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This delicious Honey Bun Cake is simple to make thanks to the box of yellow cake mix and a few ingredients that make it taste ‘homemade’. If you love those iconic Little Debbie Honey Bun Snack Cakes then this easy cake recipe is a must-make!

For another fun recipe made from Little Debbie snacks be sure and also make my Zebra Cake Balls

Overhead pic of the cake cut into slices.

Honey Bun Cake Recipe (Boxed Cake Mix Hack)

This super easy and simple cake recipe tastes like a mix between Cinnamon Rolls and a cinnamon coffee cake! It’s the best of both worlds and with only a few minutes of prep time this cake is ready to bake in about 5 minutes. 

Starts with a doctored up moist buttery yellow cake mix filled with a layer of cinnamon sugar in the middle, and a sweet vanilla glaze over top. Tastes just like those Little Debbie snack cakes that everyone loves!

Slice of cake with one fork bite taken out the front.

Simple Ingredients Needed To Make This Easy Cake Recipe

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Ground Cinnamon

Honey Bun Cake Batter

  • Yellow Butter Cake Mix : This is labeled differently depending on the brand used like golden butter cake mix, and butter recipe yellow. Make sure you are using a cake mix with the words ‘butter’ and ‘yellow’ in it. 
  • Sour Cream : I recommend using full fat sour cream for the best taste and texture. 
  • Canola Oil
  • Large Eggs

Simple Vanilla Glaze

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk : It’s best to use a higher fat milk like half and half or heavy cream. 2% milk or whole milk are other great options too. If using a higher fat milk (like heavy cream) you will need to use more of it in order to get a durable consistency. 
  • Vanilla Extract : I always recommend using pure vanilla extract for all baking. 
Labeled ingredients

How To Make Easy Honey Bun Cake (Full Recipe Card Below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined. Set aside for later. 

Process Images for this cake recipe.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer or spatula, stir together the cake mix, sour cream, oil, and eggs until well combined. 

Process Images for this cake recipe.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. 

Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over top the cake batter. 

Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cake batter all over top the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread it very carefully (if needed) to cover the cinnamon layer. 

Process Images for this cake recipe.

Bake for 32-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

While the cake is baking whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. 

Process Images for this cake recipe.

Pour the vanilla glaze over top the warm cake. Let it cool inside the pan until the glaze has set. Eat warm or at room temperature. 

Process Images for this cake recipe.
Process Images for this cake recipe.
Process Images for this cake recipe.

How To Store Leftovers Of This Honeybun Cake Recipe

Because of the milk in the glaze, the leftovers need to be stored in the fridge, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. Warm up leftovers in the microwave or eat it chilled from the fridge, or bring it to room temperature.

If you would rather store leftovers at room temperature (I prefer this cake at room temperature) then I recommend using canned evaporated milk in the glaze instead of chilled milk.

Final baked cake with a glaze on top.

Can I Use a Different Cake Mix?

Although I only recommend using a buttery yellow cake mix you can use a regular yellow cake mix if wanted. The buttery yellow cake mix has a better flavor than regular yellow cake mix. You could also use a white cake mix as well. 

Final baked cake with a glaze on top.

Tips For Success

  • Glazing Tip : The cake should bake up fairly flat on top but there may be some dips and ridges. The cake should definitely not sink in the middle, which means that it was not cooked thoroughly. Pour the glaze over top the cake and use a rubber spatula to spread it out all over the cake. If it is pooling up in one area just keep spreading it out until it starts to set. I also like to take a toothpick and poke holes all over the top of the cake before I drizzle the glaze over. The small holes just help some of the glaze settle down into the cake. 
  • Spreading The Second Cake Batter Layer Over The Cinnamon : I like to take a large spoon and drizzle the cake batter all over top the cinnamon layer. It takes longer to do it this way, but I found it’s the best way to get that distinctive layer of cinnamon sugar between the two cake layers. You can also take the batter and pour it all over the top of the cinnamon layer rather than in just one spot in the center of the pan. A plastic spoon is another great spreading tool. If you don’t care about the middle layer of cinnamon then just dump all the cake batter into the pan and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over top. Take a table knife and drag it through to create swirls. Then bake as directed. 
  • Toothpick Test : Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to ensure that it comes out dry, or with moist crumbs, so you can make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. If the cake is not cooked all the way through it will sink in the middle as it cools. 
  • Less Sweet Cake : Reduce the light brown sugar in the cinnamon sugar mixture to 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup. 
  • Serving : I prefer to let this cake cool at room temperature for the glaze to set and the cake to cool. I serve it at room temperature. 
Cake cut into slices with a glaze over top.

More Cake Mix Desserts To Try

Overhead pic of the cake cut into slices.
Together As Family Logo

Honey Bun Cake


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 15
This delicious Honey Bun Cake is simple to make thanks to the box of yellow cake mix and a few ingredients that make it taste 'homemade'. If you love those iconic Little Debbie Honey Bun Snack Cakes then this easy cake recipe is a must-make!

Ingredients
  

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Honey Bun Cake Batter

  • 1 box (15.25 oz) butter yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

Simple Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 
  • Cinnamon Sugar Mixture : In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined. Set aside for later. 
    1 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Honey Bun Cake Batter : In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer or spatula, stir together the cake mix, sour cream, oil, and eggs until well combined. 
    1 box (15.25 oz) butter yellow cake mix, 1 cup full-fat sour cream, 3/4 cup canola oil, 4 large eggs
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over top the cake batter. 
  • Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cake batter all over top the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread it very carefully to cover the cinnamon layer. 
    * Try to drop the cake batter out all over the pan so that you don't have to spread it too much. I have found that a plastic spoon is the easiest way to gently spread the batter over top the cinnamon sugar layer without mixing it up.
  • Bake for 32-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
    * The cake should look puffy, the edges will be set and slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan, and the the top of the cake should be golden brown.
  • While the cake is baking whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. 
    2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup whole milk or half and half, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pour the vanilla glaze over top the warm cake. Let it cool inside the pan until the glaze has set and the cake has cooled to room temperature.
    * I prefer serving the cake at room temperature after it has cooled and the glaze has set. About 1-2 hours.
    * If wanted, use a toothpick to poke several holes all over top the cake before pouring the glaze over the cake. This just helps some of the glaze sink into the cake. I do this when I make this cake.

Notes

Storing Leftovers : Because of the milk in the glaze, the leftovers need to be stored in the fridge, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. Warm up leftovers in the microwave or eat it chilled from the fridge, or bring it to room temperature. If you would rather store leftovers at room temperature (I prefer this cake at room temperature) then I recommend using canned evaporated milk in the glaze instead of chilled milk
Glazing Tip : The cake should bake up fairly flat on top but there may be some dips and ridges. The cake should definitely not sink in the middle, which means that it was not cooked thoroughly. Pour the glaze over top the cake and use a rubber spatula to spread it out all over the cake. If it is pooling up in one area just keep spreading it out until it starts to set. I also like to take a toothpick and poke holes all over the top of the cake before I drizzle the glaze over. The small holes just help some of the glaze settle down into the cake. 
Spreading The Second Cake Batter Layer Over The Cinnamon : I like to take a large spoon and drizzle the cake batter all over top the cinnamon layer. It takes longer to do it this way, but I found it’s the best way to get that distinctive layer of cinnamon sugar between the two cake layers. You can also take the batter and pour it all over the top of the cinnamon layer rather than in just one spot in the center of the pan. A plastic spoon is another great spreading tool. If you don’t care about the middle layer of cinnamon then just dump all the cake batter into the pan and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over top. Take a table knife and drag it through to create swirls. Then bake as directed.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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