Honey Bun Cake

published Mar 9, 2022
Honey Bun Cake Recipe

If you're a fan of Little Debbie snacks, you'll fall for this take on a classic.

Serves10 to 12

Makes1 (9x13-inch) cake

Prep10 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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a square piece of honey bun cake cut out of a large sheet pan cake
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Little Debbie snacks are iconic treats that immediately take many of us back to childhood. Their soft and golden Honey Buns are no exception. These pastry swirls feature hints of cinnamon, a touch of honey, and a light glaze. This honey bun cake mimics all the ooey-gooey flavors of this favorite snack in one 9×13-inch pan.

What Is a Honey Bun Cake?

A honey bun cake is a cinnamon-laced cake that is typically prepared using a yellow cake mix and topped with a thin layer of icing. It’s meant to mimic the taste of a Little Debbie Honey Bun pastry.

Interestingly enough, many honey bun cakes don’t actually contain any honey. Because the original inspiration claims to have a touch of honey in their recipe, we decided to add a bit to our version as well. Adding honey to the glaze helps thin out the powdered sugar while also adding flavor. This honey bun cake is served by cutting into squares to reveal the layer of cinnamon sugar that cuts through the center of the cake.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Honey Bun Cake Substitutions

If you prefer to bake from scratch, it’s possible to make this honey bun cake without using a cake mix. Instead, replace the box of yellow cake mix with 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon baking powder. You can also add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract to the cake batter, if you like.

How to Serve Honey Bun Cake

Honey bun cake lives in that delicious world where it is certainly sweet enough to enjoy as a dessert, but also just happens to taste great with coffee, making it an appealing breakfast treat as well.

Honey Bun Cake Recipe

If you're a fan of Little Debbie snacks, you'll fall for this take on a classic.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Makes 1 (9x13-inch) cake

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info


  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box

    yellow cake mix

  • 8 ounces

    sour cream

  • 3/4 cup

    canola or vegetable oil

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 2 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    vanillla extract


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

  2. Place 1 cup packed dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  3. Place 1 box yellow cake mix, 8 ounces sour cream, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, and 4 large eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

  4. Carefully spoon the remaining cake batter over the sugar layer and spread it evenly to the edges of the pan.

  5. Bake until lightly browned around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. About 5 minutes before the cake is ready, prepare the glaze.

  6. Place 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in up to 1 tablespoon more milk if needed to thin out until pourable.

  7. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake and spread into an even layer with a flexible spatula. Let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour, before cutting into squares and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake can also be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.