powdered sugar donut cake recipe

Cakes & Cupcakes Seasonal

Powdered Sugar Donut Cake

March 12, 2024

I am having a moment with donut cakes and nothing makes me happier. Donuts were one of my favorite treats […]

cross section of powdered donut cake on round vintage wire cooling rack

I am having a moment with donut cakes and nothing makes me happier. Donuts were one of my favorite treats as a kid and I’ve been taking a little walk down memory lane recreating my favorite donut flavors in cake form. This Chocolate Donut Cake is a chocolate lover’s dream and my Frosted Donut Cake is as pretty as it is delicious! And we can’t forget about this classic Old Fashioned Donut Cake. Always a hit! I’ve got even more donut cakes in the works but I’m not sure if any of them will beat this impossibly delicious, super nostalgic, Powdered Sugar Donut Cake. Made with plenty of butter, the perfect hint of nutmeg and covered in a thick layer of powdered sugar, this donut cake is a thing of magic!

slices of donut cake dusted with powdered sugar

Why is this donut cake so good?

I could go on and on (and on!) about how good this donut cake is. Every bite makes you feel like a kid again and who doesn’t love a donut in cake form? Whether you call it doughnut or donut, here’s why you’ll love this cake:

Easy to make. This homemade donut cake comes together in just 3 easy steps….mix, bake and sprinkle with powered sugar. No frying necessary! It’s a fun recipe to make with kids (of all ages!).

Delicious flavor and texture. This cake tastes exactly like the pretty little powdered sugar donuts we all know and love from our childhood. The crumb is soft and not too dense and you’ll enjoy a hint of that classic nutmeg flavor in every bite. This is the ultimate snack cake!

Perfect for brunch and dessert! When it comes to donut cakes, there are no rules. Enjoy this cake for breakfast, dessert and everything in between!

close up of sliced powdered sugar donut cake with glass of milk in background

Ingredients

This easy donut cake comes together with just a handful of pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour – nothing fancy here – we’re using regular all-purpose flour. Make sure to weigh your flour for best results!
  • Butter – unsalted butter works best here. Set your butter out about an hour before baking to reach room temperature.
  • Sugar – the recipe calls for both granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Don’t forget to sift the powdered sugar first to eliminate any lumps and bumps.
  • Eggs – set your eggs out with the butter in advance or if in a pinch, set them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to reach room temperature.
  • Sour Cream and whole milk- like the butter, be sure your sour cream and whole milk are at room temperature. If you don’t have sour cream, full fat Greek yogurts works well too.
  • Vanilla – just a splash of high quality vanilla gives an added depth of flavor.
  • Nutmeg – this is the key ingredient to that favorite childhood donut flavor!
ingredients for powdered donut cake

How to make powdered donut cake from scratch

This cake could not be easier to make – and it’s fun too! This homemade donut cake beats any store-bought donut and you can make it in minutes with no fancy equipment. Don’t have a stand mixer? No problem. You can use a hand-held mixer or just a bowl and a whisk. Follow this simple step-by-step guide and check the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a 10-cup tube pan and non-stick baking spray. Wait to grease the pan until just before adding the batter.

Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Step 3: Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix well to incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla, mixing to combine.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and sour cream. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more, being careful not to over mix.

how to make powdered sugar donut cake with a stand mixer

Step 5: Generously spray the sides and bottom of the tube pan with non-stick baking spray. Transfer the batter to the pan, leveling the top gently with a spatula or spoon.

Step 6: Set the pan on a large baking sheet and bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.

powdered donut cake in a tube pan before and after baking

Step 7: Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes exactly. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. After 10 minutes, lift the cake out of the tube using the center hole. Rest the cake on a wire rack until cool to the touch, about 1 hour.

Step 8: Brush the top and sides of the cake with melted butter and then dust with a generous layer of powdered sugar. The first layer will melt in to the cake a bit, so keep adding more layers as you go. Slice and enjoy!

brushing donut cake with melted butter and topping with powdered sugar

Tips for the best donut cake

There’s a lot to love about this donut cake, not the least of which is that it’s practically foolproof. Because there’s no fancy decorating involved, it’s perfect for bakers of all levels. Follow these tips and tricks for the best donut cake ever.

