Honey Bun Cake Recipe

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Honey bun cake is so easy to make, so delicious to taste, and it will knock the socks off of family and friends you make it for!

Honey Bun Cake

You know, I hate to be one of those people who tell you that your life has been void because you’ve never tried a certain food or recipe but today I’m going to be that person. Yes, folks, if you’ve never had honey bun cake, you really have been missing out. Not only is this cake version of that decadent snack treat possibly even better than its namesake, but it’s also easy as can be to make and will impress the socks off whoever you cook it for. So only cook it for folks you don’t mind being barefoot in your house.

If you’re new to the honey bun cake world, let me fill you in on what it entails. First, you’ve got the yellow cake, which is topped with cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans, and honey. How delicious and flavorful does that sound? But wait, there’s more! Once you bake the cake, you add a simple vanilla glaze on top. Yep, this cake recipe is sweet, moist, and absolutely irresistible.

If you like cinnamon rolls or coffee cake, you’re going to love honey bun cake!

Ok now, let’s bake! 😄

Ingredients for Honey Bun Cake

Recipe Ingredients

  • A box of yellow cake mix (if you want to make your yellow cake from scratch, here’s my homemade yellow cake recipe).
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Oil
  • Brown sugar (I prefer dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar will totally work).
  • Honey
  • Chopped pecans
  • Cinnamon
  • Confectioner’s sugar 

How to Make A Honey Bun Cake

Place cake ingredients in bowl and mix well.

Place all of the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined and no lumps remain, about two minutes. 

Pour cake batter into pan.

Pour the cake batter into a greased cake pan. I just spray mine with some cooking spray. Isn’t this a pretty picture, though?

Stir together sugar, cinnamon and pecans for topping.

Now take your brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans and stir them together really well.

Autocorrect changed that to “eerily well” and I almost let it stay like that just to make y’all wonder 😉.

Sprinkle topping over cake batter.

Sprinkle every bit of this goodness over the top of your honey bun cake.

Adding Honey to Honey Bun Cake

Drizzle honey over the top of this cinnamon mixture.

Just kinda however it happens to go on is fine, but try to drizzle it over most of the top hither and yon.

Swirl honey over topping with knife.

Take a butter knife and swirl the honey in just a little bit. 

Y’all, seriously, this cake is so easy and so good!

Honey bun cake going into oven.

Tada! Bake this at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Glaze ingredients.

Look at that gorgeous honey bun cake! Let it cool for about ten minutes or so and then we’re gonna mix up our glaze.

Mix glaze ingredients together and pour over warm cake.

Stir together the milk, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. The ideal consistency here is about like Elmer’s glue.

Slice removed from cake in pan.

Drizzle over still warm cake and then cut yourself a piece! Yes, you can eat this after it has cooled but it is a crying shame not to have a slice of honey bun cake while it’s warm.

Slice of honey bun cake.

Best enjoyed with people you love and a good cup of your favorite hot beverage.


  • When stored in an airtight container, leftover cake will last at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the fridge for up to 6 days.
  • You can also store leftovers tightly wrapped or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying cold or warm (quickly reheat in the microwave).

Recipe Notes

  • While I prefer yellow cake, you can use any type of box cake mix for this recipe.
  • Don’t follow the instructions on the back of the boxed cake mix! We’re making our own rules today.
  • For a chocolate honey bun cake, substitute the yellow cake mix for chocolate cake and then top it with a creamy chocolate frosting.
  • If you want to try something different, substitute the pecans in the cake topping for mini chocolate chips, walnuts, or your favorite dried fruit.

Recipe FAQs

What type of honey do you use?

Now you could go all out and get yourself some Manuka honey, which is delicious. Otherwise, just get whatever you like from your grocery. My friend, Tom, is a beekeeper and I get my honey from him. I have to keep it hidden in a cabinet so I don’t eat it all at once. If you are curious what type of honey pastry chefs use, and I mean who wouldn’t be curious, check out this post on brands of honey.

Honey Bun Cake

Honey bun cake is the cake version of its snack cake counterpart - and quite possibly even more delicious! See how easy this is to make.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake
Servings: 4
Calories: 394kcal


  • 1 box plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar I prefer dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans


  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl, place all the cake ingredients together and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
    1 box plain yellow cake mix, 1 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 4 large eggs
  • Spread the cake batter into a greased 9x13 pan.
  • Stir together the dry filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the cake batter. Drizzle honey over the pecan mixture. Pull a knife through batter to swirl filling into it.
    1/4 cup honey, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until it tests done.
  • Stir together the glaze ingredients until there aren't any lumps. Drizzle over the warm cake.
    2 cups confectioner's sugar, 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Calories: 394kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

You may also like these recipes with honey:

Fresh Fruit Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing

Banana Brownies (with Quick Peanut Butter Honey Icing)

Honey Ramen Snack Mix

Honey Lime Chicken Crunchy Goodness

“If you don’t have the time to do it right, you don’t have the time to do it over.” 

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  1. 5 stars
    I have made honeybun cakes for yrs. This one with the adding nuts and honey to the brown sugar and cinnamon , putting on top of cake instead of in the middle, will be my only honeybun from now on. So pretty with the swirl. I use a vanilla cake mix (just my preference) and think I will add more glaze next time. But another KEEPER from Southern Plate

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night, it was super easy and quick. Smelled delicious while baking. I’ve had it with my coffee this morning and will definitely make again. Thanks Christy

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