overhead view of glazed donut cake on cooling rack

Brunch Cakes & Cupcakes Currently Craving

Glazed Old Fashioned Donut Cake

January 17, 2022

An oversized glazed old fashioned buttermilk donut cake baked golden brown in a bundt pan. Perfectly moist and tender and […]

An oversized glazed old fashioned buttermilk donut cake baked golden brown in a bundt pan. Perfectly moist and tender and topped with a sweet vanilla drizzle, this donut cake will be a favorite for breakfast or dessert!

overhead view of glazed buttermilk donut cake on cooling rack with knife

January has quickly become one of my favorite months. The mornings are still chilly, the weekends are a little lazy (buh-bye holiday hustle!) and comfy, cozy Saturday brunches are at the top of my to-do list. And if there is ever a time for donuts, it’s definitely brunch, wouldn’t you agree? Everything in the world still seems a little {actually, a lot} upside down at the moment. So I’m thinking it makes perfect sense to bake a giant donut in a bundt pan, flip it over 180 degrees, and drench it in a delicious vanilla glaze.

Umm, H-E-L-L-O!

drizzling glaze over old fashioned donut cake

This glazed old fashioned buttermilk donut cake is basically a ginormous, oversized donut. Made in a bundt pan. Like… my mind is blown!!! Part jumbo baked donut, part moist and tender cake, this bundt is the best of both worlds. The cake bakes up with a giant cracked and crevassed top that is reminiscent of a traditional old fashioned donut. It’s perfect for soaking up all of that delicious, drippy vanilla glaze. I can’t even.

I first saw this cake in Southern Living Magazine and the moment I tasted the moist, tender crumb all I could say was “now why didn’t I think of that?”. It’s brillant and I’m here to tell you it tastes just like the real deal! This cake is the most delightful, perfectly tender, deliciously sweetened bundt cake of your dreams.

Everyone loves a donut and this jumbo glazed donut cake is perfect for any holiday brunch but also pretty okay just hanging around on the kitchen counter any day of the week. Topped with brightly colored candles, it makes a fun and festive birthday cake. Kids and adults will be racing back for a second slice and I promise you won’t have a crumb left.

If you do, call me. I’ll be right over!

glazed donut cake cooling on rack

What makes this donut cake so good?

  • It’s a giant old fashioned donut! Do I really need to say anything more? I think we can all agree that old fashioned donuts are the best donuts ever. They have that soft, cake-like interior and a sweet, crackly glaze I cannot resist. The only thing better than an old fashioned donut is a JUMBO old fashioned donut, amiright? 
  • No frying required. The best part about this cake, aside from how delicious it tastes, is that it’s so much easier to make than regular old fashioned donuts. And I think it tastes even better! Old fashioned donuts require mixing, resting and frying dough. They can be time consuming and they really do taste best straight from the fryer. This bundt is a thousand times easier to make with minimal mess. Music to my ears! 
  • It has the most delicious flavor. This irresistible cake is made with a generous sprinkling of nutmeg and I switched things up and added in a dash of cardamom. The subtle spices give this bundt that signature old fashioned donut flavor that will have you swooning! Not to mention that your kitchen will smell like an actual donut shop. Or is it doughnut shop? Either way, it’s pure heaven!! If you look real close, you’ll see those tiny nutmeg specks in the crumb of the cake. A teaspoon or two of vanilla bean paste would make the glaze even more delicious, if that’s even possible!
  • It’s ready in under an hour. It’s no secret how much I love a bundt cake. They are easy to make and don’t require any fancy frosting skills. This bundt can be whipped up and baked in less than an hour which means you’ll be enjoyed a warm slice of this buttermilk donut beauty in no time. You know that golden rule I’m always reminding you of? The one that says to let your bundt cake cool completely before adding the glaze?? Yeah, well, you may just have to throw that out the window because this bundt is all kinds of crazy good served warm from the oven. There is seriously nothing better!

