This easy Honey Bun Cake is sweet, tangy, and has a delicious brown sugar crumble center with a creamy glaze for the perfect finishing touch!

Close up of a slice of serving of honey bun cake sitting on a white round plate with metal fork.

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Easy Honey Bun Cake Recipe

This Honey Bun cake recipe is essentially a doctored yellow cake (and you know we loved doctored cake mix around here!).

It reminds me of a cinnamon coffee cake that has been turned into a decadent dessert. It is moist, sweet, and really simple to make when you use a yellow cake mix. While it may technically be a cake, I actually do enjoy a slice of honey bun for breakfast. Sometimes you just need something sweet to start the day! 

Little Debbie Snacks made the first Honey Bun Cakes. They’re a type of fried yeast pastry with a cinnamon swirl and icing glaze. While the cakes never actually contained honey, they are pretty sticky-sweet, just like honey.

Instead, the cake features a yellow cake mix, eggs, oil, and yogurt, which cuts through some of the sweetness. A brown sugar and cinnamon crumble filling bakes into the crust and a powdered sugar glaze is the perfect finishing touch. 

Honey Bun cakes are traditionally topped with pecans, but you can skip the nuts if preferred. You could also add some honey-roasted peanuts to the top of the cake. These would add a little crunch and get some of the namesake honey into the recipe!

No matter the topping, this honeybun cake is an easy, delicious, crowd-pleasing recipe. I think you’ll like my homemade version even better than the original!

Slice of honey bun cake sitting on a metal spatula, lifted out of the baking dish.

Ingredients for Honey Bun Cake

To print: see recipe card below

Ingredients to make honey bun cake batter.
Ingredients to make honey bun cake icing.
  • 1 (15-ounce) box yellow cake mix – Any brand of cake mix will work, but I love Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake. You can find it in most grocery stores and it is definitely flavorful and sweet. 
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil – Vegetable oil or canola oil will work. You can even use melted coconut oil to add a subtle tropical taste. 
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than other types of yogurt. Use full-fat varieties for the richest taste.
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar – Dark brown sugar forms the base of the crumble cake center. Dark brown sugar has a richer flavor than light brown sugar.
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans – Buy pre-chopped pecans to help save time in the kitchen. You can usually find small bags of pecans in the baking aisle that are also pre-measured! 


  • Replace the Greek yogurt with the same quantity of sour cream. This will give the honey bun an extra tangy taste that you may love. 
  • Use white cake mix to make a lighter-colored cake. The sweet flavor will still be there, but the cake will be a little less rich. 
  • Add ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg to the cinnamon crumble. This will make the cake a little spicier and perfect for the fall and winter. 
  • Try baking this honey bun cake recipe into muffins. Line a muffin tin with paper cups and divide the batter between the paper liners. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar into the muffin cups, and swirl it in with a knife. Bake the honey bun muffins for 20-25 minutes. Then, add the vanilla glaze to the warm muffins, and enjoy!

Directions for How to Make Honey Bun Cake

  1. Prep your equipment: Preheat the oven to 325ºF, and grease a 9×13 cake pan. Set the pan aside while you make the cake batter. 
  2. Make the cake batter: Whisk the cake mix, eggs, oil, and yogurt together in a large bowl until the batter is smooth. You can use a hand mixer, but a handheld whisk works just fine! Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the greased cake pan. 
  3. Make the crumble filling: Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter in the cake pan. Try to cover the entire cake with the cinnamon sprinkle.
  4. Spread the batter: Pour the rest of the batter into the cake pan and spread it over the cinnamon sugar, covering it completely. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the batter, making cinnamon swirls throughout the cake. 
  5. Bake the cake: Bake the honey bun cake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the baked cake cool in the pan while you make the frosting. 
  6. Make the frosting: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Then, spread the glaze over the top of the warm honey bun cake while it’s warm. This is key to creating the crisp texture we want!
  7. Serve: Sprinkle the top with pecans. Then, allow the glaze to set, slice the cake, and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Honey bun cake is delicious as a standalone sweet treat or dessert. However, you can also enjoy it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

It also goes down easily as a sweet snack with your favorite warm beverage such as hot chocolate or coffee.  

Close up image of a serving of honey bun cake cut into with a silver fork to show the cross section.

How to Store + Freeze Honey Bun Cake

  • Store leftover cake at room temperature for up to three days. To keep it fresh, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and transfer it to a sealable bag.
  • Freeze Honey Bun cake for up to three months. Thaw the cake at room temperature when you’re ready to serve.

Quick Tip

  • You might know this recipe as a Sticky Buns cake. Honey Buns and sticky buns are essentially the same things. Both are a sweet, breakfast bread made with cinnamon and sugar.
  • This recipe is a twist on the classic sticky bun. Now, you can have your favorite treat for breakfast or dessert!
A slice of honey bun cake being lifted from a dish.

Honey Bun Cake

This easy Honey Bun Cake is sweet, tangy, and has a delicious brown sugar crumble center with a creamy glaze for the perfect finishing touch!
No ratings yet
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 9×13 baking dish
  • 3 Mixing Bowsl



  • 1 (15 ounce) box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9×13 cake pan with baking spray. Set the pan aside for now.
  • Add the vanilla cake mix, eggs, oil, and Greek yogurt to a large bowl and whisk everything together well, making a smooth, thick batter.
    1 (15 ounce) box of yellow cake mix, 4 eggs, ¾ cup vegetable oil, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the greased cake pan and spread it across the bottom of the pan.
  • In a separate small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mix over the cake batter in the pan, covering the cake batter evenly.
    1 cup dark brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Gently spread the remaining cake batter in the pan, layering it on top of the cinnamon sugar sprinkle.
  • Use a butter knife to gently swirl the cinnamon sugar crumble into the cake batter. You want to just run the knife through the batter once or twice, making a nice, simple swirl. You do not want to stir it too much.
  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The center of the cake should spring back to the touch and the edges of the cake will be pulled away from the sides of the pan.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and keep it in the pan while you make the frosting.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, whole milk and vanilla extract. Pour the frosting over the hot cake and spread it across the whole surface of the cake.
    2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup whole milk, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped pecans, if using, then slice and serve while the cake is nice and warm.
    ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)


You can also bake this honey bun cake in a bundt pan. Grease and flour a bundt pan well before baking. Once the cake has baked and cooled for about 30 minutes, flip the cake out of the pan and drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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