This cake fills the house with the warm smell of cinnamon when it bakes. It can be made in two 9-inch square pans as well. Be sure to use a plain cake mix that does not contain pudding.
Make Ahead: Cover with aluminum foil and store at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Freeze in the pan(s), covered with aluminum foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature overnight before serving.
Servings: 16 - 20
- For the cake
- 1 package (18.5 ounces) plain butter recipe golden cake mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- For the topping
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- For the glaze
- 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1 or 2 tablespoons whole or low-fat milk
For the cake: Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch metal cake pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, then dust lightly with flour, shaking out any excess flour.
Combine the cake mix, sour cream, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium; beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture lightens and is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
For the topping: Combine the brown sugar, pecans, if using, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the topping evenly over the batter in the cake pan, then pour the remaining cake batter on the topping to create a final layer. Sprinkle the remaining topping on the second layer of batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack; let sit for 20 minutes, or until barely warm.
For the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and milk as needed in a liquid measuring cup, creating a thick, smooth glaze. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Let it set for a few minutes before serving.
Adapted from "The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!," by Anne Byrn (Workman Publishing, 2009).
Tested by Stephen Lowman.
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