Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread with Crumb Topping

It’s been a tough slog in the Circle B Kitchen these past few weeks.  I don’t mean to sound whiny or anything, but I think I’ve had to make like 5 loaves of cinnamon bread and we’ve had to eat them, all the while trying to figure out what needed tweaking to make the ultimate, most lusciously delicious cinnamon quick bread imaginable. 

It’s been exhausting, but I’m pretty sure we can finally declare success.

You know how the good folks at Cook’s Illustrated will give you the blow by blow of every moment, each decision and change of measuring spoon for every recipe they’ve developed?  I’m not going to get quite that into it, but I will tell you that we started with a recipe for cinnamon quick bread that’s been languishing in the archives for about 67 years.   

It was a perfectly fine recipe.  The Husband loved it.  We both did, in fact.  But being the greedy, ill-tempered cook that I am, I wanted MORE!  I wanted a swoon-worthy cinnamon bread unlike any made before.  I realized this might be a rather lofty goal to be setting, but on I trudged,

making a couple of changes here and there which turned out an even more delicious loaf of bread.  Encouraged, I did that 3 or 4 more times, each time adding this or subtracting that and then finally adding a crumb topping and now we’re pretty sure we’ve come up with some of the best cinnamon bread in recorded history. 

Well, that's just our opinion.

You will have to be the final judge as to the merits of that statement, but one thing you will have to agree with us on… this is the happiest cinnamon bread you will ever encounter. 

Every loaf… all five of them… have come out of the oven with a great big smile plastered on every slice.  If I tasted this good, I’d be happy too.  Here’s the recipe…

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread with Crumb Topping

Click here for a printable recipe

This recipe accommodates an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan.  If you only have the larger 9 x 5 size, it will take a little less cooking time, so check it after 30 or 35 minutes.  You don't have to swirl the cinnamon sugar into the batter with a knife in step 3, but it disperses it a little which is nice in the finished loaf.  The buttermilk is an essential ingredient in this bread, the fresher the better.  I do not suggest substituting powdered buttermilk because you need the lift that's created when the buttermilk and baking soda meet up.  It creates a really wonderful texture!  And speaking of texture... this bread has a very moist, delicate crumb that will seize up if overcooked.  Every oven is different, mine was done perfectly at about 43 minutes.  I would suggest testing it at 40 and taking it out of the oven as soon as your toothpick is just barely clean.


¼ cup oil

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Sugar:

2 ½ tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

Crumb topping:

¼  cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

¼  cup butter, melted

½ cup all purpose flour 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray an 8 ½ by 4 1/2 –inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pan with a few inches of overhang (about 7 ½ x 13 inches), place it in the pan and then spray again with non-stick cooking spray.  This will make removal from the pan super easy. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, and buttermilk.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt and flour.  Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly, and then pour 1 1/3 cups of the batter into the prepared pan. 

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the batter in the pan.  Use a knife to swirl it though the batter.  Pour the remaining batter over the cinnamon sugar, smoothing the top with a spatula. 

Mix together the crumb topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the batter. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Grab the ends of the parchment paper and remove the bread from the pan.  Discard the parchment and place the bread on a wire rack to cool.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment