Combine a classic German Christmas Hefekranz, with delicious soft cinnamon rolls and you get this fluffy and sweet Cinnamon Roll Wreath.
Can this be made in advance?
I haven’t tested it, but it should work to shape it the night before, place it in the springform pan and cover it. Then, immediately place it in the fridge overnight. In the morning take it out of the oven 1 hour before you plan to bake it. However, I wouldn’t bake it in advance, it definitely tastes best straight from the oven.
What can I use instead of a springform pan?
If you don’t have a springform pan, you can also use a 9″ or 10″ cake pan!
Can I make cream cheese frosting instead?
Yes, definitely. I love this basic icing which is just butter, powdered sugar, and milk. That being said, if you prefer a cream cheese icing on your cinnamon rolls, you can definitely do that!
How do I know when the dough is finished kneading?
This dough is very soft; however, the sides of the bowl should be clean and the dough should be smooth. Another way to check is the window pane test. To do this, pinch off a small portion of dough and gently stretch it until you can see light through the dough, if it tears before becoming this thin, it needs to be kneaded longer.
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Tips for making a Cinnamon Roll Wreath
- When making yeasted dough, ensure that you allow your mixer to fully knead the dough, until it forms a smooth ball and the sides of the bowl are cleaned.
- The butter for the filling should be very soft but not melted. If it is too firm, it will tear the dough when you try to spread it.
- When rolling out the dough, try to make it as rectangular as possible. This will help when it comes shaping and cutting the hefekranz.
- The icing is made from powdered sugar, milk, and melted butter. However, if you ad cold milk to the melted butter, it will clump so be sure to warm the milk before whisking it in.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for this! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough and the cinnamon sugar filling.
- Milk: The Cinnamon Roll Wreath use milk as the liquid in the dough; however, it will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: The butter adds moisture to the dough filling!
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store. There is one whole egg in the dough.
- Yeast: In this recipe, active dry yeast is used. However, if you are using instant, simply whisk it in with the flour and sugar first and then add in the remaining ingredients.
- Vanilla: Vanilla extract enhances the flavors of the wreath.
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Butter: As mentioned in the tips, it is important that the butter is very soft but not melted.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar adds quite a bit of sweetness which balances the dough well because it doesn’t have much in it.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon creates the classic cinnamon roll flavor. Spices lose strength overtime so it’s important to make sure the cinnamon is fresh.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is the base of most glazes. If yours is very clumped together I recommend sifting if before making the icing.
- Melted Butter: The butter should be melted but not bubbling.
- Milk: Any milk can be used for the glaze, it should be slightly warmed as to not shock the warm melted butter.
How to make a Cinnamon Roll Wreath
Make the Yeasted Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the flour, sugar.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast and the warm milk. Stir to combine the milk and yeast, incorporating a small amount of the flour and sugar mix. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside for 10 minutes.
- After the ten minutes have passed, briefly stir the contents of the bowl together. Then add in the egg, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Use a dough hook to knead everything together on medium low speed for 10-15 minutes until the dough has smooth edges and the bowl is clean.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl that is at least twice the size of the dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and place somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.
Make the filling
- In a small bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon together.
- Add in the butter and stir to combine.
Shape the Zimt Hefekranz
- Once the dough has doubled in size, briefly knead it to knock the air out. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface. until it is 30 cm x 45 cm.
- Spread the cinnamon sugar and butter filling over the surface of the dough leaving a 1/2″ border on all edges.
- Roll the dough up, starting with one long side. Once fully rolled, place it seam side down, and use a long sharp knife to cut it in half lengthwise.
- Twist the two halves together with the filling face up. Start by crossing the two over each other to make an X shape, then twist towards both ends. Pinch the ends together so that you have one long twist.
- Bring the two ends towards each other to create a wreath shape. Act like you are going to tie the two ends into a knot, so cross them over each other and then bring the top strand under the wreath and bring the bottom strand up and over and tuck it under the wreath.
- Carefully lift the wreath and place it in a springform pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic or a damp towel and set aside while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the center of the oven. I also like to put a sheet pan on a rack lower down in case any of the cinnamon sugar mixture runs out of the pan.
Bake the Hefekranz
- Once the oven is heated up, place the wreath in the pan onto the center rack in the oven. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes have passed, rotate the pan and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
- While it cools, make the icing.
Make the Icing
- In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, melted butter and 2 tbsp of warm milk together. If it seems to thick slowly add more milk.
- If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Carefully remove the baked wreath from the pan and place on the plate or dish you plan to serve it from. Drizzle/pour the icing over the wreath, then use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to spread it out.
Cinnamon Roll Wreath
- Stand Mixer
- 250 grams ap flour
- 25 grams granulated sugar
- 8 grams active dry yeast
- 150 ml milk lukewarm
- 1 egg
- 40 grams butter softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
- 60 grams butter softened
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 40 grams butter melted
- 2 tbsp milk warm, more as needed
- Whisk the flour and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Make a well in the center and add in the yeast and then the lukewarm milk.
- Stir the milk and yeast together and incorporate a small amount of the flour and sugar mixture.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, briefly stir everything together.
- Add in the remaining dough ingredients and knead using the dough hook on medium low speed for 10-15 minutes.
- Once smooth, and the sides of the bowl are clean, shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic or a damp towel and set aside for 45 minutes.
Cinnamon Sugar filling
- In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar.
- Add in the soft butter and stir to combine.
- Once proofed, briefly knead the dough to knock the air out.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 30 cm x 45cm.
- Spread the filling onto the dough leaving a 1/2" border on all of the edges.
- Roll up the dough starting from one long side so that you have a skinny log that is 45 cm in length.
- Place the roll seam side down.
- Cut down the center of the log lengthwise so that the filling is now exposed. Twist together the two halves, always making sure that the filling stays face up and exposed. Once twisted, pinch together the ends.
- Bring the two ends towards each other to create a wreath shape.
- Act like you are tying it into a knot, so cross both ends over one another. Bring the top strand under the wreath and the bottom strand up and over the wreath and then tuck it under the wreath.
- Transfer the wreath to a springform pan. Cover it with a piece of plastic or a towel.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Once the oven is preheated, bake the wreath on the center rack for 15 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Once baked, remove the wreath and place the pan on a rack to cool slightly. While it cools make the glaze.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of warm milk together. Add more milk as needed to reach the desired consistency.
- Carefully take the wreath out of the plan and place it on whichever dish or plate you plan to serve it from.
- Drizzle/spread the icing over the surface of the wreath with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon.