Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake

My Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake is completely scandalous. I spent 18 years devouring this ethereally fluffy, lightly buttery, and cinnamon pecan-streusel coffee cake, completely unaware of the intrigue hiding in every slice.

Easy Butter Bundt Cake with Cinnamon StreuselFortunately for all our appetites, I’ve never been much good at secrets or surprises, a trait I consider to be both one of my best and worst qualities. I am willing to discuss almost any area of my life openly, which probably explains why I a) regularly swap life stories with strangers on airplanes and b) write a blog. This coffee cake recipe may have deceived me for years, but I’m way too excited about it to keep it hush hush. Call the tabloids! This coffee cake has a story to tell.

On the outside, this coffee cake appears to be a straightforward, classic bundt: a lovely shape, golden tone, and solid companionship for your cup of coffee. The glaze hints at subtle sweetness and cues that this cake is a special treat, but nothing that sets it apart from other recipes.

Easy Butter Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Pecan StreuselTo truly understand the magnitude of my Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake you need a slice, a bite, and a peek at the impossibly easy recipe.

Easy Butter Bundt Coffee Cake

The first surprise is a gorgeous interior swirl—a hidden ribbon of cinnamon sugar and chopped pecans that infuses the cake with warm flavor.

Easy Butter Bundt Coffee CakeThe second is the cake’s texture. Unlike dense and filling coffee cakes, my Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake is like biting into a cloud. It’s so fluffy and airy, I half expect my piece to float right off my plate as I’m eating it, and I love serving it at multi-course brunches or after a heavy dinner for this reason. Everyone can enjoy a slice conjunction with the other food without excess discomfort. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spied it beside a monster pot of cheese fondue.)

Now, the scandal. Are you ready for this?

Grandma's Easy Budnt Cake with Cake Mix and Vanilla Pudding MixMy Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake does not actually contain any butter. In fact, there’s no fat added whatsoever. Its only ingredients: a box of yellow cake mix, a box of vanilla instant pudding mix, milk, eggs, and butter and vanilla extracts. That’s it. My Grandma—who for years made hundreds of holiday rolls, pies, and cookies 100% from scratch—uses a boxed mix and instant pudding to make her heavenly coffee cake.

How a cake that is this easy—it’s one bowl and is ready to bake in less than 10 minutes—and contains no actual butter or oil can taste this fabulous is a mystery to me, but Grandma clearly knows best. Even Ben, who passes on 97% of the desserts I bake, ate three slices at brunch, and our guests pounced on the leftovers. The proof is on the (empty) plate.

Anyone have a contact at The National Inquirer? This is headline material my friends.

Easy Butter Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
4.34 from 3 votes
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Butter Bundt Coffee Cake

Yield: 8 - 10 servings
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
The most moist, fluffy coffee cake you will ever taste, complete with a ribbon of cinnamon streusel. Made with yellow cake mix and vanilla instant pudding mix, the recipe could not be easier or more delicious.

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix — (my Grandma’s recipe calls for Duncan Hines. I’ve also used Betty Crocker with excellent results)
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding — (4-serving, 3.9 ounce size box)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water — (my Grandma also suggests sherry or apricot juice)
  • 4 large eggs — at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Streusel:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, — sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large (10 or 12-cup) bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake and pudding mixes. Add the milk and water and stir to combine. Beat in the eggs one at a time, combing well after each, then add the butter and vanilla extracts. Beat for 6 minutes at high speed.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients: granulated sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then pour the remaining batter over the top. Bake the cake in the center of the oven until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 8 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan and let cool completely.
  4. For the glaze: beat together the powdered sugar, milk, butter extract, and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

Store leftover butter bundt coffee cake well wrapped at room temperature.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Butter Bundt Coffee Cake, Easy Homemade Cake Recipe

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

More beautiful bundts:

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

55 comments

  1. Liz @ Floating Kitchen Reply

    Love this story, Erin! I have a similar one in a post coming up soon about my grandmothers famous pecan sticky buns. They wer here thing and everyone raved about them. I decided to re-create them (since she passed several years ago) and everyone in my family searched and searched for her recipe and we eventually figured out it was just from Betty Crocker! I thought she has some secret family recipe – but no. Just a recipe that like 20 million other people have made! Definitely tabloid worthy!

