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Doughnut cake

Updated: Tue, 25 July, 2023

A doughnut of a cake, or a cake made of doughnut: buttery and crunchy with the sugar coating, utterly irresistible.

doughnut cake

Doughnut by name

If you have spotted this recipe and imagined an enormous Krispy Kreme, soaked in icing and still warm from being cooked in tonnes of hot oil – you’re wrong. Obviously.

One of those recipes that promise more than they offer, the ‘doughnut’ cake has vaguely the shape in common with the original article, plus perhaps the sugar coating.

All your hope of a custard filling is lost. There isn’t even any jam, and definitely no inch-thick, sickly icing - just a bit of a sugar crunch.

As The Weather Man wistfully declared, there’s nothing going on there.

doughnut cake with sugar crunch

Doughnut by nature

And yet – of course there is an ‘and yet’, what did you think? It has a very reassuring, comforting, doughnut-related feeling to it when you take a bite.

You almost want to reach for a glass of milk to go with it, even if you’re way past the milk-with-cake age. It smells like a homely doughnut rather than a Dunkin’, which is a good thing.

And of course the best of all: it’s not deep fried in oil, it does not have inch-thick icing and there’s no custard. You can happily have another slice.

buttery doughnut Bundt cake

Dough for the doughnut cake

Doughnuts, which not everyone may realise, are made from yeasty, sweet bread dough. This cake is made with an ordinary sponge batter, moist and tender thanks to the addition of buttermilk.

doughnut cake batter

The recipe comes from NY Times Cooking and I scaled it down as the original makes an absolutely enormous cake.

The method is pretty standard. It starts with creaming the butter and sugar, next eggs are beaten in.

The final stage is adding the dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk.

It’s flavoured with nutmeg which enhances the ‘comfort’ factor of the cake but vanilla can be used instead.

doughnut cake batter in bundt tin

Baking the doughnut

In order to vaguely resemble its namesake, this cake should be baked in a Bundt tin.

Make sure to butter the tin thoroughly, smearing butter into every nook, cranny and ridge. I have some unpleasant experience turning cakes out of Bundt tins (or rather turning out only lower halves).

It bakes for about 45 minutes and then it should cool for at least 15, before the main even of coating it in sugar.

doughnut cake before coating

Sugar-coated cake

This is what gives the cake the doughnut characteristics so don’t you dare skip this step.

It is basically about rolling the whole large Bundt cake in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, if that did not pose the risk of the cake all falling apart.

So instead, the safe option is to sit the cake on a wire rack set on a tray and brush it all over with melted butter. Make sure to re-apply any drippings off the tray.

And then shower the cake with fragrant cinnamon sugar, making sure it sticks to the sides as well as the top.

Aaaand – tuck in!!!

coating doughnut cake in sugar


Obviously, lots of options. You can glaze the cake with chocolate instead of rolling it in sugar and optionally sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. You can add dried cranberries to the batter for a tangy colour pop, or fresh raspberries in season.

If you’d rather lose any connotations with doughnut and just bake the cake in a loaf tin, go for it.

Likewise, an ordinary round cake tin will do, just make sure it’s baked through testing it with a skewer. And then a frosting of vanilla cream cheese might not go amiss.

doughnut cake with sugar coating

More Bundt cake recipes

Ciambella, Italian breakfast lemon cake shaped like a doughnut, with an occasional berry, is the Roman way to meet the day. With a cappuccino and a smile.

Lemon pound cake made with condensed milk. This lemon butter cake is soft and spongy, what some people call ‘a wet cake’ in the best possible meaning. The lemon zest gives it a fantastic flavour.

Peach pound cake is the richest, most buttery and tender crumb made with peach puree, with diced fresh peach embedded in the batter. Jerrelle Guy’s recipe from NY Times Cooking with minor tweaks.

sugar coated bundt doughnut cake

Doughnut cake

Servings: 10-12Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the tin
  • 150g (34 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g (1 34 cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 12 tsp fine sea salt
  • 120ml (12 cup) buttermilk
  • For the topping:
  • 100g (7 tbsp) melted butter
  • 80g (13 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


1. Thoroughly butter a 24cm (9 inch) Bundt tin, making sure every dip and grove is greased. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

2. Beat the butter with the sugar with handheld mixer or in a standing mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

3. Stir the flour together with the nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add half to the mix and beat in on low speed until well combined.

4. Pour in the buttermilk in a steady stream while beating continuously. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat to combine.

5. Spoon the batter into the Bundt tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 15 minutes while you melt the butter. Stir the cinnamon into the sugar.

7. Turn the cake out of the tin onto a wire rack set over a large baking tray; tap the tin gently when you inverted if the cake doesn’t slip out easily. Brush liberally with melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over. Reuse all the sugar spilt onto the baking tray; try to carefully roll the cake in the sugar to coat.

8. Set the cake back on the wire rack to cool completely. It will keep well for several days covered with a lid or in a cake box.

Originally published: Wed, 23 January, 2019

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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