It consists of a rolled sheet of yeast-leavened dough onto which a cinnamon and sugar mixture (and raisins or other ingredients in some cases) is sprinkled over a thin coat of butter. The dough is then rolled, cut into individual portions, and baked or deep fried. In North America, cinnamon rolls are frequently topped with icing (usually confectioners’ sugar based) or a glaze. In Northern Europe, nib sugar is usually used with a glaze instead of icing. Commonly in North America, these rolls are fried, glazed, and served as a variation of a raised donut.
In Sweden, the country of its presumed origin, the cinnamon roll takes the name of kanelbulle (literally: „cinnamon bun”), and October 4 has more recently started to be promoted as „kanelbullens dag” (Cinnamon Roll Day). Swedish kanelbulle dough typically also contains cardamom (powder or buds), giving it a distinctive flavour. A German variety originating in Hamburg and its surroundings is the Franzbrötchen, a cinnamon pastry inspired by the non-cinnamon French croissant.