Cinnamon rolls make the leap to fine dining.

Gooey Glory

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: May 2016
Group Free


Sweet Cakes Café

21 W. Main St., Mesa


For me, the aroma of fresh cinnamon rolls slathered with creamy, buttery icing is akin to kryptonite: I’m powerless in its presence. At Sweet Cakes Café in Mesa, owner Kellie Huntington whips up from-scratch cinnamon rolls ($3.75, pictured) every morning using a time-honored family recipe. After spreading a layer of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar over simple flour dough, Huntington rolls, cuts and bakes the pastries, adding an icing made from butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk rather than the typical cream cheese frosting. “We usually frost them when they’re hot, so it melts down inside the rolls,” she says. The resulting cinnamon roll is nirvana on a plate – crisp around the edges, soft and moist in the cinnamon-sugar center and oozing with rich frosting. Huntington also makes a roll topped with a princely amount of chopped pecans ($4.50) that’s dripping with caramel sauce. 

Phoenix City Grille

5816 N. 16th St., Phoenix


The maple-glazed, bacon-topped cinnamon roll ($5) at Phoenix City Grille is a collaborative effort. Shelley Au of Shelley’s Specialty Desserts (5845 W. Palmaire Ave., Glendale, 602-380-1127, makes the rolls in her Glendale bakery and PCG finishes them with a glaze of butter, sugar, cream cheese and maple syrup topped with bacon bits and drizzled with housemade caramel sauce. Au says the secret to her delectable cinnamon rolls is an abundance of butter. After she bakes the cinnamon-, brown sugar- and butter-laden rolls, Au dips each one in a caramel, butter, cinnamon and heavy cream mixture “because we’re evil,” she says. “It’s not every day you’re going to have a cinnamon roll, but when you do, why not have it be fabulous?” 

Super Chunk Sweets & Treats

7120 E. Sixth Ave., Scottsdale


Chef/owner Country Velador makes Super Chunk’s signature black walnut cinnamon roll ($3.50) from brioche dough chock-full of eggs and butter. She covers the dough with melted butter, brown sugar, a drizzle of molasses and the eponymous black walnuts, which have an earthy, savory flavor and distinct blue cheese-like scent. When the filling oozes out of the rolls while baking, it creates “gooey strips” on the bottom of the pan, which forms a crusty layer when cooled. Velador finishes the cinnamon masterpieces with a simple frosting of whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar. If you’re among the cinnamon-sugar-obsessed like me, Velador will send your craving into overdrive. I mean, who can resist the sweet smell of kryptonite?