Honey Bun Cake

The Honey Bun Cake in all its sugary glory.
St. Cecilia School, where I attended K-8th grade. One Little Donuts was just down Main Street!

As a child of the 80s and 90s, I developed a taste for sugary breakfasts early in life. This might be a trip to One Little Donuts (no, that’s not a misspelling, just a poorly named restaurant) with my grandmother before school. It might also be a batch of Grand’s Orange Cinnamon Rolls if there was time or, most commonly, a quick Honey Bun, popped in the microwave and eaten on the way out the door.

Honey Buns are also delicious as afternoon treats or midnight snacks or, well, pretty much anytime you want to overdose on sugar with a side of cinnamon and carbs. When I laid eyes upon this Honey Bun Cake in Liz Choate’s The Gator Queen Liz Cookbook, I knew I had to make it. And, yes, she’s the same Liz Choate who starred in the History Channel’s Swamp People reality show. Her cookbook is pretty rad, even though I don’t see myself cooking alligator or squirrel anytime soon. But, never say never I suppose.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and mist a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Once those ingredients are well mixed, pour the batter into your 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spread it evenly in the pan. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the brown sugar topping:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Brown sugar tends to clump, so I recommend mixing these ingredients together with clean hands. If you still have large chunks of pecan, try to break them up with your fingers as you go. Once the topping ingredients are well mixed, pour it over the batter in the 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Using a knife, make deep swirls all over the batter to mix in the brown sugar topping. We aren’t trying to completely combine the batter and topping, but we want some nice streaks and swirls throughout the whole cake. Once your cake is sufficiently swirled, pop it into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze and, yes, there is more sugar. This is a Honey Bun cake after all. In a small bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You want a glaze that’s fairly thick, but thin enough to pour and spread over the cake. You may need to use a few extra teaspoons of milk to get the right consistency, but add extra liquid in very small increments to get it just right.

When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour the glaze over the top and spread it evenly over the surface of the cake. You should let the glaze set for a few minutes, but you can dig in almost immediately.

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