When I saw a recipe on Betty Crocker’s site for Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls, I knew they would make a perfect Mother’s Day treat. Katherine and I altered the recipe to be dairy free and vegan, and everyone who tried them loved the results. These cinnamon rolls are a perfect treat for any special occasion. But with their springtime colors and festive look, we think they are especially great for Mother’s Day.
Vegan Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls that Rise to Any Occasion
The original recipe calls for a cake mix that contains sprinkles, but the sprinkle cake mixes we found each contained dairy. So we used a dairy-free white cake mix plus dairy-free sprinkles. This also enables you to choose the cake mix and sprinkles that suit your family’s needs or the special occasion. For natural sprinkles, we like Wilton Rainbow Confetti, SuperNatural Starfetti, or India Tree Carnival Sprinkles. See Alisa’s Dairy-Free Cake Mix Guide for cake mix options.
Kids Can Make these Dairy-Free Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls
While these dairy-free and egg-free birthday cake cinnamon rolls do use yeast, the cake mix adds extra insurance that they will rise. This makes the rolls a perfect beginner cinnamon roll recipe. Older kids and teens can make the entire recipe by themselves. Younger children can do all of the mixing, rolling, and shaping with some guidance. And of course they can do the frosting and sprinkles!
Special Diet Notes: Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1¼ cups warm water (105 to 115°F)
- 1 (.25-ounce / 2¼ teaspoons) package active dry yeast
- 1 box dairy-free white or vanilla cake mix
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles, divided, plus additional for garnish
- 2½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1 container store-bought dairy-free cream cheese frosting or 1 batch homemade dairy-free cream cheese frosting
- Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. If it doesn't bubble at all, your yeast might be inactive. Start over with fresh yeast.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, ¼ cup sprinkles, and 2 cups flour. Add the water and yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. It will not expand as much as bread dough does.
- Gently punch down the dough, and then reshape it into into ball. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick.
- Brush the dough with the melted buttery spread, and sprinkle with the cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles.
- Starting with 1 long end, tightly roll up the dough into a log, and slice it evenly into 12 rolls. Place the rolls cut side down in the pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Bake the rolls for 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack, and let the rolls cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Spread the rolls with the frosting, and top with additional sprinkles. Serve while still warm.