This cinnamon-swirled Sock It To Me cake is a staple in the Wilson house. It’s the easiest possible boxed-mix bundt cake baked into an entirely irresistible everyday, family sort of cake. It’s the simplicity, cinnamon, and brown sugar that keep us coming back to this cake every year. Just add cake mix to the grocery list and this cake just about bakes itself.
Well, I say this cake practically bakes itself but that just because that’s how easy Mom makes it look when she spends the morning baking a cool DOZEN of these bundt cakes.
Where dad is famous for his cookies and sweet potato pie, Mom is known for her bundt cake – this humbly glorious cinnamon swirl cake. For the last 20 years Mom takes orders for these cakes, selling them by the dozen to old co-workers and friends who share them with their families or gives them as gifts. It’s, decidedly, a whole thing. Two decades in, these cakes have become part of folks’ holiday traditions so even if Mom wanted to stop, well… she could, but she can’t.
Listen… it’s our love language to settle ourselves into your lives with our baked goods. It’s who the Wilsons are, as a people.
This is a Sock It To Me Cake which, if you weren’t baking in the 1970’s, might be a confounding name. It’s an old Duncan Hines butter cake mix, swirled with a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nuts. It’s the sort of old school cake that transends dessert because it’s basically coffee cake, aka breakfast. The batter is unfussy (because cake mix, amen). I’ve overbaked this cake more times than I care to admit and it’s still as moist and tender as ever (thank you oil, thank you sour cream).
This nebulous week between Christmas and New Years is the perfect time to keep this cake at the ready on the kitchen counter. This is the week we’re having cake for both second breakfast and first dessert (because peanut butter balls are obviously second dessert).
Happy end of the year, friends. We made it through every single day of this year so far and if that’s not reason enough for this glory of a cake, I don’t know what is.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Mom’s Sock It To Me Cake:
• Yellow boxed cake mix – the sort without any extra pudding added. I like Duncan Hines.
• a 3.75 ounce box of instant vanilla pudding
• canola oil – or any neutral oil your prefer
• sour cream
• large eggs
• vanilla extract
• brown sugar
• ground cinnamon
• walnuts, chopped (though pecans are also a great choice)
The cake batter is, thankfully, stunningly simple. To a large mixing bowl add cake mix, oil, a box of pudding powder, and eggs.
Two more ingredients: vanilla extract and sour cream. And that’s it! Take a hand mixer to the bowl and whip to a thick, smooth, golden batter.
The cinnamon filling is everything! In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, walnuts, and ground cinnamon until evenly combined.
Grease a bundt pan super well with shortening or baking spray. I think it’s also a good idea to dust the pan with flour before adding the batter.
My dad makes a big batch of his pan grease ahead of my mom’s big bundt baking day. Wait, have I given you dad’s pan grease recipe yet?!
Dad’s Magic Pan Grease
1 cup solid vegetable shortening [or one Crisco Shortening Stick] (the butter flavored shortening is best)
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
Place shortening in a medium-sized pan over moderate heat and melt until liquified. Remove from heat and let it cool down for about 20 minutes.
Pour in the canola oil and the flour, and blend thoroughly with a wire whisk, making sure it is smooth, with no lumps.
Pour into a glass or metal container with a lid. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Use a pastry brush to swab your pans with the grease.
Alternate adding cake batter, in an even layer, with cinnamon walnut filling. Use a butterknife to lightly swirl the two together.
Of course this sweet little gem of a cake was baked in the oven in my favorite bundt cake pan, the elegant party bundt because even an everyday boxed cake can be the most elegant dish at the party, ya know? Add a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the cooled cake, or drizzle with a simple powdered sugar glaze.
I will tell you, the top of the cake (which becomes the bottom of the cake when you invert it from the pan) is the best part. Lightly crisp with pockets of sticky chewy cake. And keep the nuts in the cake if you aren’t allergic. I find they add an essential texture.
This cake will stay fresh for days, a week even, if it isn’t devoured sooner (which it will be). Count on this to become your go-to cake recipe. And the fact that it’s a simple cake mix can be our little secret.Print
An easy Sock It To Me Cake recipe made with cake mix and cinnamon walnut streusel. This is an all day cake so leave it on the counter and watch it disappear slice by slice.
For the Cake:
- 1 package yellow cake mix (the kind without added pudding)
- 1 (3 ¾ ounce) instant vanilla pudding
- ½ cup neutral oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cinnamon Swirl:
- ¾ cup (150 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional, chocolate chips are a great substitute)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and prerheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 10-cup bundt can and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using electric hand beaters in a large bowl combine all of the cake ingredients and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl
- In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (or chocolate).
- Dollop a third of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Add another third of batter and the remaining brown sugar mixture. Top with the remaining batter and use a butter knife to gently swirl the batter in four strokes. Bang the pan on the countertop to settle any air bubbles.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, not wet and battery. Allow cake to cool for 20-30 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- This cake is delicious dusted with powdered sugar or whisk together a quick glaze with 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of whole milk. Drizzle over cake once completely cooled. Store the cake covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Keywords: bundt, cake, cinnamon, cake mix, streusel. christmas, easy