Ingredients you need

I love a cake that is as easy as it is delicious. You can bake this cake in under an hour with just a handful of basic ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Flour – For best results, measure your flour using a digital kitchen scale. Too much flour can result in a dry cake so I always recommend being as accurate as possible when measuring dry ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, use the spoon-and-level method to measure the flour. First, fluff the flour in the bag or canister with a fork. Then use a large spoon to transfer the flour into a measuring cup, being careful to not pack down the flour. Over fill the cup slightly and then use the flat back side of a knife to sweep the excess flour off the top of the measuring cup. 
  • Butter – Two sticks of room temperature, unsalted butter make for one very delicious cake. Leave your butter out on the counter about an hour before baking. 
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar gives the cake flavor and texture and confectioners sugar in the glaze adds extra sweetness. For a silky smooth glaze, always be sure to sift the confectioners sugar.
  • Eggs – We’ll use 4 large eggs for a soft and tender crumb that stays moist for days. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – a combination gives this bundt a soft, cakey donut texture. 
  • Sour cream – Be sure to reach for full fat sour cream. If you don’t have sour cream on hand, plain Greek yogurt will work in a pinch!
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds a hint of tang to balance the sweetness in the cake. Don’t substitute with regular milk. 
  • Spices – A dash of nutmeg and cardamom give this cake a fresh from the donut shop flavor that you’ll love!

cross section view of donut bundt cake with glaze

How to make a donut cake

This cake is so simple to make with just a few easy steps. 

Step 1: Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Step 2: Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at time. until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla) and mix to combine. 

Step 3: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk and sour cream. Make sure your buttermilk and sour cream are at room temperature. Mix on low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.

donut cake in bundt pan

Step 4: Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan, using a spatula to level the top. 

Step 5: Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. Keep an eye on your oven and do not over bake or the cake will be dry.

Step 6: Remove the cake from the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. At exactly 10 minutes, invert the cake onto a cooling rack or platter. Then flip the cake over 180° again so that the bottom of the cake is now the top. Allow to cool completely before adding the vanilla glaze. 

Tips for the best cake

This is the perfect cake to whip up on a whim for breakfast or dessert. Follow these three tips for the very best donut cake every time. 

  • Prep your pan. This brilliant donut cake is baked in an ordinary bundt pan. I can’t recommend Nordic Ware bundt pans enough. Their quality is just the best and they have so many designs to choose from. Any bundt pan will do for this donut cake but the simpler, the better. Grease your bundt pan generously with non-stick baking spray, being careful that no puddles of oil collect in the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a bundt pan yet, this one is my favorite.
  • Make it extra moist. This cake is super tender and the crumb is perfectly light and fluffy thanks to the addition of both buttermilk and sour cream. The original recipe calls for buttermilk alone but I rarely make a cake nowadays without adding a little sour cream or full-fat yogurt to the batter. It guarantees a super moist cake and the acidity helps give the cake a higher rise. 
  • Don’t skimp on the glaze. This donut bundt has the most amazing flavor all on its own, but the simple powdered sugar glaze is literally the icing on the cake that really makes this taste like a real donut. I changed up the recipe a tad and used whole milk instead of water for a thicker glaze. It tastes exactly like a glazed old fashioned donut from your favorite donut shop! Be sure to drizzle or spoon the glaze over the top of the cooled cake and don’t forget to cover the sides for extra deliciousness. 

How to make a vanilla glaze

With just 3 ingredients, a bowl and whisk, this glaze could not be easier to make. Simply whisk together the sifted confectioners sugar, whole milk and vanilla. Don’t forget to sift the sugar first for a silky smooth glaze. This icing is very forgiving so if you find it’s too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more confectioners sugar. Once it’s thick, but pourable, drizzle it over the cooled cake. 

how to make vanilla glaze for donut cake

pouring glaze over cooled buttermilk donut cake

How to store 

Just like a freshly baked donut, this old fashioned donut bundt cake is best enjoyed the day it is made. Properly stored, it’s still pretty irresistible the second day once all of the flavors have a had a chance to marry together and the glaze has had time to sink in. Keep the cake tightly covered and store at room temperature for up to 4 days. To freeze the cake, cool the bundt completely and then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil. Freeze, unglazed, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature and then drizzle with vanilla glaze just before serving. Tah-dah, breakfast is served!

slices of buttermilk donut cake

Variations

A drizzle of simple vanilla glaze is my favorite way to top this cake. But here are a few more ideas that would be equally delicious. 