  2. Girl, your way with words is fantastic! This post is so heartfelt and great! If I had a contact at the National Inquirer I would be calling them myself…this is totally headline worthy :)

  3. Your grandma certainly knew how to throw down on a cake. This is beautiful. Pinned.

  4. Sarah | Broma Bakery Reply

    So your grandmother is a master baker. This cake looks magical. I love light and fluffy coffee cakes, especially when there’s a cute swirl in the middle!

  5. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    Ok, I usually will not make a cake with a mix. That is so my “years-ago-me.” This one I will try since you love it so much, and 3 pieces for Ben…..a must try! :-)

  6. Grandmas always know best! I love the ease of this, especially for this crazy busy season!

  7. Looks and sounds so good. Thanks Erin.

  8. I can’t believe this cake came out of a cake mix! It just looks fantastic! And, I’m go weak in the knees for any dessert with a nice cinnamon swirls in it!

  9. Danae @ Recipe Runner Reply

    I love family recipes with a good scandal! I always get a kick out of reading through all of my Grandma’s old recipes, shaking my head at some of the ingredients in them. Butter or no butter this coffee cake looks wonderful!

  10. No butter? Whaaat?! Amazing! That cinnamon swirl is calling my name. Love those little surprises :)

  11. What a scandal. Love that this is an old recipe and NO butter…. WHAT?

  12. Amazing that there’s no butter! This looks soooo good and that swirl inside is indeed gorgeous. Yum!

  13. Bundt + scandalous being used in the same post makes me believe that you’ve got a killer cake that I need to help devour!

  14. Grandma’s recipes are the BEST!! My grandma’s secret to her famous kolaches was not butter, not shortening, but LARD. Yes, lard. But they were ohhhh so good.

    This butter cake looks SO good! How perfect would this be for breakfast on Thanksgiving?!

  15. Can’t question Grandma’s recipes! This looks so good!

  16. This cake looks beautiful and sounds divine! Love that it’s one bowl, too!

  17. No butter or oil? Music to my waistline watching self. There IS hope out there for me!! Grandma always knows best. :)

  18. I am allergic to eggs. Is it possible to use apple sauce for the eggs?? Either 1/3 or 1/2 cup?? Great sounding cake.

    • Hi Kaye, I wish I could guarantee that applesauce would turn out, but I’m worried that it wouldn’t. Eggs help the cake rise and keep it fluffy, and although applesauce is moist, it doesn’t have that same effect. You can certainly experiment (and I’d love to hear how it goes). The cake might not be light and fluffy but could still taste yummy with applesauce—I’m just not sure since I’ve never tried it this way.
      I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but I want you to have baking success, so those are my honest thoughts!

  19. oh yum! grandma recipes are ALWAYS the best!

  20. huntfortheverybest Reply

    i love family recipes. it looks great!

  21. Sometimes you really need an easy recipe like this that still looks stunning. Love it! Hope you feel better soon!

  22. haha I love this! And the scandal :) Grandma recipes are always just the absolute best!

  23. This cake is gorgeous. The streusel, oh my gosh, I can’t even handle it!

  24. HA, Grandma!! How sneaky! Love that you shared the secret…and this looks and sounds absolutely amazing.

  25. I am scandalized. Very much so. But in a totally awesome, I-have-to-try-this-now kind of way. Can’t wait to see how it tastes! Love the streusel, always.

  26. Shashi at runninsrilankan Reply

    A one bowl cake that’s oven ready in ten minutes??? Oh heavens – this would be trouble in my house – specially with that ribbon of ribbon of cinnamon sugar and chopped pecans!

  27. Erin, you really do have a way with words, I love sitting back with a cuppa and catching up on whats happening in your world. :) Beautifully written. Great recipe too. I am looking forward to the holidays so I can get personal with my kitchen.

  28. I went to the store and they were out of vanilla instant pudding So I got butterscotch flavour. Is it ok if use that or should keep looking for vanilla ?

    • Hi Alice! I do think that the butterscotch might be a bit strange, but to be honest I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say for certain. Vanilla is definitely the safest bet, but as with any recipe, you can definitely feel free to experiment!

  29. I went to another store, got vanilla pudding and baked it for my my dad’s Birthday today. He loved it and so did I. Thank you.

  30. This coffee cake was very fry and the icing cracked when I cut it. I followed the directions exactly but it was not moist.

