It’s a donut! It’s a cake! It’s both! This oversized, old-fashioned glazed donut cake is baked in a Bundt pan for a party-ready dessert (or breakfast) that’s reminiscent in both flavor and texture of the classic donut, no frying necessary. Are you ready for this? You’re totally ready for this.

slices of donut cake taken out of cake on a cooling rack

Donut Cake Recipe

This week marks a full two weeks of birthday celebrations in our household — the annual “Birthday-stravaganza,” if you will. Addy just turned five (FIVE, HOW) on Wednesday, I turn 35 on Mother’s Day, and Avery turns eight on May 9. It’s a lot of balloons and streamers and singing and candle-blowing and present-opening and general merry-making for a whirlwind 13 days, and it’s so fun.

Truth be told, my daughter requested a cat cake for her birthday so we didn’t have this donut cake as her birthday cake, BUT we did eat it for breakfast instead! And I may or may not need to put it on repeat for my own birthday, along with my olive oil cake! We topped slices with whipped cream and sprinkles and it was the perfect way to start my girl’s special day. Henceforth, this donut cake is guaranteed to be a part of our birthday traditions in some way.

Here is what you can expect from this fabulously oversized donut of a cake:

  • A dense, tender crumb reminiscent of a classic cake donut
  • Lightly spiced flavor throughout with a hint of tang from buttermilk
  • A sweet and simple glazed exterior
  • A fun recipe that’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or all of the above
  • A new way to use your Bundt pan!

Check out these Baked Donuts too!

donut cake on a cooling rack

Best Ingredients for Donut Cake

Here is what we are going for with this cake: a recipe that equally tastes and looks like a donut and a cake at the same time. How do we do it? We start with the right ingredients, of course. Here is what you’ll need to make this old-fashioned glazed donut cake:

  • Butter, for baking the cake and brushing on the outsides to give it extra flavor and moistness
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg, to bring out that classic donut flavor
  • Buttermilk, for leavening and a tangy flavor
  • Powdered sugar + milk for that lovely glaze!

I love this recipe because while it packs a punch in the presentation department, the ingredient list is very accessible and pantry-friendly. All that’s left to do is bake!

slices of donut cake on a cooling rack

How to Make This Recipe

As per usual, please scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe + directions, but here is a basic overview of how to bring this donut cake into your life:

  • Step One: Make the batter. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add them to the batter along with the buttermilk, in batches.
  • Step Two: Bake the cake. Pour and spread the cake batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan, and tap on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake until the edges are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.
  • Step Three: Brush the cake and cool. Brush the outsides of the warm cake with melted butter (this gives the cake extra donut-like flavor and moistness). Allow the cake to cool completely on the cooling rack (about 1 hour).
  • Step Four: Make the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar and milk together in a bowl, then brush the tops and sides of the fully cooled cake with the glaze. Brushing it over the cake, rather than spooning it on, makes the cake look like it’s been dipped in glaze just like a regular old-fashioned donut!
  • Step Five: Set and slice! Let the icing set completely (about 15 minutes), then slice and serve!

How To Serve Donut Cake

This cake tastes really, really, ridiculously good on its own, but if you feel like leveling up, here are a few ways to serve this cake:

  • Top it with sprinkles just after adding the glaze (before it sets!)
  • Serve with a dollop of whipped cream
  • Add a spoonful of jam for a “jelly donut” cake slice
  • Serve with a scoop of ice cream, because you can

Can I Freeze This Cake?

Yes! Donut cake is easy to freeze. Once the cake is baked and fully cooled (but not yet glazed), wrap it very tightly in plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then remove from the fridge a few hours before serving (this cake tastes best at room temperature). Top with the glaze, let the glaze set, then slice and serve.

slices of donut cake on plates

Any Ingredient Swaps I Can Make?

For best results, I always recommend making the recipe as written so you can enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. That said, I know there are always reasons for substitutions and swaps, and this cake is very forgiving. Here are some easy swaps to make that will still make for a tasty cake:

  • Swap the all-purpose flour for gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill’s)
  • Adjust the spices as desired (NOTE: Nutmeg is a critical ingredient to making this cake taste like a true donut, so I don’t recommend leaving it out unless you must! But you can increase the amount of cinnamon and reduce the amount of nutmeg, or vice versa, to suit your tastes)
  • Swap the buttermilk for a homemade version! To do so, pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a 1-cup measuring cup; fill to the top with regular milk. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then voila! Homemade buttermilk substitute, ready to go.
  • Add a hint of flavor to the glaze. Maybe add a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a splash of vanilla extract. Have fun and experiment!

Whether you’ve got a birthday coming up or any excuse for a celebration (or just a craving for a good ol’ homemade donut), this donut cake recipe is ready to step up to the occasion.

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donut cake with slices cut out of it

Donut Cake

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  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Is it a donut, or is it cake? Surprise–it’s both! This simple Bundt cake has the same taste and texture as an old-fashioned donut with a sweet icing to seal the deal. Serve for breakfast or dessert (or both!).


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. First, make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 12-cup Bundt pan generously with baking spray, or grease the bottom and sides with butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat 1 cup softened butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. Stir into butter mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, until a smooth, thick batter forms.
  4. Pour and spread batter into prepared Bundt pan; tap a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the edges of the cake are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack. Use a pastry brush to brush 1/4 cup melted butter all over bottom and sides of warm cake. Cool completely.
  5. Once the cake is fully cooled, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until a smooth, drippy glaze forms. Use a pastry brush to brush icing all over bottom and sides of cooled cake. Allow to set completely before slicing, about 15 minutes.

Notes

  • Store leftover cake tightly covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

More Donut Recipes!