While there are lots of types of cinnamon rolls, MY idea of the perfect cinnamon roll is composed of a soft, fluffy roll of bread, cinnamon and sugar, with a gooey, caramelized and slightly crispy base and topped with plenty of cream cheese icing. Skip the ramble and go straight to the video tutorial and printable recipe.
Video Tutorial For Vegan Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
When I was in high school, there was a 24-hour coffee shop nearby called The Grind. Some friends and I used to hang out there, nursing our drinks for hours while gossiping, sort-of studying and generally being obnoxious teenagers. Of course, we weren’t that obnoxious. We made sure to buy stuff while we were there. They had two things that were quite incredible: lasagna and cinnamon rolls. I’ll save talking about lasagna for another day as we’re on the topic of cinnamon buns (although they do deserve a post of their own). These cinnamon rolls were huge fluffy things that could be shared between two people or even three. The caramelized bottoms were sweet, gooey and slightly crispy all at the same time. There was never enough icing though.
While I was in college, one of my two full-time jobs was at a local cafe. There I learned the secret. Many local coffee shops got the very same cinnamon rolls (and lasagna for that matter) from a single supplier: Daniel’s Kitchen. I was surprised to learn that we received them only once per week. And frozen at that! In the morning, we would take a batch or two out of the freezer to defrost on the counter. By afternoon, they were room temperature and ready to eat. When customers ordered them, we would heat them in the microwave for a 20 seconds or so before plating them with some whipped cream. People loved them; some came in just for cinnamon rolls and got dreadfully upset when we ran out (which was often).
Now, my coffee-slinging days are over (I think!), but my cinnamon roll days are not! I had a potluck to go to but I wasn’t sure what to bring. It was to be held quite a distance from my home so I didn’t want to bring anything that had to be kept hot. Then, a new friend mentioned that they hadn’t had a cinnamon bun since going vegan. So that settled it: cinnamon buns it was! Not just that, they had to be worth the long wait.
Then I rolled it out, slathered it in Earth Balance and piled on the cinnamon and brown sugar.
After washing my sugared up hands, I rolled up the whole thing, pinching the ends closed and letting the log rest for a few minutes with the seam down while I cleaned up my kitchen and made the cinna-goo. Cinna-goo? Yea, I made that word up. It’s the goopy stuff at the bottom of the pan that bubbles up around the buns while baking.
Back on to my clean cutting board, I cut the cinna-log up into 1 1/2 inch sections.
Poured the cinna-goo into the pan and placed our little rolls on top, leaving space for them to expand. It needs about another hour to rise under a damp cloth. At about a half hour into this wait, I turn on my oven to 400°F.
The buns get pretty big; about double in size. Then it’s time for the oven! I put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack just in case any of the gooey stuff bubbles up over the top of our baking pan.
I baked them for about 18 minutes until they were golden but not too browned. I didn’t want the cinna-goo to burn.
The frosting is super simple: just Earth Balance, vegan cream cheese (like Daiya or Tofutti), icing sugar and a little vanilla extract whipped together.
These are actually better than the omni cinnamon buns I used to love. Because they have MWOAR ICING!! MWOAR MWOAR MWOAR!! HAR HAR HAR!!
Printable Recipe for Vegan Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted [710cc]
- 1 cup warm soy milk (or your favourite plant-based milk) [236ml]
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (instant or traditional) [11cc]
- 3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or favourite vegan butter) [44ml]
- 3 tablespoons sugar (white or brown) [44cc]
- 1/4 teaspoon salt [1.23cc]
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, room temperature [30cc]
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon [15+cc]
- 2-3 tablespoon brown sugar, optional [30-45cc]
- 1/3 cup Earth Balance [79ml]
- 1/2 cup brown sugar [118cc]
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup, agave, or other thick syrup [44ml]
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature [118ml]
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese [118ml]
- 2 cups icing sugar [473cc]
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [5cc]
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm soy (or other) milk, yeast and sugar. Whisk well and set aside for 5 minutes for the yeast to bloom.
- Add 3 tablespoons of melted Earth Balance (or other type of vegan butter) and salt and stir well.
- Add one cup of flour and stir until fully incorporated. Repeat with a second cup of flour.
- Add one half cup of flour and work it into a dough.
- Knead the dough until it's smooth, adding flour to keep it from sticking.
- Cover the dough with a large bowl or damp towel and let sit for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Flatten the dough, knocking the air out of it.
- Use a rolling pin to shape it into a rectangle about 18" long or 46cm. It should be just less than half inch thick or 1 cm.
- Using 2 tablespoons of room temperature vegan butter, cover the top of the dough but leave a 2" (5cm) strip along one of the long sides of the dough.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the vegan butter evenly and press it into the dough.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon over the sugar.
- Starting at the sugar coated side of the dough, fold 1" of the edge over firmly, pinching it down.
- Roll the dough tightly but gently towards the uncoated side. Sit the roll on top of the seam.
- Cut the roll into 1.5" (4cm) sections.
- Place the pieces into your baking pan, lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up, with the cut side down.
- Cover with flour-coated plastic or a damp towel and let rise in a warm location for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- After the rolls are nearly doubled in size, preheat your oven to 400°F (204.4°C).
- In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup vegan butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons of golden syrup. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Spoon the goo over and between the rolls. You may also lift the rolls to get the goo on the bottom.
- In your preheated oven, bake for 15-18 minutes or until the rolls are golden on top. Do not over bake! Let cool a bit before icing.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegan cream cheese, 1/2 cup room temperature vegan butter, vanilla and icing sugar.
- Mix slowly at first to incorporate the icing sugar, then beat quickly until smooth.
- Spread the icing on the cinnamon buns before serving.
- My favourite vegan butter alternative for this recipe is Earth Balance (duh), but you can substitute any hard vegan butter. Note that Becel's Vegan Margerine does NOT work well for this. For a DIY version try this recipe: http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/vegan-butter
- I prefer to use store-bought vegan cream cheese like Daiya or Tofutti for this recipe since there are already so many steps. If you can't get any, try this DIY recipe: http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/sauces-syrups-spreads/spreads/creamy-cashew-cream-cheese
- Finally, YES this recipe contains a bunch of sugar and fat. It's meant to. 🙂 However, feel free to cut down the sugar, especially in the dough and filling. You can probably get away with reducing the sugar by one third. However, for the goo, it's important to keep the ratio of ingredients for the goo to form properly.
- You can freeze these cinnamon rolls! Top them with icing and let them cool completely before storing in an air tight container. If you take the frozen rolls out of the freezer in the morning and store them in the refrigerator, they should be defrosted by the evening. Then you can serve them cold or heated up.