Cinnamon Cake Bars

*This post for high protein cinnamon cake bars first appeared on April 1, 2012. The post, pictures and recipe have been updated and I added a video {skip to watch the video below} on how to make these easy, healthy treats.

These cinnamon cake bars taste just like coffee cake. They’re high in protein, low cal, low sugar with no oils or butter and perfect for a healthy snack.

These cinnamon cake bars taste just like coffee cake. They're high in protein, low cal, low sugar with no oils or butter and perfect for a healthy snack.

Five years ago when this post was first published it was about 3 months before I first stepped foot into a CrossFit gym. I was bouncing back and forth between HIIT workouts online, NROLFW and Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer program desperately trying to find something that would help me build muscle. Honestly, nothing really worked too well (sorry, but 15# dumbbells don’t really do much for muscle growth) and it wasn’t until July of that year when my CrossFit gym opened right down the road that progress finally started to happen.

If there’s one positive that came out of those few months of workout ambiguity though, it was this recipe for high protein cinnamon cake bars inspired by Jamie Eason’s recipe for cinnamon swirl bread I stumbled upon on her site one day.

These high protein cinnamon cake bars are a great healthy snack before or after your workout. These cinnamon cake bars taste just like coffee cake except with a healthy protein boost!

Often times, people are hesitant to bake with protein powder saying the chalky taste can linger in the final product.

And while that can definitely be true, I’ll say this: it doesn’t happen as much with quality protein powder. I didn’t always know this and I didn’t always care as much as I should about the sourcing of my whey protein.

These days, I use SFH Pure (their churro flavored whey protein is literally perfect for this recipe making the cinnamon flavor even more robust) or Vital Proteins almost exclusively as they’re both quality products whose standards live up to mine now.

A healthy snack that tastes like coffee cake! You can't go wrong with these high protein cinnamon cake bars.

While my workouts have changed quite a bit over the last 5 years since this was originally posted, my snacking really hasn’t and these cinnamon cake bars are still a really great one I love to grab either right before or after my workouts. They’re packed with protein, very low fat (like none really), gluten-free and a great source of healthy carbs to fuel you through whatever way you like to sweat.

WATCH THE VIDEO – How to make Cinnamon Cake Bars:

Oh, and they seriously taste like coffee cake too. Are you sold yet?

Serves 9     adjust servings

High Protein Cinnamon Cake Bars

Cook Time 25 min Prep Time
Preparation 10 min Cook Time
Total Time 35 mins Total Time

These high protein cinnamon cake bars taste just like coffee cake. They're high in protein, low cal, low sugar with no oils or butter and perfect for a healthy snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder (I use vanilla or churro flavored whey usually)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (*see note)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon, set aside

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pyrex or cake pan.
  2. Combine oat flour, buckwheat flour, protein powder, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together egg, applesauce, yogurt, almond milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Combine sugar + cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter, swirl into the entire surface of the batter using a knife or toothpick.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  9. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

-Oat and buckwheat flour can be ground in a food processor or blender from rolled oats and buckwheat groats, respectively.

-Original recipe called for turbinado (raw) sugar, I used coconut sugar in this updated version. Either will work.

-Adapted from Jamie Eason's Cinnamon Swirl Bread

65 Comments

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I never bake with protein powder…heck it’s been years since I’ve even bought any or had any! These look so good and would have never guessed from the pics that there’s p.p. in them! Sometimes it seems to change the appearance/texture of food…but not these!

    Reply
  2. katie @KatieDid

    I’m just getting into ‘baking’ with protein powders too- more like using them in smoothies and no bake cookies, but still! It’s fun and surprisingly easy to use. and I LOVE those white plates a lot, very simple and beautiful.

    Reply
  3. mb

    i made these and my batter was EXTREMELY thick – i couldn’t even spread it! so i had to add some milk… was your batter also super thick?

    Reply
    1. Gina

      Oh my gosh…i just realized I left out the 1 cup almond milk! I’m so sorry! Did they come out ok when you added the milk? Editing the recipe right now..

      Reply
  4. Kerry

    This cake looks so good! I love cinnamon in baked goods, and I’m always looking for new ways to add a little more protein to my diet, so this will be perfect!

    Reply
  5. Somer

    Looks so tasty! I need to make it and sub out the greek yogurt for my homemade almond yogurt and use ground flax instead of eggs to make it vegan, but I’m sure it will be fabulous!

    Reply
  6. Brittany (Eating Bird Food)

    Yum! I’ve made a variation of Jamie Eason’s Pumpkin Protein Bars and liked them so I’m sure I would love these Cinnamon Cake Bars as well. Definitely adding these to my “to make list” – especially since I was just given a bag of buckwheat flour from a friend. :)

    Reply
    1. Gina

      Lucky! I can never find buckwheat flour so I always have to grind my own. I don’t know why I don’t just do a big batch in the beginning and have a whole bunch on hand but I always end up needing to grind it every time I use it in something and cleaning the food processor is one of my least favorite things! haha

      Reply
  7. janetha @ meals & moves

    These look delish! Great photos, too. I love Jamie’s bar recipes–they all make such a great base to adapt. I added cinnamon roasted almonds and a little almond extract to these once and they turned out pretty stellar. I will have to try your variation!

