A yellow cake mix gets transformed with a few ingredients and a brown-sugar-and-spice swirl to make this honey bun cake anything but ordinary. The vanilla glaze simply takes this old-fashioned cake over the top.
Bundt cakes will forever remind me of my Nana. Not because she made a ton of bundt cakes, but because – in my mind – bundt cakes are a bit retro.
Don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces and have definitely made my fair share of them over the years. From chocolate bundt cake to whipping cream cake to my pumpkin bundt cake, let’s just say I get good use out of my bundt pan.
One bundt cake I do remember Nana making was a honey bun cake, although she usually called it cinnamon coffee cake, and it was mighty delicious.
The first time I made it for Eric, he said it looked like a cake his own grandma used to make! I’m telling ya, nothing evokes the memories of Grandma more than bundt cakes and cinnamon.
WHAT IS HONEY BUN CAKE?
A honey bun cake is a moist, yellow cake that has a brown sugar and cinnamon center and a vanilla glaze on top.
Many honey bun cakes are made as a sheet cake, but my nana made hers in a bundt pan, so that’s how I always make it!
To be honest, I don’t really know why it’s called a honey bun cake – it doesn’t actually have any honey in it!
What I do know is that it’s delicious and the great thing is that it’s super simple to make.
HOW TO MAKE HONEY BUN CAKE?
Like Nana’s pumpkin crunch cake, this honey bun cake starts with a yellow cake mix – not that anyone would ever guess!
Ingredients you’ll need
In addition to one 15.25-ounce yellow cake mix, you will need:
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons vanilla coffee creamer
If you are out of sour cream, you can easily substitute plain Greek yogurt.
I like using pumpkin pie spice in the center of this cake because I enjoy the mix of spices paired with the brown sugar. If you are out of pumpkin pie spice, you can feel free to substitute ground cinnamon.
I drink a lot of coffee so I always have vanilla coffee creamer around, and it happens to make a great shortcut ingredient for making simple glazes. If you don’t have any coffee creamer, you can swap in 3 tablespoons of whole milk, half-and-half, or cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead.
Making this recipe
Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan and set it aside.
Using an electric mixer, mix together the cake mix, oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate bowl stir together the brown sugar with the pumpkin pie spice.
Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the cake batter, then top with the rest of the cake batter. Use a skewer or chopstick to swirl the brown sugar mixture into the batter.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cake has cooled, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and the coffee creamer and drizzle it evenly over the cake.
I think this cake is best in the first 24 hours after you make it, but it can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. Note that the glaze may absorb into the cake after the first day or so.
You can freeze individual slices of honey bun cake by wrapping them in a layer of plastic wrap and storing them in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to a month.
To thaw, unwrap and microwave a slice of cake for 30-60 seconds and enjoy.
Honey Bun Cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
- Spoon half the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture onto the cake batter and top with remaining half of batter. Use a skewer to swirl the brown sugar layer into batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and allow the cake to thoroughly cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cake is completely cool, prepare the icing. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla coffee creamer and drizzle over the cake.
- You can substitute the vanilla coffee creamer for 4 tablespoons milk and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
- Cake is best in the first 24 hours, but can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.