Use room temperature ingredients. For best results, make sure that your butter, eggs, milk and sour cream are all at room temperature before mixing the batter. Cold ingredients will not incorporate well which can alter the texture of the cake.

Do not over mix. For a soft and fluffy cake with a tender crumb, keep the mixing to a minimum. Over mixing the batter can lead to a tough, dense texture.

Do not over bake. Keep your eye on the oven to be sure the cake does not over bake. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly towards the end of the baking time, cover it loosely with a large piece of aluminum foil. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining.

Don’t skimp on the powdered sugar. This is a powdered sugar donut cake after all. Just like the nostalgic donuts from childhood, you want this cake to be generously dusted in powdered sugar so that it forms a thick layer on top.

overhead view of powdered sugar donut cake slices on wire cooling rack

How to store

If you don’t eat every last crumb of this cake in one sitting, store any left overs tightly covered at room temperature. The cake will stay fresh and moist for up to 4 days. The cake freezes well too! Pop any extra slices in two layers of plastic wrap and place in a large freezer bag. Defrost at room temperature before serving.

slices of cake topped with confectioners' sugar

Happy baking!

Looking for more delicious donut cake recipes? You’ll love these:

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powdered sugar donut cake recipe

Powdered Sugar Donut Cake Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: Cakes & Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This powdered sugar donut cake has all the deliciousness of your favorite childhood donut without the fuss of frying. Made with the perfect hint of nutmeg and a thick layer of powdered sugar, this nostalgic cake is easy to make and fun to eat!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For Cake

  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups (345 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream, room temperature (can substitute with full fat Greek yogurt)

For Powdered Sugar Topping

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted (or more if desired)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a 10-cup tube pan and non-stick baking spray. Wait to grease the pan until just before adding the batter.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix well to incorporate after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla, mixing to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and sour cream. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more, being careful not to over mix.
  • Generously spray the sides and bottom of the tube pan with non-stick baking spray. Be careful that the spray doesn’t pool in the bottom of the pan. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, leveling the top gently with a spatula or spoon.
  • Set the pan on a large baking sheet and bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 to 48 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes exactly. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. After 10 minutes, lift the cake out of the tube using the center hole. Rest the cake (still sitting on the bottom of the tube pan) on a wire rack until cool to the touch, about 1 hour. After the cake is cool to the touch, carefully lift it off of the tube pan bottom and set on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Be sure the cake is completely cool before dusting with powdered sugar.
  • Brush the top and sides of the cake with melted butter and then dust with a generous layer of powdered sugar. The first layer will melt in to the cake a bit, so keep adding more layers as you go until the cake is completely covered in sugar. The excess powdered sugar will fall onto the sheet pan below.

 

 


Notes

Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

May be frozen.

**Recipe concept inspired by Yossy Arefi.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 24, 2024 at 1:07 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try it! Is it possible to bake in a 9×13 pan?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      March 24, 2024 at 5:44 pm

      Yes! That works!!

  • Reply
    Joann
    March 24, 2024 at 10:21 am

    Delicious I’m going to make it again for Easter.






  • Reply
    Jen
    March 20, 2024 at 2:56 am

    This cake is beyond delicious. My whole family loves it and it doesn’t last more than a day! It is also so pretty in the Bundt pan shapes. Epic cake!






  • Reply
    Catherine
    March 18, 2024 at 4:44 pm

    I divided the batter between a small-ish Bundt tin and a ceramic pudding form. Both were good, but I definitely like the pudding version better as it really looks like an oversized donut. I added some cinnamon and loved it: taste and texture of the cake are great and the recipe is as simple as they come. No frills, no fuss. Be careful not to overbake as it will be on the dry side… however, nothing a bit of whipped cream can’t fix.






  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 13, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    Can you make this in a Bundt pan if you do not have a tube pan?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      March 13, 2024 at 6:04 pm

      Yes, absolutely!

    • Reply
      ayc
      March 17, 2024 at 8:35 am

      I made it in a Bundt pan yesterday & it came out great! I did not use baking spray because I did not have any but I used the method I always use with that Bundt pan (a layer of Crisco shortening w/a layer of flour dusted over it) and removed it from the pan promptly after 10 minutes of cooling in pan on a wire rack like the directions say: it slid right out!






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