Sweet and bursting with flavor this Pan de Canela or Cinnamon Tea Cake is a popular type of pan dulce that you’ll find in Mexican bakeries. It boasts the warm flavor of cinnamon with a light and tender texture, making it the perfect accompaniment to coffee or hot chocolate.

About

Pan de canela is a popular Mexican cinnamon tea cake made with flour, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and sugar topped with a generous amount of butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

The cake has a soft texture with an irresistible hearty cinnamon flavor that has become a staple in Mexican bakeries and homes alike and is one of the most delicious pan dulce recipes!

This simple cinnamon tea cake is very popular also in many other Latin American countries where can be found with other names such as bizcocho de canela or torta de canela.

Love fall desserts? Try also my Pay de Calabaza recipe!

Why you should make it

  • No kneading: This cinnamon cake recipe is incredibly easy to make as it doesn’t require any kneading. Simply mix all of your ingredients together, and it’s ready to bake whenever you are.
  • Delicious: The combination of butter, cinnamon, and sugar creates a gooey topping that pairs perfectly with the soft cake.
  • Affordable: You can make this pan de canela recipe for a fraction of the cost of store-bought cinnamon cake!
  • Fun and versatile: Enjoy it as is with a cup of tea or top with a dollop of jam, cajeta, or even cream cheese for an extra special treat. You can also add ingredients like nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips to the batter for an added twist.
Close-up of pan de canela.
Fluffy cinnamon tea cake.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: I used the most commonly used flour, but you can substitute with whole wheat flour for a healthier version or with your favorite gluten-free mix. If using either option, you’ll want to increase the liquids as they tend to absorb more water.
  • Brown sugar: While you can use white sugar, the depth of flavor and color that you get from brown sugar is what really makes this Mexican cinnamon cake special.
  • Egg: Acts as a binder while also adding moisture and richness to the cake.
  • Whole milk: Whole milk is best for pan de canela as it provides a richer flavor and texture. The fat content makes a difference in keeping the cake moist and tender.
  • Corn oil: I like to use corn oil since it doesn’t impart a lot of flavor on its own, but you can also use melted butter or your favorite type of vegetable oil.
  • Ground cinnamon: What would pan de canela be without this key ingredient? As much as I want to use Mexican canela (Ceylon cinnamon), it’s not accessible to everyone. So I used store-bought ground cinnamon, but you can also grind some sticks for a more intense flavor and aroma.
  • Orange zest: Adds a bright, citrusy flavor that pairs nicely with cinnamon.
  • Baking powder: As with most cakes recipes, baking powder is essential for a light and fluffy texture.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to bring out all the good flavors from other ingredients!
  • Butter: For an extra layer of flavor and richness!
  • Cinnamon powder: Sprinkled on top with sugar for an extra burst of comforting flavors!
Ingredients for pan de canela.

How To Make Pan De Canela

Heat the oven to 355°F/180°C. Grease a 9-inch (22cm) round baking pan with butter and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg, with milk, and oil until nicely combined.

Liquid ingredients combined in a cup.

In a large mixing bowl sift the flour along with baking powder and ground cinnamon. Add the orange zest.

Adding orange zest to the bowl with dry ingredients.

Add the sugar and salt to the bowl then mix until combined.

Dry ingredients for pan de canela combined in a bowl.

Pour the milk mixture into the large bowl with flour and use a spatula to mix the ingredients. Do not overmix, is ok if some lumps remains.

Pan de canela batter in a bowl.

Transfer the batter into the prepared mold and use a spatula to even the top.

The batter in a round baking pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a thootpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Freshly baked pan de canela.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place in a cooling rack. Leave it reach room temperature.

Add the topping:

  • Mix the sugar and cinnamon powder in a small bowl.
  • Brush the top of the cake with melted butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Slice and enjoy with a glass of milk, coffee, or champurrado.

A slice of pan de canela cake in a plate with a glass of milk on the side.

Recipe notes

  • Don’t overmix: If you see lumps in the batter, don’t stress! Overmixing can lead to a dense cake, so stop mixing when the ingredients are just combined.
  • Use whole milk: Fat is necessary for producing fluffy, moist cake, so use whole milk as your first choice.
  • How to know when is fully baked: To know if the cake is done, insert a skewer in the middle, if it comes out with some batter means the cake needs more time so cover with foil and continue baking checking every 5 minutes until done.

How to store this cinnamon tea cake

Generally, cake has a short shelf life, and pan de canela is no exception. It’s best to store it in an airtight container at room temperature to ensure that it stays fresh for up to two days.

If you plan on keeping it for more than two days, then refrigerating it for up to 5 days is recommended. Anytime longer than that, wrap it in a tightly sealed plastic and place in the freezer for up to two months. However, note that the cake will dry out faster when kept in the fridge or freezer.

When you’re ready to reheat, pop it in a microwave (if you’re just reheating one) or in a preheated oven at 355°F/180°C for 10 to 15 minutes. I recommend adding the topping after reheated to make it look like the cake is just freshly baked.

Pan de Canela Recipe.

Pan de Canela (cinnamon tea cake)

6 servings
This Mexican cinnamon cake, pan de canela, is loaded with warm and earthy flavors. It is rich and soft, and perfect to serve with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee in the morning, or as a snack in the afternoon.

Equipment

  • 1 9-inch round baking pan

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • cup corn oil (or any mild flavored oil)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 orange zest
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

For topping

  • 2 Tbsp butter (melted)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 355°F/180°C
  • Grease a 9-inch (22cm) round baking pan with butter and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg, add milk, oil, and orange zest. Mix to combine and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift the flour along with baking powder. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt. Mix to combine.
  • Pour the milk misture into the large bowl with flour and use a spatula to mix the ingredients. Do not overmix, is ok if some lumps remains.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared mold.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a thootpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the pan and place in a cooling rack. Leave it reach room temperature.

Add the topping:

  • Mix the sugar and cinnamon powder in a small bowl.
  • Brush the top of the cake with melted butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  • Slice and enjoy.

Notes

  • If you see lumps in the batter, don’t stress! Overmixing can lead to a dense cake, so stop mixing when the ingredients are just combined.
  • Fat is necessary for producing fluffy, moist cake, so use whole milk as your first choice, but feel free to replace with your favorite plant-based milk if you want to.
  • To know if the cake is done, insert a skewer in the middle, if it comes out with some batter means the cake needs more time so cover with foil and continue baking checking every 5 minutes until done.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 275IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 3mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the pan de canela I was looking for! Not the cinnamon rolls, this soft cake. My mom used to make it when we were kids and I wanted to make it now so badly but sadly she doesn’t remember the ingredients exactly, so we both looked for in Google until we found your recipe and we made it and it was perfect! Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts!