Honey Bun Cake with no cake mix, tastes like the classic yellow honey bun cake with brown sugar filling topped with rich icing made famous by Betty Crocker that you loved as a kid growing up.
This cake is winning the war for best Easter cake out there right now against the other heavy contenders including Ultimate Carrot Cake (with Carrot Cake Jam), Classic Carrot Cake, Classic Coconut Cake and the dark horse non-cake but still “cake” Flourless Chocolate Cake.
Honey Bun Cake
Honey Bun Cake reminds me of the classic American convenience store honey bun pastries that were like cinnamon rolls in a pinch.
I also used to be able to buy them in the student store in junior high school. I don’t even know why, but the flavors are so nostalgic that as I was browsing through Pinterest, I felt a pressing need to make this sheet cake right away. Speaking of which I recreated another junior high favorite, Frito Pie and it is even better than the nostalgia I remember as a kid.
Most Honey Bun Cake pins on Pinterest use a cake mix as the main ingredient. While I love my Boxed Cake Mix Hack: Tastes like you paid $6 a slice! I wanted to use a cake from scratch for this cake. With extra egg yolks in the cake to help bring out that classic yellow cake color, this cake has the most amazing flavor.
Want to make the classic cake mix honey bun cake? I’m happy to share the original I recreated the homemade version from:
Cake Mix Honey Bun Cake Recipe
- 1 box Betty Crocker yellow cake mix
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray.
- Using an electric mixer, mix together the cake mix, oil, eggs and sour cream until well combined, then pour half of it into the pan.
- Whisk together the pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle the sugar mixture all over the cake batter then gently spoon over the remaining batter evenly and bake for 45 minutes.
- When the cake comes out prick the top with a fork 15 or so times, then whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and pour it over the warm cake.
Most glazes were also pretty thin in the recipes I saw so I used my thick glaze recipe to provide that same texture and consistency found on the classic Honey Bun pastry. I have to say after testing it out both ways, I’m pretty satisfied with this layer of delicious powdered sugar glaze.
The brown sugar filling is another important part of this cake you absolutely cannot skip. Whether or not you make my homemade version below or the classic boxed mix version above you have to make sure there is a delicious molten brown sugar filling through the middle of your buttery cake.
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Tips for Honey Bun Cake Mix:
- If using a cake mix make sure to use yellow cake, the extra egg adds richness to the cake.
- Try not to replace too much of the vegetable oil with applesauce in this cake, the texture will become too fluffy and unlike the classic Honey Bun texture.
- Light sour cream is an acceptable spot to reduce fat and calories in the cake
Honey Bun Cake with no cake mix, tastes like the classic honey buns you loved as a kid and like your favorite yellow cake growing up. Perfect for brunch and holiday parties.
What to serve with Honey Bun Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
Brown Sugar Pecan Filling:
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/3 cup pecans chopped
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with baking spray.
- In your stand mixer, mix the softened butter, sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs until fully combined and lightened then add in the flour, sugar and baking powder on low speed.
- Pour ½ of the batter in the bottom of the baking pan and spread.
- In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans and sprinkle over the cake batter in the baking pan.
- Add in the remaining half of the batter carefully and bake for 45 minutes until the top is just golden brown.
- Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, poke the cake with a fork 10-15 times and and pour over the cake then let cool completely.