    • Patti, I’m so sorry to hear that happened! Dryness is certainly not an issue I’ve heard happening with the cake—next time, I’d suggest taking it out right at the 50-minute mark. As far as the icing, it is a crackly style of icing, since it is more of a glaze than a buttercream, dessert-style frosting. If you are looking for more of a true frosting, you might like the cream cheese glaze called for in this recipe: http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2013/02/chocolate-beet-cake/

  31. What size package (or how many servings) of pudding should be used? My grocery stores all have a small and large box of the instant vanilla pudding. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Hi Natasha, First of all, I’m so sorry I’m just getting back to you! This comment somehow got trapped in my spam, so I’m just now seeing it. You’ll want the small (4 serving size) pudding mix box (I believe it is usually 3.9 ounces).  Hope you love the cake!

  32. We were just discussing the efficacy of using a bundt pan for cakes in our house yesterday! How timely. Fascinating that your g-ma would use box mixes…rare to see that. I thought your “secret ingredient” was going to be sour cream or something along those lines. I imagine the pudding and cake mix will make a moist cake. Do you recommend against using the sugar-free pudding mixes? They’re generally a smaller size than regular. I want to make this w/pistachio pudding and see how it goes. Thanks

    • Lisa, it sounds like this cake is meant to be for you! I’ve never tried making the cake with sugar free pudding mix, but I would be hesitant since the quantities, as you mentioned, are indeed different. Also, I believe the sugar free may absorb liquid differently, which would definitely affect the cake. If you do try it though, please let me know how it goes. Pistachio sounds like a fun twist too!

  33. can i sprinkle dried cranberriens on top of the cake before baking? will the dry cranberries not absorb some moisture?

  34. can i sprinkle dried cranberries on top of the cake before baking? 

    • Hi Alejandrina! I’ve never tried it, but if you decide to experiment, let me know! As an alternative, it might work a bit better to fold the cranberries into the cinnamon filling. I think they’d be less likely to just sink to the bottom that way. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  35. Bummer!  I started reading and looked forward to this recipe…. Until I saw it contained boxed processed cake mix and pudding mix.  Yuck!  A cake full of chemicals!
    Baking from scratch with all Organic ingredients is the only way!!!

    • Hi Carmie, I nearly always bake from scratch (as did my grandma) but even she had her exceptions every now and then, and this cake was one of them. If you prefer a from-scratch coffee cake, you will find many options in my recipe index here: http://www.wellplated.com/category/recipes-by-type/baked-goodsbreads/

  36. Hi Erin, I am new to your site. Cake looks wonderful. Has this recipe been adjusted to the new down sizing of the cake mixes from 18.50 oz. to 15.25 oz. I have had bad luck adjusting my old recipes to the new size cake mixes. Since there are so many new box mixes for Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, which one did you use. Some have pudding or butter in recipe. It is very confusing now to bake with a box mix, especially with the smaller box of ingredients!! Please answer to my email address: [email protected]

    Thanks in advance, Linda M

    • Great question Linda! Although I’m sure that my grandmother’s recipe called for the larger size, I have made it with the smaller one and it turned out fine. In terms of which box to use, she loved Duncan Hines, just the standard yellow one. I hope that you enjoy the cake!

  37. Where do u find butter flavoring

    • Hi Sandy, the butter flavoring should be in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, next to the other extracts and flavorings.

  38. I wouldn’t mind a slice or two right now. This cake looks and sounds amazing and the photographs are truly beautiful! :)

  39. I can’t find butter extract anywhere, should I skip it or sub something else?

    • Hi Stella! I think that you would be OK to omit it. The flavor won’t be quite as buttery, but it will still be delicious. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  40. Elaine Connolly Reply

    Thank you!! I’d lost the recipe for the family tradition bundt cake and your Grandma had it!! Now I’m saved! This recipe is always a crowd pleaser.

  41. I made this cake tonight and it has a really good taste and is very moist. The only problem I had, was, when I took the cake out the oven it deflated. Any idea why this happened ? 

    • Stacie, I’m so glad you love the flavor of this cake! As far as deflating, there’s actually a number of things that can contribute to this happening, and Bundt cakes are extra tricky. The batter might have been overmixed, or sometimes if you open the oven door too quickly, the sudden change in temperature can make a cake fall too. I hope you still enjoy it!

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