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Honey Bun Cake

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Honey Bun Cake is one of my favorite easy cake recipes. I make the base of the cake using a box of yellow cake mix, then combine light brown sugar, chopped pecans and the all important flavor of ground cinnamon for the filling. Once baked, I like to top the cake with a delicious honey and vanilla glaze.

A white plate with a slice of glazed honey bun cake with honey, the whole cake in the tin and a glass of milk set alongside.


 

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This old-fashioned honey bun cake recipe could not be any easier, only 15 minutes to prepare, then 30 minutes in the oven. A quick cool, then add the glaze and you have a delicious cake, ready to enjoy in just 1 hour. Making this the perfect sweet treat any day of the week.

I love simple cake recipes like this, full of flavor, but without too many complex instructions. Using a box of yellow cake mix really helps with this as it saves time having to weigh out a whole load of dry ingredients. You can find this recipe all over, it’s a classic, but I’ve made a few tweaks, like adding a bit of honey to the glaze.

If you enjoyed this simple honey bun cake recipe, and are looking for more quick and easy cake recipes, then try some of my favorites! My Chocolate Cola Cake, Grapefruit Cake with Glaze, Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, Mini Rum Carrot Cake, Caribbean Rum Cake, or my Jamaican Black Cake.

Honey bun cake ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make the best honey bun cake:

Honey bun cake recipe ingredients in individual bowls.

Cake

  • Yellow cake mix – use any brand.
  • Eggs – use large sized eggs.
  • Vegetable oil – or any other light flavored oil.
  • Sour cream – or substitute Greek yogurt.

Filling

  • Light brown sugar – has a great molasses flavor, you can also use light muscovado sugar.
  • Chopped pecans – chopped extra small to add to the filling.
  • Ground cinnamon

Glaze

  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract – has the best flavor, a good substitution would be vanilla paste. You can use vanilla essence but I tend not to as it doesn’t have the same depth of flavor.
  • Mild honey – a runny honey works best here.
  • Milk – you can use regular or low fat milk.

How to make honey bun cake

Make the cake

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). While the oven is heating up, spray a 13×9-inch pan with a non-stick cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking.

Combine the yellow cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also whisk by hand for about  2-3 minutes, until the batter is well mixed and smooth.

Pour half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula to ensure an even layer.

Add the filling

In a smaller bowl, prepare the filling by mixing the brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cinnamon together until well combined. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in the pan, creating a middle layer with the filling.

Add the remaining cake batter over the filling layer, spreading it evenly with a spatula to cover the filling. The batter will not cover the filling entirely.

Using a butterknife, swirl the batter and the filling to create a marbled effect. This will distribute the filling throughout the cake, creating a swirled pattern in the finished product.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove the cake and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the glaze

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, honey, and milk in a bowl until smooth and well combined. The glaze should be pourable; if it’s too thick, add a bit more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.

Pour the glaze evenly over the top, using a spatula to spread it out.

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, it is ready to be sliced and served. Enjoy your homemade honeybun cake!

A rectangular cake tin filled with honey bun cake with a slice removed.

Expert Tips

These tips will help you make the best honey bun cake you’ve ever tried. 

  • When making the cake batter, if you don’t have an electric hand mixer, a whisk will work just as well.
  • The glaze should be pourable, if its too thick add a little more milk to the mixture.
  • I prefer to let my cake cool for a few minutes before glazing. That ensures that the glaze stays nice and thick rather than melting into the cake. 
  • Don’t be tempted to store the cake in the refrigerator or the cake will dry out too quickly.

Flavor variations!

  • I’ve used a box of yellow cake mix, but you can substitute any other color or flavor of cake mix.
  • Feel free to substitute other nuts in the filling, like chopped walnuts or almonds.
  • For added crunch sprinkle some chopped pecans over the glaze before it sets.
A white plate with a slice of glazed honey bun cake with honey, the whole cake in the tin and a glass of milk set alongside.

How to serve

This cake is delicious served slightly warm or cooled. It’s the perfect treat with your favorite cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of ice cold milk.

How to store

To store: Once baked and cooled, store the cake in an airtight container on the counter top for 3-4 days. The glaze will start to seep into the cake after the first day or so.

To freeze: Once baked and cooled, cut into individual portions, wrapping each portion in plastic wrap. Then place the cake into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freezing the cake like this means you can remove individual portions at a time.

A white plate with a slice of glazed honey bun cake with honey and a glass of milk set alongside.

FAQs

What is honey bun cake?

A honey bun cake is a yellow cake with a brown sugar, pecan and ground cinnamon filling. Once baked the cake is topped with a honey and vanilla glaze.

Does honey bun cake taste of honey?

The cake and filling don’t have any honey added to the mixtures. However, I add honey to the glaze to add the flavor of honey to the cake.

Is honey bun a marble cake?

Yes, I like to swirl the cake batter through the sugar and pecan filling to create a marble like effect once baked.

If you have tried this Honey Bun Cake recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!

A white plate with a slice of glazed honey bun cake with honey, the whole cake in the tin and a glass of milk set alongside.
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5 from 1 vote

Honey Bun Cake

Honey Bun Cake is an easy cake recipe. The yellow cake base is topped with a filling of light brown sugar, chopped pecans and the all important flavor of ground cinnamon. Once baked pour over a delicious honey and vanilla glaze.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy cake recipe, easy honey bun cake, old-fashioned honey bun cake, simple honey bun cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16
Calories 320kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

Cake

  • 13.25 oz box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz sour cream

Filling

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp mild honey
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). While the oven is heating up, spray a 13×9-inch pan with a non-stick cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking.
  • Combine the yellow cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also whisk by hand for about  2-3 minutes, until the batter is well mixed and smooth.
  • Pour half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula to ensure an even layer.

Filling

  • In a smaller bowl, prepare the filling by mixing the brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cinnamon together until well combined. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in the pan, creating a middle layer with the filling.
  • Add the remaining cake batter over the filling layer, spreading it evenly with a spatula to cover the filling. The batter will not cover the filling entirely.
  • Using a butterknife, swirl the batter and the filling to create a marbled effect. This will distribute the filling throughout the cake, creating a swirled pattern in the finished product.
  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove the cake and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.

Glaze

  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, honey, and milk in a bowl until smooth and well combined. The glaze should be pourable; if it's too thick, add a bit more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
  • Pour the glaze evenly over the top, using a spatula to spread it out.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, it is ready to be sliced and served. Enjoy your homemade honeybun cake!

Suggested Tools

13×9-inch cake pan
Non-stick cooking spray
1 Large mixing bowl
2 Small mixing bowls
Electric hand mixer or whisk
spatula
Toothpick
Butterknife

Notes

  • I prefer to let my cake cool for a few minutes before glazing. That ensures that the glaze stays nice and thick rather than melting into the cake. 
  • Feel free to substitute other nuts in the filling, like chopped walnuts or almonds.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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