Honey Bun Swirl Cake

This Honey Bun Swirl Cake is so easy to make and my son and husband LOVE it for breakfast, brunch or dessert! A sweet cake from a box mix that tastes like bakery quality that’s sure to satisfy your cravings.

A box cake mix is enhanced with a couple layers of brown sugar and cinnamon swirled together and drizzled with icing. 

Honey Bun Cake from a Duncan Hines box mix on red plate.

Also Called Sweet Sticky Bun Cake

My husband and son love sweet desserts and sweet breakfast treats.  This Honey Bun Swirl Cake is so easy to make at home, but tastes as good as a honey bun or other sweet treat that you might pick up at a bakery or grocery store. 

This cake is similar to our Buttermilk Coffee Cake, but easier because it uses a box mix! And it’s a much easier spin on our Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls.

Honey Bun Cake is so good we’ve made it several times in the last few weeks.  Adding sour cream and extra eggs to a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix adds so much moisture.

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Bite of icing and cinnamon brown sugar topped cake on a fork

While the easy cake has always tasted great it has never looked the same.  We like that kind of thing, a unique experience in each bite! 

The look of the cake varies depending on how aggressively you swirl.  On a recent variation, my husband let our toddler do the swirling.  Toddler swirling is definitely not replicable.  So if you like an easy sweet coffee cake give it a few tries and experiment with your swirl skills.

Cinnamon and brown sugar stirred into white box mix

My friend Chef Alli shared this original recipe with me.  She’s made it countless times for her sons and they always ask for more. 

So, I had to give it a try.  We made it for guests that included a teenage boy.  I’ve noticed that hungry growing boys seem to devour this cake the quickest and smile the biggest when eating Honey Bun Swirl Cake.

9 x 13 inch pan of sticky bun or honey bun cake with confectioners sugar and milk based icing

Best Coffee Cake From Box Mix

Life on the farm is busy, so it’s great to have some easy go-to recipes like this.  My boys might like this cake so much that they sneak a piece for breakfast on occasion.  I prefer to enjoy this coffee cake for dessert.

I like that the topping and icing give the cake an upscale look and taste, but it’s very easy to make.  This cake tastes perfect with a glass of cold milk!

Growing up on a dairy farm we love desserts that tastes great with a glass of cold milk.  Our family sold our dairy cows in 2011 because labor was difficult to secure.  My heart is with dairy farmers right now.  They have gotten so good at producing a lot of milk that there’s an oversupply on the market.  Since you can’t just turn milk production on and off quickly it means low prices for both dairy farmers and those of us who buy milk.

Piece of moist honey bun swirl cake with icing on a plate

So, let’s support the dairy farmers everywhere by making desserts like this with sour cream and enjoying each piece with a glass of milk.  Here are a few of our other favorite cakes that taste great with a glass of milk:

Gooey Butter Cake also uses a box mix and adds cream cheese to make a gooey layer.

Milk Way Cake takes my absolute favorite candy bars melted and mixed in the cake and melted again for a rich icing.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake is a strawberry cake and spin on our super popular chocolate cake.

Cinnamon Applesauce Cake calls for cinnamon chips and applesauce and creates a unique cake you won’t forget.

The Best Cake Recipe is an old fashioned recipe with a delicious cream cheese icing that is delicious.

We hope you enjoy these easy cakes as much as we do!

Icing on delicious Duncan Hines honey bun cake

How to Make Honey Bun Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat cake mix, eggs, water, oil andsour cream together for 2 minutes in a mixing bowl.  Scrape the bowl halfway through.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan
  2. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans (if using) and sprinkle over batter.  Take a butter knife and swirl filling and batter together.  Swirl until clumps of brown sugar have sunken down into the batter.
  3. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
  4. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. While cake is baking, make icing.  Combine powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Pour over cake immediately after it comes out of the oven.
  6. While the cake is still hot cover with foil and let cool.

Printable Honey Bun Cake Recipe

Piece of honey bun or sticky bun swirl cake on a red plate

Honey Bun Swirl Cake

Servings 16 pieces
Author: Jennifer
Are you craving a sweet cake from a box mix that tastes like bakery quality?  This Honey Bun Swirl Cake is so easy to make and my son and husband LOVE it!  A box cake mix is enhanced with a couple layers of brown sugar and cinnamon swirled together and drizzled with icing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients
  

Sticky Bun Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional

Topping

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Using an electric mixer, beat cake ingredients together for 2 minutes.  Scrape the bowl halfway through.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  • Combine filling ingredients and sprinkle over batter.  Take a butter knife and swirl filling and batter together.  Swirl until clumps of brown sugar have sunken down into the batter.
  • Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • While cake is baking, combine icing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Pour over cake immediately after it comes out of the oven.  While the cake is still hot cover with foil and let cool.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 253mgPotassium: 163mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 134IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

Originally published January 17, 2019. Pictures updated on February 19, 2021.

Collage of Sticky Bun Swirl Cake with icing made from a box cake mix is enhanced with a couple layers of brown sugar and cinnamon swirled together and drizzled with icing.
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3 Comments

  1. I made this cake and it looks wonderful but I’ve baked it for 45 min.and the middle is still wiggly.What did I do wrong.I followed the directions to a T.
    Please help

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe! My oven, altitude, pan and other variables worked well in the 25 – 30 minute time frame. Given so many things that can change baking time keep baking until a cake tester comes out clean. I hope you’re able to get it worked out and enjoy this delicious cake!

  2. Lorna Mesenhimer says:

    5 stars
    Loved these,will make them as a Sunday Brunch ad on,everyone loved them,and the lemon Cheesecake bars are great too,I added a bet more lemon juice for more lemon flavor & put grated lemon peel all over the top! Nummy!

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