Honey Bun Cake

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 CakeClassic Coconut Cake and the dark horse non-cake but still “cake” Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Honey Bun 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
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Easy Honey Bun CakeMost 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.

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:

This recipe is best served during a brunch gathering, so recipes like Breakfast CasseroleQuiche LorraineFrench Toast or Classic Egg Salad and Classic Chicken Salad sandwiches.

Homemade Honey Bun Cake

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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.
4.89 from 9 votes

Honey Bun Cake (No Cake Mix!)

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.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword honey bun cake, Honey Bun Cake (Cake Mix & Homemade Recipes!)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 454 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


Yellow 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

Vanilla Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with baking spray.
  2. 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.

  3. Pour 1/2 of the batter in the bottom of the baking pan and spread.

  4. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans and sprinkle over the cake batter in the baking pan.

  5. Add in the remaining half of the batter carefully and bake for 45 minutes until the top is just golden brown.

  6. 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.

Nutrition Facts
Honey Bun Cake (No Cake Mix!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 454 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 36mg2%
Potassium 207mg6%
Carbohydrates 83g28%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 63g70%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 210IU4%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 101mg10%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Classic Honey Bun Cake

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I did the butter over oil substitute, which tasted really good I don’t know if that took the HB Flavor away?, It didn’t taste like a Honey bun, it was more like Coffee Cake. I baked at 350 for 40 minutes next time I think 30 or 35 would be better. Regardless it was a hit at my house. Thank you..

  2. Hi! I made this recipe once before with a few of my own substitutions and it came out amazing!

    I was just curious though, am I able to freeze this and ship to a friend? Or would it ruin the cake after it thaws?

    1. You can freeze this cake for up to 3 months. My only recommendation is to wait to add the icing until after it thaws. I hope this helps!

  3. I’ve made this twice now, it’s amazing! I absolutely love honey bun cake, what I don’t like is the artificial taste of them when you buy them at the grocery store.
    I baked mine for 35 minutes ( I think it’s time to have the oven calibrated).
    I did find the frosting to be rather thick so I thinned mine out.
    The first cake was for work, this one is going to Lighthouse Ministries, they feed people in need three times a day, and who couldn’t use some extra comfort? The last cake went to the AA meeting hall, I’ve been trying to find a way to give back to the community and I’ve found it in baking amazing recipes like this and sharing!
    Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  4. Is it supposed to be 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks or just 2 egg yolks? Ingredients are different from instructions.

  5. Can’t wait to make this for our Sunday school class. So glad no cake mix is used. Everything I bake is from scratch. So much better for us without all the artificial stuff.

  6. Delicious and EASY to make… however next time I make I’m going to pur half of the cake mixture and maybe swirl the brown sugar into the cake mix… my brown sugar middle kind of sunk and toward the bottom of the pan and less cake mixture.. And for the icing only use 1tsp of vanilla extract unless you like vanilla!!! But other than this this is great…. Will definitely make this again…

  7. This looks so good! Does elevation play into this? I’m finding many recipes don’t turn out right regardless of following the recipe to the T.

    1. Yes, it will be fine for a bundt pan but you’ll want to follow the traditional cook time using that pan. No need to double it.

  8. I made this last night for my kids. They liked it a lot. The icing was a little too thin so next time I’ll only do 2 tbsp of milk instead of 3. It had a coffee cake texture and was very tasty. I’ll make this again. Thank you.

  9. Absolutely wonderful. I didn’t have powdered sugar for the icing so had to substitute. 1 tsp of cornstarch for each cup of sugar blended in a bullet blender. Can’t use a food processor for this. It turned out great. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Did you change any of the ingredients or methods? If you would like to troubleshoot I would be happy to discuss it further. Email me at contact @ dev.dinnerthendessert.com

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