Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

It’s pretty much the law that babies are allowed to devour an entire baby-sized cake with their hands on the occasion of their first birthday, and not a moment sooner. So I had to pray that none of the Draconian, Internet-Parenting Big Brother eyes were on us when I caught our sweet, curious 8-and-a-half-month-old Violet sucking brown sugar frosting from a paper towel I had dropped on the floor. Mostly, she eats bananas and squash and beets and quinoa and sweet potatoes and tofu and Greek yogurt, so it was probably a fairly momentous day for our little girl’s taste buds. Of course, in addition to a dab of sugarbutter, today alone she also ingested a feather from the throw pillows, a leaf, a bit of candle wax, my hair, dog hair, page 58 of the Restoration Hardware catalog, something white I couldn’t identify, and playground mulch. Ingested isn’t exactly accurate, since I catch her in the act almost absolutely every time and finger swipe that stuff right out. Then I vacuum. And we start all over again. To balance things out, I’m currently cramming her tiny fat fingers full of organic, gluten-free, green, superfood quick dissolve baby puffs. They’re sort of a baby version of Veggie Booty. Baby Booty, if you will. Stop the presses, I have to go patent that.

The point is, I am not a perfect parent. Or, maybe the point is, despite your best intentions, your kid is going to get ahead of you, reach milestones before you are ready. Or maybe the point is that nobody doesn’t like brown sugar frosting. The important thing is, in addition to being a very conscientious mother, I baked with a pound of butter. A snickerdoodle is a cinnamon-butter-sugar cookie. The kind of cookie you make with your babysitter, and then eat the entire batch while she cries about her boyfriend. And you cry, too, because you get it, you totally sympathize. And you pour her another glass of milk, because that’s what your mom does for you when you’re sad. Then you watch The Little Mermaid and pinky swear promise not to tell a soul that she knows all the words to all the songs. My mother-in-law brought some over last week, and I remembered what a perfect cookie they are. And it occurred to me that I could bake a cake out of the same ingredients.

Why is cinnamon so delicious and comforting? It really makes everything better. I suppose I’m supposed to say that of butter. Or is it bacon? This cake definitely has a lot of the former. Almost four sticks, which is pretty ridiculous. Don’t think, just bake. Go buy a big pack of butter, I’ll wait here.

Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
Adapted from a recipe by Always with Butter


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk

For the brown sugar buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons half and half


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 and prepare two round cake pans with butter and flour.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, and mix until just combined.

Pour batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the brown sugar buttercream:

Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Alternate between the powdered sugar and half and half until everything is well combined. Don’t frost until the cakes are completely cooled.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


    1. Yes! Cinnamon is so homey and fallish. And the brown sugar buttercream looks rustic and cozy. Thanks for reading.

  1. Oh Lord have mercy… snickerdoodles are my favorite cookies ever, and I also happen to have a major weakness for layer cake. This sings to my soul. Thanks!

  2. Thank you … thank you … thank you … this will be the next cake I bake. It sounds and might I add, looks delicious and will be so perfect on a chilly Fall day. I pinned this recipe to my pinterest today, hope that’s Ok, I think everyone will love it, and while I was pinning I added a link to your fabulous blog.

  3. I was so excited when I saw this cake. I made it today for my dads birthday. Unfortunately, this cake looks much better than it tastes. I should actually say that the cake itself was fine, it tasted good. But the icing was gross. It tasted like a stick of butter with sugar on it. When i got my cakes out of the pan with middles fell out and the sides stayed in the pan. If you make this make sure you REALLY flour the sides and bottom of the pan. Not too happy with the turn out of this cake.

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