Sock It To Me Cake


A cute name, a better cake.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Serves 12 (serving size: 1 slice)

Most of the original Sock It to Me Cake recipes called for cake mixes, but our version is scratch-made with simple pantry ingredients. Like the original, our cake is a buttery sour cream Bundt, layered with a ribbon of brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in the middle, and topped with vanilla icing. It’s hard to imagine a Bundt cake more delicious than this!

Sock It To Me Cake

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

What Is a Sock It to Me Cake?

At first glance, this might look like a deliciously simple Bundt cake, drizzled with vanilla icing on top. What makes this cake so unique is the dense pound cake-like quality of the sponge cake and the ribbon of brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans running through the center of each slice. With the combination of texture and flavor, you could say the Sock It to Me Cake packs a punch!

How Did This Cake Get Its Unique Name?

The origin of this rich, flavorful Bundt cake takes us back to the late 1960s. During this era, the term ‘sock it to me,’ a popular slang catchphrase meaning ‘give it to me,’ was heard as a punch line in the comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and immortalized in the song Respect by Aretha Franklin.

Whether the name for this recipe was adapted from one of these sources is unclear. Even though the specific origin of the cake name is uncertain, the recipe found its way to the back of Duncan Hines’s yellow cake mix and has been a popular staple in kitchens for decades since.

What Ingredients Are Needed To Make a Sock It To Me Cake?

The original Sock It to Me cakes were made with a base of a boxed yellow cake mix, but this recipe received a notable upgrade by being scratch-made with common pantry ingredients.

sock it to me cake ingredients overhead

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

The main cake consists of standard ingredients: butter, granulated sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and sour cream. The unforgettable addition to the cake filling is made with brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon, which creates a ribbon of flavor throughout the entire cake.

Once the baked Bundt cake has been cooled and inverted with the decorative side up, a simple icing made with powdered sugar and whole milk is drizzled on top.

What Is the Best Way To Make This Cake?

Like many cake recipes, the first step is to blend the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) together, then add this mixture to the butter mixture slowly, alternating with the addition of the sour cream and vanilla.

One aspect that sets this recipe apart from most is how to add the batter and the streusel mixture so that you can get the delicious ribbon throughout the center. Stir the toasted pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then you’re ready to start your assembly.

The secret is simple: Add half your batter to your Bundt pan, pour the streusel mixture over the batter, then evenly cover the spiced pecan mix with the remaining cake batter. Bake for at least an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean (this could take up to 75 minutes).

If it seems to be browning quickly, tent the cake with aluminum foil. As the cake is baking, check on it during the last 15 to 20 minutes of bake time in case it is finished early.

Once the cake is finished baking, let it cool for about 15 minutes before inverting on a wire rack and continue to let it cool completely. The final step is to prepare the icing for the decorative top of the cake. Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth, then drizzle over the top of the cake.

Sock It To Me Cake

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

Are There Any Variations to the Recipe?

This recipe is adaptable to different nuts and spices in the filling. For instance, if you prefer to have more spice in your life, consider adding some ginger, nutmeg, or cardamom to the cinnamon mixture.

If you aren’t a fan of pecans, adjust the recipe to include walnuts or almonds instead. To complement the warm spices in the cake, consider adding a different extract to the icing, such as maple or orange, before adding it to the top of the cake.

If you’re looking at adding more crunch to the cake, consider toasting additional nuts and sprinkling them on top of the Bundt cake after you add the icing to the top. It will not only give more of a visual appeal to the cake, but it will ensure an extra crunch with each slice.

What Are the Best Ways to Store This Cake After It’s Baked?

Make sure the cake is covered with a cake stand dome or airtight container, and it will stay delicious for 3 to 4 days. This cake stays fresh for up to one week if it is covered or placed in an airtight container and chilled in the refrigerator. It will also remain fresh in the freezer for a couple of months if wrapped well.

Sock It To Me Cake

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

Do I Need a Special Occasion to Serve This Cake?

With a decorative Bundt pan design and a memorable name, this is a delightful dessert that can be served for nearly any occasion. This cake is notoriously delicious for breakfast, served alongside a hot cup of coffee, or to be eaten as a tasty snack any time of the day.

Once the cake is served, it’s safe to say that there probably won’t be many leftovers!

Editorial contributions by Nik Pugmire.


  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) salted butter, softened

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 6 large eggs

  • 3 cups (about 12 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp. table salt

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract, divided

  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 1/2 cups (about 10 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a (14- to 16-cup) Bundt pan with baking spray.

  2. Beat butter with a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer running on medium speed, gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

    Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.

    adding eggs to cake batter

    Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

  3. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

    flour mixture in bowl with whisk

    Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

    With mixer running on low speed and beating until just combined after each addtion, add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the vanilla.

    adding flour to cake batter

    Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

  4. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Stir together toasted pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over batter in pan.

    adding pecan layer to sock it to me cake

    Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

    Spoon remaining batter over pecan mixture, carefully spreading in an even layer.

    spooning batter

    Hannah Zimmerman

    Bake in preheated oven until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack, about 2 hours.

  5. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Spoon glaze over cooled cake.

    spooning cake glaze

    Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

Updated by
Nik Pugmire
Nik Pugmire

Nik Pugmire is a reputable pastry chef, sharing his expertise gained from personal experience working in professional pastry kitchens and bakeries for over 15 years. With formal education, practical skills, and a deep passion for culinary arts, he aims to help share that love and knowledge through his writing.

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