    Reply
  8. Emily

    I rarely bake with protein powders because I can’t stand when the finished product has that protein-y flavor, but these look and sound delicious! Cinnamon and bread are two things that can always make me swoon…
    I’ll have to try a vegan variation! (:

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I think you could. I might up the vanilla extract a tad to compensate for the vanilla flavor in the protein powder. Let me know how it works if you try b/c I’ve been on the lookout for plain protein powder lately.

      Reply
  9. Adhriene

    I am not good in baking but I always try to be one…This is because there are a lot of food I want to eat and try baking…

    Reply
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  11. Jess

    Ohhh these are SO pin-worthy!! I can’t wait to try my hand at these, I’m such a sucker for coffee cake too, this would be a perfect healthy swap!!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I’m actually not very knowledgeable in protein powders at all! I use Designer Whey and think it’s decent. Mostly b/c it’s widely available and affordable. I tried Vega and didn’t like it all (not the popular opinion) which I’m actually somewhat happy about considering it’s astronomical price tag!

      Reply
        1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

          I don’t calculate/post the nutritional value for my recipes. If you want the full breakdown just plug the recipe into one of the many online calculators. I’ve used sparkpeople.com in the past for one.

          Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I thought of you when making these b/c I was nervous at first after your lemon experience. Def give these a shot!

      Reply
  12. TeenyLittleSuperChef

    Just wanted to let you know I made these protein bars yesterday and oh my goodness, they are awesome! I think they may be my new favorite after workout snack. Thanks for the great recipe! I didn’t have any oat flour so I subbed quinoa flour instead. Next time I think I’ll try the oat, as the quinoa definitely had a distinct flavor to it. They were still delicous though :) You rock!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      So glad you liked them :) I still have a stash that I’m not allowing my husband to eat b/c they’re too good to share! haha

      Reply
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  15. Anna @ The Guiltless Life

    Gina, this recipe is phenomenal! I have only managed to come up with a small handful of recipes using protein powder that even someone who has never touched protein powder in their life (ie my mom and sister) couldn’t detect it in (That was quite possibly the worst-phrased sentence I have ever written in the English language but I am just too tired to rephrase, sorry!). It is amazing, I ate it and felt like I was indulging in one of those cinnamon crumb cakes you get in cafes. 100 cals a slice and 8g of protein – I’d never have known! And my mom and sister sure didn’t either – they loved it. Genius lady!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Anna- so glad everyone liked them :) They’re one of my favorites too. I’ve been really lucky with baking protein into things so far, I keep expecting to be able to taste it and it just hasn’t happened yet! I’ll take my wins when they come though, not complaining ;) And I’m laughing out loud at your comment about the sentence. I can’t tell you how many times I type something that is a grammar nightmare in other people’s comments and then sit there staring at it not being able to figure out how to make it sound any better. haha, so no worries ;)

      Reply
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  18. Kate

    I made the lemon bars and added poppy seeds. They’re wonderful, but I had to guess on the amount of protein powder. My whey protein doesn’t have a scoop. How much is a scoop?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      a scoop for me is about 4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup). I think most scoops are pretty similar so that should be about the same!

      Reply
  19. Kate

    Thank you so much for the information about the whey protein scoop volume! I was delighted to see that I’d guessed pretty accurately at 1/4 cup.
    I am loving a variety of protein bars as, without meat, eggs, or cheese, I seem to need a little extra protein. I work out twice a day and feel hungry often! I made a batch of lemon protein bars (think the recipe may’ve been from another site), but am making these cinnamon bars w/ my homemade, home-grown organic applesauce and homemade Greek yogurt. I am thoroughly enjoying your site and inspirations! Thanks again.
    P.S. I love weimeraners, too :)

    Reply
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  27. Quinnton

    i have vanilla ice cream true mass by bsn. do you think it would really change the taste if i used that? the vanilla ice cream taste alot better then the vanilla, taste just like milk.

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I assume vanilla ice cream is a protein powder flavor? If so, yes, I’m sure you could use that instead.

      Reply
  28. Styarna

    I just tried this recipe, and like everyone else, I am thrilled with it! The texture is wonderful, very moist and light. I used brown rice flour instead of oats as I don’t eat gluten, and flavoured my bread with lemon and poppy seeds, and it is lovely. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I don’t calculate/post the nutritional value for my recipes. If you want the full breakdown just plug the recipe into one of the many online calculators. I’ve used sparkpeople.com in the past for one.

      Reply
  29. Rachel Davies

    I am looking forward to making these, but the quantity for applesauce is a ‘?’ on my screen rather than a number. What’s the amount supposed to be?

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Hi Rachel- sorry about that. I switched recipe card formats recently and some things didn’t carry over. It’s edited now. Applesauce amount is 1/3 cup. Hope you like them!

      Reply

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