Honey Bun Poke Cake
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Honey Bun Cake — Tastes like a Honey Bun in cake form!! Sweet, rich, decadent, and reminds me of the Honey Buns I used to eat as a kid! Fast and EASY!!
Easy Honey Bun Cake Recipe
If you’ve never had a honey bun, you didn’t dine on enough gas station snacks in the 1980s. Lol. Honey Buns were usually kept near the Twinkies, DingDongs, and Hostess Pies.
I realize some people may not know what a honey bun is so I will describe them as a cinnamon roll-type snack and the entire thing is dipped in a powdered sugar glaze. I don’t think there is any actual honey involved, but they are very sweet, full of useless carbs, and can survive for months in a cellophane baggie. Such selling points.
This cake tastes like a honey bun that met a tres leches cake. So for any of you who want to relive some Honey Bun memories or sample the flavors for the first time, or who have a thing for juicy moist poke cakes, here you go.
The honey bun cake is incredibly soft and moist. You can see the sweet milk mixture seeping out, and since I love tres leches cake, the abundance of sweet milk was one of my favorite aspects of this cake.
The cake is decadent, rich, very sweet, and feels full of old-fashioned nostalgia. I think it got better in the fridge over a few days. The sweetness mellowed and I found myself going to the fridge to straighten the rows with a fork.
What’s in the Honey Bun Cake?
To make this easy poke cake recipe, you’ll need:
- Boxed yellow cake mix
- Sour cream
- Light brown sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Whipped topping
How to Make Honey Bun Cake
The cake is fast, easy, and starts off with a box of yellow cake mix. To it, you add eggs, sour cream, and oil. Add half the batter to your cake pan.
Then make a cinnamon and brown sugar mixture that you sprinkle over the cake batter, top with the remaining batter, and bake. Super easy.
After the cake is done baking, immediately poke holes in the hot cake with a fork (this is why it’s called a poke cake). I probably poked the cake in about 100 places and the more holes the better distributed the sweet milk mixture will be. And that sweet milk is where the resemblance to a tres leches cake comes in.
Combine confectioners’ sugar with milk and slowly pour it all over the surface of the cake. The mixture is thin, and it feels like there’s almost too much of it, but it all seeps into the cake as the cake rests in the fridge.
What Brand of Cake Mix Should I Use?
Any brand of yellow cake mix should work (including a gluten-free variety, if desired). I typically use Duncan Hines, but any brand will work.
Can I Use Another Flavor of Cake Mix?
For the most authentic Honey Bun flavor, stick to yellow cake mix. Using white cake mix or another vanilla-y cake mix won’t produce the same flavor.
Tips for Making a Honey Bun Cake
If you’re keeping track, you will notice there is a lot of sugar in this cake. The cake mix itself, the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, and the confectioners’ sugar and milk mixture.
If you have a mouth full of sweet teeth, you will enjoy this cake. If you’re the type of person who thinks most things are ‘too sweet’, definitely do not make this cake. This one is for us sugar fiends.
There is also a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon in the cake and that leads to a very pronounced cinnamon flavor, which I consider a very good thing. If you don’t like as much cinnamon flavor in things, cut back (probably reduce in half) the amount of cinnamon.
- one 15.25-ounce box yellow cake mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon, or to taste
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup milk (I used whole)
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping, or as necessary; thawed (I used lite; you may not need the entire container)
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until mixed and combined, about 2 to 3 minutes; the batter is thick.
- Transfer half the batter to the prepared pan; set remaining batter and pan aside. Tip - Make sure not to add more than half the batter or you will have a hard time with coverage in step 5.
- To a medium bowl, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, stir to combine, and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the batter in the pan.
- Evenly top with the remaining batter, lightly spreading it with a spatula to completely cover the brown sugar (it doesn't matter if it's not perfect).
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until done and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Poke the hot cake all over with a fork to create holes. I probably poked the cake in about 100 places, the more holes the better distributed the milk mixture will be (next step); set cake aside.
- To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and whisk to combine until smooth and free from lumps; mixture will be thin, this is ok.
- Evenly and slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the cake, cover, refrigerate, and allow cake to cool for about 2 hours (or overnight).
- Evenly add the whipped topping over the surface of the cake and smooth it lightly with a spatula or knife before serving.
Storage: Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Allrecipes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 1gSugar: 55gProtein: 5g
More Poke Cake Recipes:
Favorite Poke Cake Recipes.
Caramel Cream Poke Cake — A creamy caramel mixture soaks into soft yellow cake before being topped with whipped cream and more CARAMEL!! An easy cake that’s a guaranteed WINNER especially with caramel lovers!!
The Best Tres Leches Cake – Soft, tender, and soaked with three milks! It just melts in your mouth and it’s the BEST tres leches cake ever!! You need to try this AMAZING cake!!
Coconut Caramel Poke Cake – An incredibly EASY super moist cake thanks to a creamy caramel mixture that’s poked into the cake!! Topped with crispy toasted coconut, this cake is a DELISH winner!!
Better-Than-Anything Peanut Butter Cake – A peanut butter lovers dream: PB, PB chips, and PB cups! An easy, no-mixer poke cake that’s drenched with caramel to keep it super moist! Lives up to it’s name and tastes amazing!
Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake – Worthy of its name and one of the BEST cakes you will EVER eat! Doesn’t get any better than chocolate, caramel, whipped topping, and candy in an easy, no-mixer cake!
Pineapple Poke Cake with Pineapple Glaze – Fast, easy, one-bowl, no mixer, from-scratch cake that’s easier than a mix! The glaze soaks into every inch and you’ll be in juicy pineapple heaven!
Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — If you like red velvet, you’re going to LOVE this EASY cake!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!
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