Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake

3.5
(17)

All the flavor of a favorite glazed donut, but in a sliceable, shareable format.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
Yield:
Serves 12 (serving size: 1 slice)

Even though this dessert looks like it came from your local donut shop, the oversized "donut" is actually a delicious glazed pound cake. This memorable cake is made with added leavening, which gives the dessert a cracked appearance similar to an old-fashioned donut. It is also baked in a standard Bundt pan, which provides it with a realistic donut shape.

Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
Photographer Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

What Are the Ingredients in a Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake?

The cake's ingredients are characteristic of a classic pound cake, which includes sugar, butter, eggs, all-purpose flour, and vanilla extract. One quality that makes this donut cake unique is the addition of leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder), which give the cake additional rise and create a cracked, old-fashioned donut-style appearance. This recipe also includes ground nutmeg, the distinctive flavoring in old-fashioned donuts, and buttermilk, which provides a tangy note to balance the sweet flavor of the cake and the glaze topping.

Is There a Particular Type of Pan I Should Use?

This recipe calls for a standard Bundt pan. Any Bundt pan will work well, but keeping it as basic as possible is ideal since this cake is served upside down, giving it a distinct donut shape.

As with all baking in Bundt pans, ensuring the pan is greased well and lightly floured before adding the batter for baking will help ensure the cake doesn't stick when unmolding.

How To Make This Donut Cake

If you've made a pound cake before, you'll recognize the easy steps of this donut cake:

Step 1. Combine dry and wet

Start by beating the sugar and butter together in an electric stand mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Whisk until just combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl's sides regularly to ensure everything is well incorporated.

ingredients for Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist Christina Dailey

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together, and alternate adding this to the butter mixture with the buttermilk, continuing to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.

batter for Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
Photographer Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Step 2. Add to pan

Once everything is combined, spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles.

batter in bundt pan
Photographer Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Step 3. Bake

Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes (or until a cake tester comes out clean) Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Invert the cake out of the pan, then flip it back over so the rough side faces up. Let the cake cool completely, or for about an hour.

glaze in a bowl beside a cake
Photographer Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Step 4. Add glaze

Whisk together powdered sugar and water until smooth, and brush over the top and sides of the cooled cake. Apply a few layers of the glaze to get the extra crackle of sugary crust.

glazed buttermilk cake
Photographer Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Does This Donut Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?

As with most pound cake recipes, a fantastic quality of this cake is its flexibility in storing and serving. Once the cake has been made, it can be covered and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, and it also freezes well in case you are baking in advance.

If you are baking in advance, wait to add the glaze to the top of the cake until you plan to serve since the sugar can be affected by the humidity in the fridge and the defrosting process if frozen.

How To Serve This Cake

This oversized "donut" is served best at room temperature. It will surely be a hit at any gathering; it makes a perfect addition to a brunch event or can be topped with candles for any donut-loving person for their birthday party.

If you'd like to add an extra component, this cake could be served with a fruit sauce, fresh berries, or fun additions you would typically find on donuts, like sprinkles, toasted nuts, or crushed candy bars.

The most important element of this cake is the powdered sugar glaze, which is a simple addition yet creates a shiny coating that makes this cake look like a larger-than-life donut. Be sure to add the glaze over the entire cooled cake, including the sides.

Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Dickey, Prop Styling: Kay E Clarke

Tips for a Successful Donut Cake

Let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze to the top and sides. If the cake is still warm, the glaze could have difficulty adhering to the sides of the cake by running off, or it could absorb the sugar glaze, which would affect the cake's texture.

The correct amount of butter and buttermilk is essential for a moist and tender donut cake. Make sure you note that an entire cup of butter (equal to 2 standard sticks or 8 ounces) and, if possible, using whole buttermilk compared to low-fat buttermilk will ensure that your cake has the desired texture and flavor.

Editorial contributions by Nik Pugmire.

Ingredients

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 1/2 cups (about 14 7/8 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 2 cups (about 8 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12- to 15-cup Bundt pan with baking spray.

  2. Beat granulated sugar and butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until just combined.

  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda in a medium bowl. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared pan; gently tap on counter 3 to 5 times to release air bubbles.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Invert cake out of pan onto a cutting board or platter, then gently flip cake back over so rough side is facing up. Let cool on wire rack completely, about 1 hour.

  5. Whisk together powdered sugar and water in a medium bowl until smooth. Brush over cooled cake. Slice and serve.

    Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
    Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Dickey, Prop Styling: Kay E Clarke
Updated by
Nik Pugmire
Nik Pugmire

Nik Pugmire is a reputable pastry chef, sharing his expertise gained from personal experience working in professional pastry kitchens and bakeries for over 15 years. With formal education, practical skills, and a deep passion for culinary arts, he aims to help share that love and knowledge through his writing.

Related Articles