Cinnamon Cake Squares

by Susan Salzman
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cake.cinnamon.dorie3_.jpgI am damned if I do and I am damned if I don’t!  The husband does complain at times about the “fresh baked” treats that adorn our kitchen counter(no one else seems to complain…).  And when I do take a break from endless hours in the kitchen, and there is nothing under the glass dome, he sighs, makes a comment, and pouts.

This past Friday night was one of those occassions.  We had just finished a lovely Friday night dinner of roasted salmon with homemade teriyaki sauce, baked brown rice, and sauteed zucchini.  No dessert.  I did, however, have frozen cookie doughs in the freezer, but that wouldn’t do.  Although it wasn’t what he wanted, the kids talked him in to a Pinkberry run.  I was perfectly happy with my mini yogurt with fresh berries, but I knew that baking was going to be part of the weekend agenda.

On Sunday morning, I accessed the provisions on hand and pulled out a few books.  I settled on Dorie’s Cinnamon Squares. By the time everyone woke up that morning, this lovely cake was cooling on the counter.  

Dorie’s directions said to layer the chocolate pieces in the center of the cake.  I added half the amount of chocolte to the batter and the rest I put in the middle of the cake.  This is a cross between a coffee cake and a sheet cake.  Thus, can be eaten pretty much anytime of day!

Cinnamon Squares
Adapted from Baking from my Home to Yours
Yield: 16 pieces

For the cake:
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup whole, organic milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 tablspoons (5 oz.) unsalted, organic butter, melted and cooled
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped small

For the frosting:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chipped
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted, organic butter, cut into 4 pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F

Butter an 8″ square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment. Set on a baking sheet.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and the expresso powder in a bowl, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoons of cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine. Fold in the melted butter to the batter.

Add half of the batter to the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and then the cinnamon, sugar, espresso mixture (I actually added half of the chocolate to the batter). Spread the rest of the batter over the chocolate mixture.

Bake for about 40 minutes (check it after 35 minutes). Cool on a wire rack. Invert the cake after 30 minutes and remove the parchment. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Place the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. When melted, let cool before spreading over cooled cake. Allow the frosting to set on top of the cake, then cut into squares.


Susan Salzman writes The Urban Baker blog to explore her dedication to good food in the hope of adding beauty to the lives of her family and friends.     


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