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My Grandma’s Coffee Bundt 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.

A slice of easy coffee bundt cake with cinnamon streusel on a plate

This coffee bundt 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 cake has a story to tell.

On the outside, this cake appears to be straightforward:

  • A classic bundt with a lovely shape, golden tone, and solid companionship for your cup of coffee (just like Cranberry Coffee Cake and Buttermilk Cake).
  • Topped with the perfect vanilla glaze that hints at subtle sweetness and cues that this cake is a special treat.
Cake mix coffee cake bundt drizzled with glaze

5 Star Review

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

— Elaine —

However, there’s more than meets the eye to my grandma’s coffee bundt 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. (This Honey Swirled Coffee Cake also has a delightful hidden swirl).
  • The second is the cake’s texture. Unlike dense and filling coffee cakes, my grandma’s bundt cake is like biting into a cloud.
  • AND the scandal. Are you ready for this? This bundt cake isn’t from scratch. Its only ingredients? A box of yellow cake mix, a box of vanilla instant pudding mix, milk, eggs, and vanilla and butter extracts. That’s it.

Yes. My Grandma—who for years made hundreds of holiday rolls, pies (ahem, Grammy’s Lemon Cream Pie), and cookies 100% from scratch—uses a boxed mix and instant pudding to make her heavenly coffee cake.

Feeling a little duped? Me too. But this cake mix coffee cake is too delicious to care about honesty.

a coffee bundt cake make with cake mix and pudding mix sliced and served on a plate with homemade glaze and a cup of coffee

How to Make Grandma’s Coffee Bundt Cake

How a coffee bundt cake that is this easy—it’s one bowl and is ready to bake in less than 10 minutes—taste this fabulous is a mystery to me, but Grandma clearly knows best.


The Ingredients

  • Cake Mix. Even my Grandma, a devoted from-scratch baker, knew when to take a shortcut and grab a box of trusty cake mix.
  • Pudding Mix. Grandma’s trick for adding tons of flavor and moisture to this rich and fluffy cake mix coffee cake.
  • Milk + Water. Bring all the dry ingredients together.
  • Eggs. Gives this bundt cake its fluffy lift, while also making it rich and tender.
  • Vanilla Extract. Enhances the flavor of the cake.
  • Butter Extract. My grandma’s secret for giving this coffee bundt cake rich butter flavor without actually using butter.
  • Cinnamon + Sugar. A dynamic duo that gives this cake its hidden core of spiced sweetness. (Also responsible for making Cinnamon Crunch Bagels truly amazing.)
  • Pecans. Add a lovely nutty crunch to this cinnamon-swirled coffee bundt cake.
  • Powdered Sugar. Stirred together with milk, butter extract, and vanilla for a perfectly simple and delicious coffee cake glaze (also delicious on Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls).

The Directions

  1. Stir together the cake and pudding mixes.
  2. Add the wet ingredients and beat for 6 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients.
  4. Pour half of the batter into a greased bundt pan, top with streusel then pour over the remaining batter.
  5. Bake until golden, remove, let cool in the pan for several minutes, then remove.
  6. While the cake cools, prepare the glaze, then drizzle over the cooled cake. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftover coffee bundt cake well-wrapped at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze. Freeze cake mix coffee cake in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Grandma's coffee bundt cake made with Cake Mix and Vanilla Pudding Mix and drizzled with vanilla icing

Go ahead. Add a box of cake and pudding mix to your shopping cart. I won’t tell if you don’t!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Buy Butter Extract?

Butter extract can be found at most local grocery stores. Check the baking aisle near the vanilla extract. You can also find it online on Amazon and other major retailers.

Can I Make this Bundt Cake with a Different Pudding Mix Flavor?

I have not made this recipe with other pudding mix flavors so it would be an experiment. However, I imagine it would work just fine and open the door to TONS of fantastic flavor combinations.

Can I Prepare This Coffee Cake In a Loaf or Cake Pan?

I have not prepared this recipe in a loaf or cake pan so I cannot offer specific instructions on this method. If you choose to experiment, keep an eye on it in the oven since it will likely not need to bake for as long.

Grandma’s Coffee Bundt Cake

4.67 from 6 votes
A moist coffee bundt cake just like Grandma used to make with cinnamon streusel. An easy recipe made with yellow cake mix and pudding mix.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 10 servings

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:

For the Glaze:


Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To make the glaze, beat together the powdered sugar, milk, butter extract, and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftover butter bundt coffee cake well-wrapped at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze bundt cake in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 367kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 473mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 154mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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64 Comments

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  1. 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. 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!

  4. 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! :-)

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

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

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

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

  10. 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?!

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

  12. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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 ?

    1. 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!

  18. 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.

    1. Alice, I am so happy to hear that and totally honored that you made it for your dad on such a special day. Happy birthday to him!!!

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

    1. 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/

  20. 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!

    1. 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!

  21. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  22. 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: lindakmiller70@gmail.com

    Thanks in advance, Linda M

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

  23. 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.5 stars

  24. 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 ? 4 stars

    1. 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!

  25. I’m just baking this now…hopefully I read the recipe correctly that there is no oil or butter. Is that correct?

  26. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYTHING you promised about this cake is true!! I took it to church and not even a crumb was left to take home. I am glad that I got a fork full to taste before the last piece was snatched away. I did use almonds instead but look forward to making it with pecans next time. Thank you for sharing!!5 stars

  27. Hey Erin- Pretty sure we’re not cousins, but we might have the same grandma. My grandma made this exact simple, delicious coffee cake, too — love it! She also baked an impressive array of from scratch holiday cookies, yeasted fruit braids, and beyond. Thanks for the memory prompt … and happy baking to you!5 stars

  28. I’m getting ready too make this recipe and is wondering if I could substitute ingredient that’s listed for sour cream or could I just add sour cream?

    1. Hi Kelly! I’m not sure what you mean about “substitute ingredient that’s listed for sour cream”? The ingredients listed are not a replacement for sour cream. If you are trying to use sour cream, that is not something I’ve tested for this cake, so you would be experimenting. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to know how it goes!

  29. The cake has great texture & taste. I think I’ll sprinkle a bit of the cinnamon sugar mixture on the top next time.4 stars

  30. Your grandma might be my mom! Haha. I’ve been eating this my whole life and it’s almost the exact same recipe. My mom also puts 2 TBL cocoa powder in the cinnamon swirl. Try it some time, it adds just a hint of chocolate flavor. Great recipe!5 stars