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I made the cake a few years ago. The first time I was at work it was my co-worker’s birthday. The only ingredients we had on hand were a Honey Bun and cookies. I made it from scratch off the top of my head, thinking if this is all we have, maybe this is something we can do. It just came to me to combine the icing, leave the Honey Bun at the center and make a type of dough with the cookies.

The cakes are not difficult to make, but the first time you make it, it’s going to be a mess. The biggest issue I see, and I’ve experienced myself many times is adding too much water. I try to point out that you can always add more water, but you can’t take it out. If you put too much, it becomes mushy, and the whole cake is ruined. Other than that, it’s just molding it. Some people mold it and it comes out sloppy.

Making the cakes themselves is pretty simple once you get the hang of it, but expect the first one to be a fail, and the second one to be the one that comes out right.

Photo of a sliced tan cake with white frosting

Better Than Freedom Cake

Randy | San Quentin State Prison
A sweet cake made with an iced honey bun and sandwich cookies.
Servings 2 servings


  • 30 sandwich cookies, about 12 oz.
  • 4.75 oz package iced Honey Bun
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons room temperature water


  • Remove the filling from the cookies and place in a mixing bowl. Set the cookies aside. Remove the icing from the top of the Honey Bun with your fingers or a dull knife and add to the cookie filling. Mix until smooth.
  • Crush the cookies thoroughly by placing them in a storage bag and pounding with a heavy pan, rolling pin or meat pounder. Small pieces will remain despite your valiant efforts- it adds character. Place the cookies in a separate bowl.
  • Add water to the crushed cookies, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue to add water just until the mixture forms a dough that holds together without crumbling. Knead the dough thoroughly before deciding to add more water. Just keep in mind that it is like when using legal, prescribed drugs: you can always take more, but you cannot take less once they are in your body.
  • Divide the cookie mixture into two, one section slightly larger than the other. Flatten the cookie cakes with your palms to form two ¼” thick cakes larger than the Honey Bun. 
  • Set the Honey Bun on top of the smaller dough cake, with a margin of dough around the edge of the Honey Bun. Drape the larger dough cake over the honey bun and join the edges into the bottom half, pressing together to seal and encase the honeybun to make one hefty cake. 
  • Remove the icing from the bowl and knead with your hands. It should still be a little sticky but will become less so as you mold. Flatten the icing into an oval that is slightly larger than the cake. Place the icing on top of the cake and smooth it down the sides.
  • Cut the cake into 1-inch slices using a sharp knife or metal ruler. A metal ruler works better than a knife, and also - rulers are allowed in prison. When you are finished cutting the cake, put the ruler away or else someone will steal it while your back is turned, just as mine was the last time I made this cake.
  • Pose handsome - the easiest step, just smile, then post. It can be enjoyed as-is, or slices can be warmed in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  • Leftover cake can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for 2 days.


  • Be sure to use an Iced Honey Bun rather than glazed. Honey Buns can be found in the baked snack food aisle of grocery stores. They can also be purchased online.
  • When adding the water to the cookies, do so slowly - you can always add more, but too much water will make the dough too soft.
Keyword cake, dessert, incarceration, prison, recipe, San Quentin

Recipe Photos

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