close up photo of hand reaching for a slice of snickerdoodle cake

About This Snickerdoodle Cake

This snickerdoodle cake is a cross between your favorite snickerdoodle cookie recipe and an easy snack cake recipe! The cake is made with a plush, pillowy butter cake filled with cinnamon sugar, and topped with even more cinnamon sugar.

@hummingbirdhigh delicious tbh #bakingrecipe #bakingszn #bakingtiktok #recipesoftiktok ♬ Christmas, holiday, orchestra track(781498) – Kirill Kharchenko

But wait, hold the phone. What do snickerdoodle cookies taste like? And why did I decide to turn their flavor into a cake?

Well, like snickerdoodle cookies, this cake is flavored with lots of cinnamon sugar. There’s a cinnamon sugar filling in the middle of the cake, as well as a cinnamon sugar topping that gives the cake a beautiful, flaky top.

And like My Best Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe, the cake is leavened with both cream of tartar and baking soda to give it a unique tangy flavor. Learn more about why cream of tartar is important in snickerdoodles.

close up photo of snickerdoodle cake on wire rack

Why You Should Make This Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this unique coffee cake recipe:

The recipe is adapted from the old fashioned coffee cake recipe that inspired snickerdoodle cookies.

When developing the recipes for My Best Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe and Snickerdoodle Recipe Without Cream Of Tartar, I discovered that snickerdoodles might have originated from an old fashioned coffee cake recipe.

Specifically: Stella Parks, former pastry chef at Serious Eats, writes in her cookbook that the cookies evolved from a popular cinnamon-scented cake recipe called the “snip doodle”. That sounded delicious to me, so I decided to hunt down the recipe for Hummingbird High—and I’m sharing it with you in this post!

close up photo of snickerdoodle cake showing cinnamon filling

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make this quick and easy snickerdoodle cake, here’s everything you need to make the recipe:

Shopping List For Snickerdoodle Cake Recipe

  • all-purpose flour
  • cream of tartar
  • baking soda
  • ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • granulated sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • large eggs
  • whole milk
  • pure vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Cream Of Tartar

You need ½ teaspoon cream of tartar to make this snickerdoodle cake.

What is cream of tartar? And can I make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is an acidic by-product of fermenting grapes into wine. Bakers primarily use it to stabilize meringues and whipped creams, and to make traditional cookie recipes like snickerdoodles.

For a more in-depth post about cream of tartar and if you can make snickerdoodles without it, check out my post that explores whether or not you can make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar.

But the TL/DR is this: yes, you can make snickerdoodles without cream of tartar (like I did in this Snickerdoodle Recipe Without Cream Of Tartar). But doing so will change the cookies’ flavor, texture, and even appearance! 

Can I make this snickerdoodle cake without cream of tartar?

Okay, so you read my post about why cream of tartar is necessary in snickerdoodles and weren’t convinced. No worries!

You can substitute the ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon baking powder and still make this snickerdoodle cake.

However, your snickerdoodle cake will taste slightly different. It won’t rise quite as much (though you’ll still get a decent crumb), and won’t taste as tangy.

Looking for a snickerdoodle cookie recipe without cream of tartar? I got you—this snickerdoodle without cream of tartar recipe is one of the most popular cookie recipes on Hummingbird High!

photo of snickerdoodle cake slices

How To Make Snickerdoodle Cake

Here are the basic steps to make this snickerdoodle cake from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the snickerdoodle cake, swirl, and topping. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)

  2. Make the snickerdoodle cake batter. (Work Time: 15 minutes)

  3. Assemble the snickerdoodle cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  4. Bake the snickerdoodle cake. (Bake Time: 50 minutes)
photo of a slice of snickerdoodle cake on a white plate

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: All About The Baking Equipment For The Recipe

Can I make this snickerdoodle cake in any other cake pans?

Yes! You can bake the recipe in a variety of different pans:

  • Make the cake in a 9-inch square pan. Check for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier, at 40 to 45 minutes. The cake will be slightly shorter than if you’d made it in an 8-inch square pan.

  • Make the cake in an 8-inch or 9-inch round pan. Bake Time will not change if you use an 8-inch round pan. However, if using a 9-inch round pan, check for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier (at 40 to 45 minutes into Bake Time).

  • Make the cake in a 9 x 13-inch rectangular pan. Adjust Bake Time to 22 to 25 minutes. The cake will be much thinner than if you’d made if in an 8- or 9-inch pan.

FAQ: Serving and Storing The Snickerdoodle Cake

How To Store The Snickerdoodle Cake

The snickerdoodle cake slices can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze the snickerdoodle cake?

Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it. Why? The snickerdoodle topping gets crunchy and flaky after it’s baked in the oven (similar to the sugar top of my favorite brownie recipes). If you freeze and thaw the cake, the topping will get soggy and lose its crisp!

Best Recipe Tips

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the snickerdoodle cake recipe:

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the cake gluten-free!

  • Cream of Tartar. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can replace the cream of tartar AND the baking soda in the recipe with 1 teaspoon baking powder.

  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste. You can also use vegan butter sticks to make it dairy-free (though you’ll need to swap the milk out for a plant-based option too).

  • Whole Milk. You can substitute the whole milk for 2% or skim milk (but your cake might be less flavorful). You can also use any plant-based milk to make the cake dairy free (though you’ll need to swap the butter out for a plant-based option too). Flavorful plant based milks (like coconut or oat) will make the cake taste like that flavor, too.

More Snickerdoodle Recipes

More Simple Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: Soft and Fluffy Snickerdoodle Cake Recipe

This snickerdoodle cake is a cross between your favorite snickerdoodle cookie recipe and an easy cinnamon coffee cake! The single layer simple cake is plush, pillowy, and topped with a flaky cinnamon sugar topping that resembles a snickerdoodle cookie. 
(4.93 stars) 14 reviews
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Ingredients

For The Snickerdoodle Cake

  • 2 ⅓ cups (10.5 ounces or 298 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces or 298 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) whole milk, at room temperature

For The Snickerdoodle Swirl

  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For The Snickerdoodle Topping

  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Prep the oven and pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray an 8 x 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment, too.
  • Mix the dry ingredients for the snickerdoodle cake, swirl, and topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt for the cake.
    In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the swirl.
    In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
  • Cream the sugar and butter, then add the egg and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Beat on medium until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. 
    Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg and vanilla, and beat until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Add the dry ingredients and milk. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until the last of the dry ingredients are just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more and beat for 30 seconds.
  • Assemble the cake. Pour half the batter (around 19.20 ounces or 544 grams) into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar for the swirl evenly over the batter.
    Scrape the remaining cake batter over the filling, and use the offset spatula to spread it evenly and smooth its top. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar for the topping over the batter.
  • Bake the cake. Bake for 50 to 52 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.
  • Serve and store. Run a butter knife or offset spatula along the edges of the pan and use the overhanging parchment as handles to lift the cake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into 2-inch squares and serve.
    The snickerdoodle cake slices can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the snickerdoodle cake recipe:
  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the cake gluten-free!
  • Cream of Tartar. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can replace the cream of tartar AND the baking soda in the recipe with 1 teaspoon baking powder.
  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste. You can also use vegan butter sticks to make it dairy-free (though you’ll need to swap the milk out for a plant-based option too).
  • Whole Milk. You can substitute the whole milk for 2% or skim milk (but your cake might be less flavorful). You can also use any plant-based milk to make the cake dairy free (though you’ll need to swap the butter out for a plant-based option too). Flavorful plant based milks (like coconut or oat) will make the cake taste like that flavor, too.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.