leave the cheesecake to cool in a turned-off oven for half an hour. This will prevent the cheesecake to go through drastic temperature changes and prevent cracks. Because this cinnamon roll cheesecake has dough on the top, half an hour will be enough, after that just cool it on the counter.
Chilling the Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
After the cheesecake is baked, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for half an hour to prevent drastic temperature changes.
Then take it out of the oven and leave it to cool at room temperature for an hour or two, or until completely cooled down.
Then transfer it into the fridge to chill for another 3 hours to get that creamy, velvety cheesecake texture.
When it cools down you can pipe or spread the cream cheese frosting on top and it’s ready to serve!
If you are not ready to serve, store the cinnamon cheesecake in the fridge with or without frosting.
Impatient for having the cheesecake right away?
There are some people who are into warm cheesecakes and this is maybe the only one where maybe I would dare try that but really, cheesecakes are meant to be eaten at room temperature or chilled.
This one is definitely meant to be eaten at room temperature, not chilled, so if you really want to eat it asap, you can do so after it has cooled for 2 hours on the countertop (or even outside if it’s cold).
If you can wait, then cool it in the fridge for 3 hours. Before serving leave it out of the fridge for half an hour to come to room temperature. It’s a cinnamon roll cheesecake after all! We don’t eat cinnamon rolls cold, right?
The best way to test if your cheesecake is done is to open the oven and shake the pan (with oven mitts of course). There should be a slight jiggle in the center! The outside of the cheesecake will look pretty set but the center will jiggle around when shaking the pan.
If there is no jiggle at all, your cheesecake is over-baked.
This cheesecake will last at least 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. Don’t leave the cheesecake outside of the fridge for too long.
If you are not freezing it, always store the cheesecake in the fridge.
You can store it whole in the pan, with or without the spring-form ring, covered with aluminum foil or cling film. Or if you only have a few pieces left, I like to store them in an air-tight container (in the fridge).
The cheesecake should be completely cooled down to at least room temperature before freezing and it’s best if it’s frozen without the frosting.
Wrap the cheesecake all around, with or without the pan, in cling film.
Then wrap it in aluminum foil or place it in an air-tight container.
It can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Before serving, thaw it in the fridge overnight.
If you are freezing with the frosting, place the cheesecake in the freezer just long enough to freeze the frosting enough so that it doesn’t stick to the cling film.
Before making this recipe please read through it first to make the process smoother and to get answers to some questions you might have.
When you make this recipe take a photo and tag me on Instagram (@freakyblond), send it to my email, or attach the photo to the pin. In any case, I’d love to see it, it makes my day! I’d also love if you rate the recipe and tell me your experience in the comments so I can possibly make the recipe even better for you 🙂.
Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
Cinnamon roll batter
- 100 g sugar
- 55 g butter at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 120 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cottage cheese filling
- 450 g cream cheese Philadephia
- 80 g sour cream
- 75 g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp flour
- 75 g butter melted and browned
- 150 g brown sugar
- 3 tbsp cinnamon
Cream cheese frosting
- 70 g cream cheese Philadelphia
- 40 g butter at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 50 g powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (320F) and line a 23 cm (9 inch) round spring-form pan with parchment paper.
Cinnamon roll batter
- With an electric mixer or by hand whisk cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, beat for another minute.
- Add milk and mix to combine.
- Stir together flour, baking powder and salt, then add that to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed just until everything is well combined.
- Spread the better half of the batter onto the bottom of the prepared pan. The batter will be very thick and sticky, so it helps if you grease your hands a bit and then spread the batter around. You will get a very thin layer but it will rise up during baking. It's better to use more batter on the bottom than on the top, to really cover the bottom well. Set aside and make the fillings.
- Beat the cream cheese for about a minute to smooth it out.
- Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract, mix for a few seconds.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed for a few seconds between each addition. We don't really want to add too much air to the mixture, just combine the ingredients well. You can blend the ingredients with an immersion blender for a few seconds, that reduces the chance to add in too much air and prevents cracks.
- Add the flour and mix until everything is well combined and distributed.
- Pour the filling on top of the cinnamon roll batter that is in the prepared pan.
- To add an extra special taste, brown the butter. You can skip this step and just use melted butter if you want.
- To brown the butter – place the butter in a pot and melt it over medium heat. Let it come to a boil and then cook it for a few minutes, stirring often (especially the bottom of the pot). It will start to bubble a lot and get a nutty aroma. Check the color under the bubbles often, to see if it has brown particles. This will take around 7-10 minutes and you know it's done when there are brown bits at the bottom and the butter has a very nutty aroma. Take a tablespoon of the butter and wait for the foam to disappear to check for browned bits. Be sure to stir often as the browned bits can stick to the bottom and burn.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar, then add the butter.
- Drop spoonfuls of the cinnamon filling over the entire top of the cheesecake making sure not to get too close to the edges. If you get too close to the edge, the filling could bubble out and burn when baking. Swirl the filling around with a toothpick or a knife.
- Take the rest of the base batter and drop spoonfuls over the entire top of cheesecake. Lightly swirl it around, it will be very sticky but do it just a bit to distribute the batter better.
- Bake for 60-70 min, or until the center is slightly jiggly when shaking the pan (with oven mitts) and the edges are more set.
- When it's done, turn off the oven and leave it inside for 30 minutes, so that the drastic temperature change doesn't cause it to crack.
- Then let it cool completely, about 2-3 hours at room temperature.
Creme cheese frosting
- Beat the butter for a minute and then add all the other ingredients. Mix just until everything is well combined.
- Put the frosting in a pastry bag (or a zip-lock bag), cut a little bit at the end and drizzle over the cooled cheesecake in stipes or circles.
- I really suggest using the Philadelphia cream cheese, because I’ve always had the best results with it.
- Note that I’m using the Philadelphia cream cheese spread in a tube and not the one in a block because it’s not available here. You can use either.
- Before you mix the ingredients together make sure they are at room temperature. If nothing else, cream cheese must be at room temperature.
- You can skip browning the butter and just use melted butter in the filling.
- If you want a cheesecake with a lot more cheesecake part, reduce the amount of the dough batter by 1/3.
- Check your cheesecake for doneness after 60 minutes and see how it’s going.
- You could make this cheesecake in a smaller or bigger spring-form pan, but the time of baking will be different, and I think this original size and thickness is the best.
- This cheesecake is eaten best at room temperature.
- Store it in the fridge, covered, or in an air-tight container for up to 4-5 days.
- You can freeze the cheesecake for up to 3 months. Wrap the cheesecake all around, with or without the pan, in cling film. Then wrap it in aluminum foil or place it in an air-tight container. Thaw in the fridge overnight before eating.