Maple Donut Cake Recipe for Donut Lovers

This maple donut cake recipe was created because mr. uglyducklingbakery is a donut lover. And he wanted Father’s Day donuts for the reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 25 – bagels and doughnuts.

Speaking of which, do you know why seagulls fly over the sea?

Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be called bagels.

A maple donut cake and a few slices on a cake stand on a purple cloth

Ba dum cha!

I’ve made lots of bagels in my life, but I’ve been resistant to deep frying for health reasons. But then someone introduced me to the old-fashioned donut cake.

This recipe is adapted from an old-fashioned doughnut bundt cake recipe by Erin McDowell. While this maple-glazed buttermilk donut cake won’t fool your donut lovers, it will satisfy your donut cravings.

And don’t blame me if you find yourself eating the maple glaze drippings with a spoon.

a series of three pictures of the maple donut cake in process from the batter in the pan to the baked cake in the pan to the cake out of the pan

This pan, a savarin mold, was previously my mother’s. Isn’t it perfect for a doughnut cake?

Because the pan holds only about 6 cups, this adaptation cut the New York Times recipe in half, among other things. The batter filled pan about half full.

The smooth sides of the savarin pan and a liberal coating of butter and flour resulted in an easy release of the cake. If you are using a more detailed cake pan, be sure to butter and flour VERY well.

FAQs about this maple donut cake recipe

Donut or doughnut?

It appears that Merriam-Webster considers “doughnut” the preferred spelling, although “donut” is an acceptable alternative.

What’s an old-fashioned donut?

A cake donut is a donut leavened with baking powder instead of yeast. An old-fashioned donut is a type of cake donut usually made with buttermilk.

Do I have to weigh out my ingredients?

No. But there is so much variation in how people measure that you are much more likely to get a reliable result if you weigh your ingredients. I still have a deal that I’ll send a basic kitchen scale to the first ten U.S. readers who sign up for my newsletter and leave a comment to promise they will start weighing out all of their ingredients!

Can I freeze this cake?

Yes, you can freeze the completed cake, though if you can it would be better to freeze the whole cooled cake prior to glazing. Wrap it well in a double layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil.

Can make a different glaze other than maple?

Of course. So many options, all so easy to do. Just start with confectioner’s sugar and add flavoring (e.g. vanilla) and a bit of liquid (e.g. milk or cream or lemon juice or orange juice or…) until it’s a pourable consistency.

What do I do if I don’t have a 6 cup bundt or similar pan?

If you have a bundt pan that holds 12-15 cups, just double the recipe, and expect that the cake will need to bake for longer. That’s 45-55 minutes according to the NY Times recipe. Or make donut muffins. Muffins will have a shorter baking time, usually 15-20 minutes.

a maple donut cake on a cooling rack dripping with maple glaze

Maple donut cake recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling/glaze drying time. 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 12
Author uglyducklingbakery


  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • 6 cup bundt pan (see FAQs)


Old-fashioned buttermilk donut cake

  • 1 ¾ cup (7.7oz/220g) bleached all-purpose flour plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ cup (8tbsp/4oz/113g) unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
  • ¾ cup (5.3oz/150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Maple glaze

  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ cup (6.1oz/172g) confectioner's sugar plus more as desired for consistency
  • ¼ cup whole milk or cream tbsp at a time as needed for consistency


Old-fashioned buttermilk donut cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Liberally butter and flour your pan, particularly if using a bundt pan with lots of design.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom into a medium bowl.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a medium to large bowl if using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Add the eggs and vanilla one at a time, beating on medium speed for one minute after each addition, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just mixed.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly around the pan. Give the pan a few thwacks on the countertop to even it out and get out any air bubbles.
  • Bake for ~30 minutes, until the cake is beginning to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and without any crumbs. The cake will be just starting to pull away from the edge of the pan.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully run a thin knife or spatula around the inner and outer edges of the cake. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack so that it is "upside down" (i.e. the cake that was exposed is now the bottom of the cake). Let cool completely.

Maple glaze

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it is just pourable. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioner's sugar.
  • Put the cake, still on the cooling rack, over a sheet of parchment or wax paper and pour the glaze over the cake, letting it run down both the inner and outer edges.
  • Let the glaze dry (30-60 minutes).
  • This cake is freshest within the 24 hours after baking, but it will keep at room temperature for one week, if it lasts that long in your house.

What’s next?

If you make this maple-glazed old-fashioned donut cake, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram. Or let me know if you’re a donut lover too and want to see more donut recipes!

Check out other cakes, some simple, some fancy, from the uglyducklingbakery archives.

Follow uglyducklingbakery on your favorite social media platform.

Sign up for the uglyducklingbakery newsletter and join the uglyducklingbakery family.

Previous challenges:
Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao
Week 7: new tool – baguette baker
Week 8: chocolate – chocolate peanut butter bonbons
Week 9: timed bake – under 1 hour! chocolate chip scones
Week 10: allergy/diet restriction – macarons
Week 11: quick breads – kale and cheese quick bread
Week 12: signature bake – purple cow bread
Week 13: enriched breads (kale and cheese babka fail)
Week 14: childhood favorite –fudgy triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting
Week 15: decorating challenge – purple velvet cake
Week 16: crispy crunchy – bacon cheddar popcorn
Week 17: p52 of a favorite cookbook, or your favorite blog – chocolate peanut butter drip cake
Week 18: pâte à choux – bacon cheese puffs
Week 19: veggies turned sweet – red velvet beet waffles
Week 20: plating – chocolate chip cookie (butter challenge)
Week 21: Birthday Party! – chocolate orange cake
Weed 22: Scandinavian – Swedish apple cake (plus a bonus sourdough discard apple cake)
Week 23: Layers – Pecan apple oat bars (post is pending)
Week 24: Tarts – rainbow fruit tart

Next week: Surprise inside!

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