This Pumpkin Honeybun Cake starts with a moist pumpkin cake, filled with a cinnamon, brown sugar and pecan filling and finished off with a cinnamon-vanilla glaze! It’s an easy cake recipe, made with a dressed up cake mix, that no one will be able to resist.
Easy Pumpkin Honeybun Cake
If there was ever a cake that tasted like fall, it would be this Pumpkin Honeybun Cake. Of course, you can make it any time of year, and I do, but I have to make it at least once come September/October. It’s a must. I mean, just look at all of these fall flavors/ingredients. There’s pumpkin, pecans, nutmeg… and cinnamon. Lots and lots of cinnamon.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. A great cake such as this one deserves a proper description.
It all starts with a basic cake mix, because we love quick and easy around here. To that you’ll add a plethora of spices, canned pumpkin, and a little sour cream so that it turns out nice and moist. A cinnamon-and-toasted-pecan filling is also involved, as is a sweet cinnamon-vanilla glaze.
If you thought cinnamon rolls were amazing, they’ve got nothing on this cake! (I’m not saying I’ve served this for breakfast in place of cinnamon rolls before, but I’m not not saying it either…)
It sounds like a lot, but I promise you, this cake is so easy to make, and it will absolutely receive rave reviews from all who try it. And, most importantly, it will definitely remind you of biting into a sweet, sticky Honey Bun. Good times, huh?
What is a Honeybun Cake?
As you read above, a honeybun cake is basically the cake version of a Honey Bun. There are three main components: the cake itself, the pecan filling, and the glaze.
Texture-wise, this cinnamon cake is very soft and extremely moist. Smooth pumpkin is added to enhance the softness and create a more classic fall flavor. A sweet and crunchy pecan layer sits in the center of the cake, making it truly reminiscent of a honey bun. And, finally, a sweet cinnamon-and-powdered-sugar glaze is spread on top of the warm cake to complete the experience!
If you’re not hungry by now, I want to know what your secret is, because I’m seriously craving a warm slice of homemade honeybun cake! And, since resistance is futile, let’s get into the ingredients:
For the Cake
- Cake Mix: I usually use a box of white cake mix – whatever brand you have on hand is fine.
- Spices: Add in a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
- Sugar: I like to use brown sugar, but granulated sugar could be used in a pinch.
- Vegetable Oil: This will help your cake turn out super moist.
- Sour Cream: Also helps with achieving a moist cake. You can use yogurt in place of the sour cream if needed.
- Eggs: To bind your batter together.
- Canned Pumpkin: Make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling in its place.
For the Filling
- Brown Sugar: You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, whatever you like.
- Toasted Pecans: Chopped. You can use walnuts in place of the pecans, or you can totally omit the pecans if you do not care for them.
For the Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: See tips below on adjusting the amount used.
- Milk: When making your glaze, if you do not have milk you can use heavy cream or half & half or even water.
- Vanilla Extract: For extra sweet flavor.
How to Make Pumpkin Honeybun Cake
My favorite thing about making this sweet honeybun cake is that, for all the ingredients, it takes less than 10 minutes to prep. The rest of the time is just baking time, otherwise known as stare-at-the-oven time.
Here’s how the whole cake-making process happens:
Preheat the Oven to 350°F: Spray a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
Mix the Cake Batter Together: In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Whisk in the brown sugar, vegetable oil, sour cream, and eggs. Add in the canned pumpkin and stir to bring together.
Mix the Filling Ingredients: To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, toasted pecans, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Layer the Cake: Spread half of the cake mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar/pecan filling over the entire surface of the cake batter. Then spread the remaining cake batter on to the top of the filling.
Bake: Place the cake into the oven to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (or with moist crumbs). Once the cake has baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool.
Add the Glaze: As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, make the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Let the cake cool for 5 to 10 minutes before glazing the cake. Pour the glaze on to the top of the cake and spread to all of the edges.
Serve and Enjoy: Allow the cake to cool for several more minutes before slicing and serving while still warm. This Pumpkin Honey Bun Cake is also delicious room temperature!
Tips for Success
See why this is a highlight of my fall?
I think I’ve finally run out of words to describe how much I love this cake… but I still have a couple of tips for you before you get started:
- Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: As with any other cake, over-stirring will cause it to be crumbly or rubbery in the end, so only mix it until the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Layering Suggestions: The brown sugar pecan mixture is a distinctive layer in the center of the cake. However, if you wanted to, you could gently swirl the mixtures together using a butter knife or rubber spatula. Just be sure that you do not over-mix, as the mixtures will become homogeneous and there will be no distinction.
- How to Adjust Your Glaze: If, when you make your glaze, you find that it is too thin and soupy, simply add in a little more powdered sugar. If you find that your glaze is too thick, simply add in a little more milk (a teaspoon at a time, so as not to make it too runny).
How to Store Extras
Pumpkin honeybun cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 6 days. As a make ahead tip, you can also bake the cake, refrigerate it, and make the glaze the next day before eating, if you like.
Can I Freeze this Pumpkin Honeybun Cake?
Yes! You can freeze honeybun cake in an airtight container for 2-3 months. It is generally best to freeze it without glaze, though, if possible, and add that part on after it thaws.
Pumpkin Honeybun Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 (16.25 oz) box white cake mix
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
For the Filling:
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Glaze:
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Whisk in the brown sugar, vegetable oil, sour cream, and eggs. Add in the canned pumpkin and stir to bring together.
- To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, toasted pecans, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Spread half of the cake mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar/pecan filling over the entire surface of the cake batter. Then spread the remaining cake batter on to the top of the filling.
- Place the cake into the oven to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (or with moist crumbs). Once the cake has baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, make the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Let the cake cool for 5 to 10 minutes before glazing the cake. Pour the glaze on to the top of the cake and spread to all of the edges.
- Allow the cake to cool for several more minutes before slicing and serving while still warm. This Pumpkin Honey Bun Cake is also delicious room temperature!
Looking For More Pumpkin Recipes?
Pumpkin is a star ingredient here and I have so many recipes you need to try! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins
- Pumpkin Bars
- Best Pumpkin Bread (a Starbucks copycat recipe)
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
- The Best Pumpkin Cake (a gorgeous layer cake!)
- Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
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