  • Cinnamon sugar. Mix 2/3 cup granulated sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Coat the cake with 2 tablespoons of melted butter while warm and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the top and sides of the cake. 
  • Powdered sugar. Sift confectioners sugar over the top of the cooled cake.
  • Lemon glaze. For a hint of citrus flavor, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest to the vanilla glaze.
  • Jam or jelly. Slice and serve with a dollop of fresh strawberry jam or jelly. 

close up view of glazed donut cake

This giant old fashioned donut cake is a thing of magic and I know you’re going to love it as much as I do. I hope you’ll add it your weekend brunch menu. Or bookmark the recipe for Easter Sunday, a quick weeknight dessert, or a even coffee break. Just find a reason to bake this cake. I say “just because” is reason enough.

Happy baking!

If you love donuts {and cake!}, you’ll love these recipes:

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glazed donut cake on cooling rack

Glazed Old Fashioned Donut Cake Recipe

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: Cakes & Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

An oversized glazed old fashioned buttermilk donut cake baked golden brown in a bundt pan. Perfectly moist and tender and topped with a sweet vanilla drizzle, this donut cake will be a favorite for breakfast or dessert!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 (300 g) cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 1/2 cups (440 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

For Glaze

  • 3 cups (360 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/31/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 10-12 cup bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium high speed until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl halfway through.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix until just combined.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the buttermilk and sour cream. Mix until just barely combined with a few streaks of flour remaining. Do not over mix.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir once or twice with a rubber spatula being sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
  9. Tap pan firmly on the countertop 3 times to release any air bubbles.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking. Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool slightly. Set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, invert the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack or cake platter and then gently flip the cake back over so that the rough side is facing up.
  12. Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.

For Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and pourable. If glaze is too thin, add more confectioners sugar. If too thick, add more milk.
  2. Drizzle or brush over the cooled cake, being sure to drench the top and sides of the cake. The glaze will harden as it sits. For best results, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Notes

  • Store cake tightly covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze the cake, cool completely and then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Do not glaze the cake before freezing. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and then glaze before serving.
  • Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

Keywords: donut cake, doughnut cake, old fashioned donut cake, donut cake recipe

 

 

 

  • Reply
    Sarah B.
    January 28, 2024 at 5:23 pm

    My new go-to coffee cake! Made some substitutions to make it dairy-free (oat-based yogurt substitute, oat milk with some ACV) and it is still moist and cakey. I will maybe do all yogurt next time? The bite around the outer edge of the pan is my favourite!

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 19, 2024 at 8:06 pm

    Wonderful and delicious cake! Came together quick and easy once the butter softened! The flavor was just like an old-fashioned doughnut and the crumb of the cake was tender and delicious! We ate it all up! The two pieces lasted second day. So you better act quick if you want to savor a piece!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 22, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    My family loves cake donuts so I had to try this recipe. Easy and baked up beautifully. While it was delicious I was disappointed that it didn’t taste like a donut. Much more like a lite spice cake with a donut glaze. I may try it again but cut the amount of nutmeg!

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 5, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes? Do you know approx how long I should bake them?

  • Reply
    Anne
    December 13, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    I followed this recipe exactly and it looks beautiful, just like yours and the frosting is just like a donut but the cake itself has no real sweetness and I’m not sure what I could have done wrong. I’m tempted to try again as it looks so beautiful…maybe increase sugar? Any suggestions would be appreciated

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      December 13, 2022 at 10:44 pm

      Hi Anne, the cake itself is not overly sweet but the frosting adds a nice dose of sweetness. If you like your cake extra sweet, add another few tablespoons of sugar (up to a 1/4 cup). Thanks for trying my recipe!

  • Reply
    Irene Lappas
    September 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm

    I just made this cake but don’t plan on serving it until tomorrow. Do you recommend that I glaze it today or tomorrow?

