This homemade Honey Bun Cake recipe is a deliciously rich and moist cake that’s loaded with brown sugar and cinnamon flavor. Topped with a sweet and sticky vanilla glaze, this cake is the perfect combination of a cinnamon swirl cake and classic poke cake!
Honey Bun Cake Recipe
If you love the flavors of honey buns, you’re going to love this recipe because it has all those same flavors but in cake form. Perfect served as a coffee cake with a hot cup of coffee for brunch or with a glass of warm milk for dessert, this recipe will definitely become a family favorite!
And the best part is this Honey Bun Cake is one of those recipes that’s an absolutely amazing semi-made dessert that starts with a cake mix but will taste just like you made it from scratch!
Why We Love this Recipe
- Cake-mix hack: This delicious cake is made with a boxed cake mix and just a few other simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
- Layers of flavor: A sweet cinnamon-sugar mixture bakes between layers of light and fluffy cake. Then a simple vanilla glaze is poured over the top of the cake for the perfect finishing touch! It has layers of yummy goodness!
- Always a crowd pleaser: This cake is awesome any time of year and for just about any occasion. Whether it’s dessert for a backyard BBQ or served as a sweet treat during the holiday seasons, this is one everyone will rave over.
- Large mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- Baking pan
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
What’s Needed to Make a Delicious Honey Bun Cake
- Yellow cake mix-you can use a homemade yellow cake recipe if you prefer
- Oil-use a light tasting oil like canola oil
- Eggs-we use large eggs for this recipe
- Sour cream- full fat sour works best
- Brown sugar-we use light brown, but you can use dark if that’s what you have on hand
- Pecans-chopped then measured
- Ground cinnamon
- Powdered sugar
- Milk-whole milk is preferred
- Vanilla extract-use a good quality, real extract
How to Make Honeybun Cake
Step One: Prepare the cake batter
- Heat oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 baking dish or cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the box of yellow cake mix, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, eggs and sour cream then mix until combined.
Step Two: Create first layer
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
Step Three: Make cinnamon sugar layer
- In small bowl, stir together the cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans until combined.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture on top of the batter that’s in the dish, covering the entire layer of batter.
- Pour rest of the cake batter on top of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Spread to cover the top.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the honey bun cake is baking, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer combine confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
Step Four: Finishing the cake
- Once cake is out of the oven, make holes in the top of the hot cake with the tines of a fork or the back of a wooden spoon.
- Spread vanilla glaze frosting over warm cake and let set. Serve and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Add-ins and Variations
- Cake mix: Yellow cake box mix will give you the closest flavors of a honey bun, but you can use white cake mix or even a spice cake mix.
- Sugar glaze: This cake has an icing that is a cross between a heavy glaze and a frosting. The warm cake makes the icing seep in more like a glaze. If you want more of a frosting, just allow the cake to cool completely without poking holes in it. You can also use a cream cheese or butter cream frosting for this cake.
- Extracts: You can use any of your favorite extracts. We used vanilla, but you can use a little bit of butter or almond extract.
- Nuts: Actual honey buns don’t have pecans in them. But we love the added texture they provide this cake. You can use walnuts instead of pecans or even omit them if you prefer.
Tips for Making the Best Honey Bun Cake
- Always start with room temperature ingredients. It helps the cake batter blend to a smoother consistency.
- To ensure you have a light and fluffy cake, avoid over mixing. Over mixing will cause the cake to be denser.
- If your cakes tend to make unevenly, try rotating them halfway through baking. Just be careful but to bump it while moving it.
- This cake tends to be even better the next day after making it. This allows times for the glaze and other flavors to really seep into the cake. Making it the night before would be a great idea if you have the time to plan ahead.
Can I Freeze this Cake?
You sure can! You’ll want to make sure the whole cake, or individual cake slices, are wrapped well with plastic wrap before placing them in the freezer. For best results the cake should be eaten within 3 months from freezing. To thaw, allow it to sit overnight in the fridge.
Can I Make this Cake in a Bundt Pan?
Yes, you sure can! You’ll need a 10” bundt pan. The cooking time will vary but check for doneness when an inserted toothpick in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
You can also make this recipe into cupcakes, by layering the batter just like you do when making the full-size cake.
More Recipes for Cake Mix Cakes?
- Copycat Nothing Bundt Cake
- Lime Jello Poke Cake
- Banana Pudding Poke Cake
- Pig Pickin Cake
- Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bundt Cake
Honey Bun Cake
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350°F
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In bowl of an electric mixer combine cake mix, oil, eggs and sour cream with and mix until combined. Pour about half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
- In small mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans until combined. Sprinkle butter and nut mixture on top of the batter that is in the dish, covering the batter.
- Pour remaining half of the batter on top of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Spread to cover the top.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
- While cake is baking, make the frosting.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer combine confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
- Once cake is out of the oven, make holes in the cake with the tines of a fork or the back of a wooden spoon. Spread frosting over warm cake and let set.
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