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A Donut Cake So Good Your Boxed Cakes Will Be Jealous

A donut cake that will make all those box cakes in your cabinets green with envy.

This cake is so good. And, it is a donut! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about combining my two favorite birthday treats.

A donut + A cake. I mean, who needs anything else but this donut birthday cake recipe for celebrating a birthday with the brightest fun possible.

Now… to find more birthdays I can make this for.

Donut Cake

Donuts have been around for a very long time; remember when we did this donut tree forever ago?

I’ve loved seeing all the new ways bloggers are creating and displaying these yummy goodies – donut cookies, donut Valentines and donut balloons – this sweet trend of making a donut birthday cake is surely sticking around.

And of course, I’ve always loved the concept of a cake of doughnuts! I mean could there be anything more wonderful for celebrating a birthday?

With birthday season in the full-go mode this time of year, I thought it would be fun to a variation of the donut cake for our party cake series… but instead of stacking donuts, why not just make a HUGE cake that is actually a real-life donut?

A donut cake in the most literal form. Yum!

Donut Birthday Cake
A Donut Cake
Donut cake recipe

Donut Cake

Making a donut cake is easier than making actual donuts I think. The recipe is for a cake-like giant donut (the best kind of donut anyway!) made in large form to create a full life-sized donut birthday cake.

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Donut Cake Birthday

A birthday donut cake that will give anyone the sweetest way to be celebrated.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword birthday, cake, Donut
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 215 kcal


To make the donut cake

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature.

For the sweet donut glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 drops of pink food coloring
  • Sprinkles for decorating


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Butter and flour a tube pan, set aside.

To make the cake

  1. Start by beating the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla – beating to incorporate after each addition.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour.
  6. Incorporate each addition well before adding the next, but don’t over-beat mixture. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool.

To prepare the glaze

  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and food coloring in a bowl.
  2. Adjust consistency of the glaze, by adding a small amount of sugar if it’s too watery, or adding water if looks too thick.
  3. Pour the glaze over the cake and add sprinkles, candles, or jimmies.
Nutrition Facts
Donut Cake Birthday
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 215
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A Donut Cake

For the sweet donut glaze, you’ll follow the directions above and be sure to follow our tips on how to make donut glaze that is colorful & bright.

Let the donut cake cool completely before frosting for the best-looking donut cake around.

Pour the glaze over the cake and add sprinkles, candles, or jimmies. Enjoy a birthday treat that everyone will love!

Photography and styling by Athena Plichta. Creative direction by Victoria Hudgins for A Subtle Revelry. Recipe adapted from Catherine Newman.


  • Rebecca
    January 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

    this cake looks amazing! I seriously need to try this.

  • heidi @ a week from thursday
    January 21, 2014 at 9:22 am

    This is just so, so pretty. What a great idea for a birthday cake. Thanks for sharing.

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    January 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

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  • Brynn
    January 22, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I love this idea! Such a great way to turn a basic cake into a celebration!

  • [email protected]
    January 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

    This is adorable. I love it!

  • Tyler Anne
    January 22, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Best. Post. Ever.
    Where’s my coffee? I’ll definitely need it with this! #yum

  • Alison Dulaney
    January 24, 2014 at 7:36 am

    An extra large donut sounds delicious!

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  • Yulia
    March 19, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Was looking for a donut cake recipe and this one seems like a good possibility, but I wish there were reviews from people who have made it. Is a “stick” a unit of measurement–does it mean 1/2 cup butter? And what is the texture of the cake like? Thanks. :)

    • Jenny
      November 15, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      We made this cake yesterday. It was pretty good, but we all agreed it didn’t really taste like a typical donut or a typical cake. A stick of butter is 8 Tablespoons or 4 ounces (1/4 cup).

  • Lauren Buchan
    April 25, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Where did you get that wire cake stand from? It is so cute!

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