  • Reply
    Gail
    August 28, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Absolutely delicious cake, what a great blend of flavors! Followed the recipe exact and baked 50 mins. I lightly covered the pan with foil for the last 10 minutes.

  • Reply
    Mandy
    March 31, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    So easy to put together and seriously tastes exactly like an old fashioned donut! Was a huge hit with the family!

  • Reply
    Kristina
    February 9, 2022 at 12:55 am

    I made this cake for my family this past Sunday and it was quickly devoured. My teenager sliced himself an extra piece to “hide in the fridge” for breakfast the next morning. My 2 year old nephew ate it and said “mmmm” after ever bite. It was a huge hit and I forsee a lot of requests for it in the future. Super easy recipe to follow and basic ingredients. Such a fun dessert.

  • Reply
    Kate Horwitz
    February 6, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    I’m a huge fan of doughnuts, although I rarely eat them. Old fashioned doughnuts were a fav of mine as a kid, so this recipe caught me eye. The cake was easy to make and the flavors were perfectly layered. I added lemon to the glaze and it was just delicious. I did slightly overcook it, as I didn’t have a toothpick to check if it was done. Next time I make it, I won’t make that mistake.

  • Reply
    Terri
    February 4, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    This cake is amazing! Tastes wonderful! Followed directions exactly. Pretty easy to make. I took the advice on the freezing half idea, wrapped it exactly as directed. The cake is so yummy and I will
    definitely make it again!

  • Reply
    Suzie
    January 21, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    Yum, this donut cake would be the perfect Sunday morning breakfast treat. Can’t wait to make this!

  • Reply
    Aldale
    January 18, 2022 at 11:43 pm

    Very nice. Just made this tonight and it was a hit with my family.
    However, I had to bake it for another 20 or so minutes to get it fully baked. All in all, a keeper!

  • Reply
    Sophie
    January 18, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    Made it and absolutely amazing! Delicious!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      January 19, 2022 at 2:57 am

      Yay! So glad you love it too!!

  • Reply
    Emily Peers
    October 2, 2021 at 12:59 am

    This literally tastes just like an old fashioned donut! It’s moist and fluffy and disappears fast around this house! Will definitely make this again!

  • Reply
    Kristin Hensley
    April 21, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    I made this cake for Easter and loved it! The recipe was so easy to follow and it turned out beautifully! So delicious! I have never used Greek yogurt in a recipe before – a great trick as the cake was super moist. I will definitely make this again!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 22, 2020 at 3:50 am

      I’m so happy you loved this bundt!!

  • Reply
    Sheri
    April 20, 2020 at 3:41 am

    Made this today and worried I over mixed the batter as it was thick and elastic, but it came out wonderfully! It rose very well and was moist and delicious. Thanks for the recipe, it helped cure my donut craving during this quarantine!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 21, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      I’m so happy you loved this cake! Thanks for trying my recipe!!

  • Reply
    Aliyah
    April 19, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    If halved, what kind of pan do you suggest? Or could I do multiple cakes with the original amount? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 22, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      This donut cake really only works in a bundt or tube pan. This helps to get that signature crackled top that holds all that glaze so nicely. And I haven’t halved this recipe so I can’t speak to how that would turn out.

  • Reply
    Tess
    April 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Do you recommend a spice to substitute for nutmeg? I have a severe nutmeg allergy!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that….the nutmeg definitely contributes to that signature buttermilk old fashioned donut flavor but this cake will still taste delicious without it. Your best bet is to leave out the nutmeg and maybe add some cinnamon instead. You may want to add a little more cardamom too. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Kali
    April 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Cannot wait to bake this!! Do you think I could prep the batter the night before and bake the next morning? Appreciate any advice if there is an opportunity to prepare anything in advance (as I attempt to make this with a newborn 🙂 ).

    Thanks!
    Kali

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 11, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Kali! I’d love to say yes but unfortunately, your leavener will not work correctly if it sits in a wet batter overnight. Your best bet is to mix up your dry ingredients and cover tightly overnight. Then just throw together the wet ingredients and combine them in the morning. It takes just a few minutes and you’ll be so happy when you serve up that warm donut cake. Enjoy!

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