This sweet quick bread tastes just like cinnamon rolls, without all of the effort! It's made up of a moist and tender cake with cinnamon sugar swirled throughout!
* This recipe was updated with new photos and a slightly modified recipe 🙂 Original recipe is still available at the very bottom of this post
I've been making this recipe a TON lately, so I decided to play around with some of the ingredients to see if I could make it even better! And by golly I think I've got it!!
The original recipe is available at the very bottom of this post for any and all of your viewing needs, and I still stand by it 100%. I mean, it's a darn good loaf regardless. But one major change that I've been making, which seriously just makes this pure perfection, is substituting out some of the buttermilk for sour cream.
I am basically sour cream's number one fan, and I have no idea why it took me so long to think of adding it to this recipe. But ohmygosh. Guys. It makes this cake extra moist, extra flavorful, extra rich, with a texture that's pretty much exactly like pound cake - without needing a pound of butter!
Other than that, I've also increased the amount of brown sugar used in the cinnamon swirl. The original amount was perfectly fine, but the swirl was a little lackluster. More brown sugar, means a thicker swirl - and I am here for that!
What is quick bread?
Quick bread refers to practically any bread made without yeast. Instead, the bread is leavened with either baking powder, baking soda, or a combination of the two.
So basically, it's a bread that comes together quickly (which you may have guessed from the name!). No rise times. No rest times. Just snacking times.
One of the most popular quick breads out there is banana bread, but there are hundreds of different ways you can make quick bread! You can even make it savory.
Cinnamon swirl quick bread ingredients:
For the cinnamon sugar ribbon that runs through the cake, you'll need:
• brown sugar: you can use granulated sugar as well, but while testing this recipe, I found the brown sugar made a more distinct swirl in the cake! So I mostly use the brown sugar for aesthetic, but it also adds a hint of molasses flavor
• melted butter or vegetable oil: I like adding some fat to the cinnamon swirl because it makes it almost like a streusel - it's got a bit of bite to it, and I absolutely LOVE how it pairs with the soft and tender bread! I prefer butter, but vegetable oil works just as well if you're not in the mood to melt butter (but then again, how many of us really are?)
For the quick bread batter, you will need:
• baking powder & baking soda: I like to use both for an extra light and moist quick bread!
• salt: to balance out the sweetness
• vegetable oil: I prefer using oil in this batter rather than butter because the oil yields a more moist bread that lasts longer. If you don't have vegetable oil, any neutral flavored oil will work (like peanut, canola, or corn oil)
• sugar: again, you can use brown or granulated sugar, or a combination of the two! More brown sugar will yield a moister bread with a stronger molasses flavor. I personally love to go with 100% brown sugar!
• buttermilk: You can substitute buttermilk for regular milk, but buttermilk yields an airier and tangier loaf! You can also make your own buttermilk if you need!
• sour cream: a new addition to this recipe! It makes for a seriously tender and flavorful loaf!
• vanilla extract
How to make cinnamon quick bread:
1. Make your cinnamon swirl. Mix together all of the ingredients for the swirl, and set aside.
2. Make your quick bread batter. Whisk together wet ingredients and dry ingredients in 2 separate bowls. Then combine and mix until you have a batter!
3. Layer, layer, layer! Spread a layer of batter along the bottom of your loaf pan. Dollop the cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter, and use a skewer or knife to lightly swirl. Top with your remaining batter and smoothen the top.
4. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful though - this loaf can be kind of sneaky. Sometimes when you insert a skewer into the bread it can look wet, but that's just the cinnamon swirl. So look out for batter! Cool completely before icing.
5. (Optional) make icing. Drizzle over your cooled cake before slicing and serving!
How to store quick bread:
To store, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, or transfer to an airtight container. Try to seal as well as possible because air is the main factor that causes quick bread to turn stale.
This quick bread will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature, but I would aim to finish it by about 3 days just because it does taste best fresh. (I haven't met anyone with a problem finishing this quick bread!)
You can also freeze quick bread for up to 2 months. To freeze, wrap tightly with a layer of plastic wrap, then cover with a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
To thaw frozen quick bread, set out at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight until defrosted completely. Serve normally!
Check out these other recipes!
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread Recipe
For the cinnamon swirl:
- ¾ cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 & ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter or vegetable oil * see notes
For the quick bread:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter or vegetable oil and line with parchment paper (leaving some hanging up the sides to make it easier to lift the cake out). Set aside.
- Make the cinnamon swirl: In a medium sized bowl, combine your brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter or vegetable oil. Mix until you get a moist and crumbly mixture. Set aside.
- Make the sweet quick bread batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to break up the eggs and combine everything. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold the ingredients together until just combined. Take care not to over mix!
- Assemble: Pour about ⅔ of your quick bread batter into your prepared loaf pan, and smoothen out into an even layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Using a wooden skewer or knife, swirl the cinnamon sugar into the batter by running the utensil through the batter. Top with the remaining quick bread batter.
- Bake your cinnamon swirl quick bread in the center of your preheated 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean of batter (you may see some of the cinnamon swirl on the skewer). If you find your cake is browning too quickly, loosely tent with aluminum foil and continue baking until cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.
For the cinnamon swirl:
½ cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 & ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter or vegetable oil * see notes
For the sweet quick bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 & ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup granulated or brown sugar, or a combination ** see notes
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract