(this isn’t a sponsored post; I just really love this product)
Pillsbury Traditional Yellow Cake Mix gets a boost with cinnamon and brown sugar. They’re baked until chewy, and then spread with a thick layer of icing for cinnamon roll bars with cream cheese frosting.
Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? I know I do, and I even make them on occasion. I’m not afraid to work with yeast and there’s just something about a warm homemade cinnamon roll that defies description.
But this is real life. Sometimes it’s 10 p.m. and you remember, as you’re about to climb into bed, that you promised a group of students you’d feed them at your 7:30 a.m. meeting. And since cinnamon rolls are certainly not happening, you rack your brain for a simpler solution. Something mouth-watering, yes, but something that comes together quickly.
That’s where these cinnamon roll bars come in. The base is Traditional Yellow Cake Mix, so it doesn’t take too many more ingredients for the bars to come together. As soon as you open the bag of cake mix, you’re hit with its rich vanilla-y smell. By the time you add the cinnamon, brown sugar, and other ingredients, your whole kitchen smells like a decadent cinnamon roll.
As I put the bars in the oven, J walked in the kitchen and said, “That smells so good; what did you make?” He was surprised I hadn’t baked anything yet because the kitchen smelled that good. And by the time I pulled the cinnamon roll bars out of the oven, the whole house smelled like cinnamon and sugar.
Sure, you could make this recipe from scratch, but the Pillsbury Traditional Yellow Cake Mix does all the work for you. It delivers deep flavors while doing most of the hard work for you. You get the convenience of a boxed mix with the ability to transform it into something entirely your own.
I love to bake the bars the night before, then whip up the frosting in the morning and frost them right before I walk out the door.
These bars are so easy, yet so moist and rich, that they could easily become a new make-ahead holiday favorite. Or, if you really love the people in your life, make them this weekend.
Cinnamon Roll Bars
adapted from Cookies & Cups
For the bars
1 box Pillsbury Traditional Yellow Cake Mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (I’ve used light or dark; both work fine)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cinnamon
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (optional)
For the frosting
1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the bars and mix well, until there are no lumps. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 dish and use a spatula to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until the bars are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay).
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing to make sure each cup is incorporated before adding another. Mix in vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
Spread all of the frosting over the cooled bars and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired. Cut into squares and enjoy
What’s your favorite indulgent dessert disguised as a regular meal?
If you like this recipe, you’ll love these double chocolate brownies or this sausage, egg, and cheese crescent roll bake.
(this post contains affiliate links; to learn more, see my disclosure policy)
Brandy @ Our Thrifty Home says
These look delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
I found this on the Learning From Each Other Link-Up.
Thank you, Brandy! They really are delicious!
April R - Uncookie Cutter says
These look sinful. Absolutely amazing! We don’t have any of those fancy cinnamon roll places in our small town, so this is the perfect recipe for me :). Pinning!
You’re right, this is the perfect shortcut. They’re delectable!
Hi! Just wanted to let you know that your recipe is being featured tomorrow morning on You Link It, We Make It! Thanks so much for such a great recipe and happy Wednesday! If you would like to be added as a contributor to our group Pinterest board, please email me your Pinterest email to email@example.com!
Thank you for the feature, Kim!