Netta’s Cinnamon Roll Cake

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לOn Saturday, October 7th, we woke up in Paris to another day of culinary tours. Within seconds, we understood that we were at war. I remember standing in front of the screen at our apartment, mouth agape, one hand covering it, and the other checking WhatsApp to make sure everyone we knew was okay. Very quickly, it became clear that no one was okay, all our lives had changed.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לOf course, there’s the general pain, the deep empathy with all the families of the deceased, the kidnapped, and the injured. Empathy that’s hard to release, even if there’s no personal acquaintance initially; the feeling is that we’re all in the same circle. And in addition, everyone has their more distant acquaintances—the son of, the friend of, a close family member of… We’re such a small country; I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by this tragedy in one way or another.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לסינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לThen we thought about our visitors who come to Paris for our culinary tours. People from all walks of life and from all over the country come to us. During tours, we learn about settlements we’ve never heard of, meet people whom we probably wouldn’t have met in our previous lives, and thus weave an amazing network of acquaintances and relationships with people we love so much.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לסינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לAs we began to understand the dimensions of the disaster, we naturally started scanning our thoughts for everyone we know from the surrounding area. Very quickly, names of quite a few clients who were with us from the area came up. We prayed that we wouldn’t recognize any of them or their family members as someone who lost their life or was abducted during this terrible day. We couldn’t stop thinking about them.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לסינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לAnd then we saw Ayelet, lovely and kind Ayelet from Kfar Aza, talking about her son Netta who jumped on a grenade and saved his girlfriend Irene. I sat in front of the screen and started crying, remembering the last tour I did for the family. On that tour, Ayelet and Ori came to celebrate their daughter Alma’s Bat Mitzvah, exactly on Christmas Eve. It was a magical day, full of good energy, humanity, and joy, and I was sure we would meet again in the future.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לUnfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Netta in the two tours we did for the family, but to my question, Alma agreed to share with me one of the pastries Netta loved the most. “Netta’s favorite dessert was Cinnabon but with lots and lots of frosting,” she wrote and gave her blessing for me to prepare it in his memory and publish it on the blog. I baked and teared up, I wrote and teared up about Netta, whom I never got to meet.

סינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לסינבון נטע אפשטיין ז״לNetta’s Cinnamon Roll Cake
20-22cm round cake pan

Cinnamon Roll Dough:
80g butter
190g milk
420g all-purpose flour
10g dry yeast
55g sugar
5g ground cinnamon
120g eggs
4g salt

Cinnamon Filling:
70g butter
150g Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
20g ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
80g cream cheese in room temperature
40g butter, very soft
85g confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
pinch of salt

1. Cinnamon Roll Dough: In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt butter, pour in milk, mix well, and set aside.
2. In a medium mixer bowl, combine flour, yeast, and sugar. Add cinnamon and eggs, and continue mixing.
3. Add the melted butter with the milk mixture, blend, and add salt.
4. Continue to knead in the mixer until a uniform and flexible dough is formed (at least 8 minutes).
5. Remove the dough from the mixer, shape it into a dough ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out..
6. Leave in fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Dough will not fully double, that’s fine!
7. Cinnamon Filling: Melt together butter, sugar and cinnamon. Mix well until a paste forms.
8. Grease a round baking pan with butter and preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
9. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface to a size of 30×40 cm (12×16 inches).
10. Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough.
11. Cut the dough into equal long strips about 4-5 cm (1.5-2 inches) wide each. Roll up one strip into a small cinnamon roll and place it in the center of the pan. Around the inner roll, continue to roll the strips so that a giant cinnamon roll is formed. Leave space between the dough and the sides of the pan as the cinnamon roll will continue to expand.
12. Cover the pan with a warm towel and set aside for an additional proofing of 35-40 minutes.
13. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cinnamon roll is puffed and slightly golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
14. Cream Cheese Frosting: Whip the cream cheese with the softened butter, add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and whip until a smooth cream is obtained.
15. I prefer to eat the cinnamon roll warm, so I spread the frosting before it cools completely and serve immediately. You can also wait until the cinnamon roll is completely cooled before spreading the cream and serving.

Love you, dear Epstein family,
Sharon and Gali


  • 18 March 2024

    Your photos are wonderful and the photo set and the recipe also look amazing
    I willback the cake for the coming weekend 🙏
    the background story of the recipe is sad and moving 🥲
    you described such a great tragedy in a very special way.
    our hearts are with the entire State of Israel and we pray that all the kidnappeds will return home and that the wounded will recover and those who were killed or were murdered we will destroy their name forever.
    Sending warm hugs and thank you for everything Sharon🙏♥️

  • 26 March 2024

    Hello! This looks like a funded for Easter morning! Wondering how you would prep this the day before and bake the next morning. Usually with cinnamon rolls I would roll them all out and place in baking dish. Refrig overnight. Next morning do a last proof and bake. Do the same here? thank you!


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