This Maple Donut Cake recipe won’t fool you into thinking that you’re eating a fried donut. But this donut cake will satisfy even your strongest of cravings for maple old-fashioned donuts.
Read on for all the detailed recipe tips and tricks, or just grab your buttermilk and hit that Jump to Recipe button. And don’t blame me if you find yourself eating the maple glaze drippings with a spoon.
The base of this maple donut cake is a buttermilk cake. Compared to the buttermilk cake layer used in my Earl Grey lavender cake, this donut cake has relatively more sugar and eggs, making it richer and denser.
I love the tang of buttermilk and use it in all sorts of recipes including my sourdough discard muffins, purple velvet cake, and skillet cornbread. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can sub in a half cup of milk and half tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations and substitutions
- If all you have is a bundt pan that holds 12 to 15 cups, just double the recipe, and expect that the cake will need to bake for longer. That’s 45 to 55 minutes according to the NY Times recipe.
- Make donut cake muffins in a muffin tin. Bake for only 15 to 20 minutes.
- Sub cardamom for the cinnamon.
- To make a different flavored glaze, just start with powdered sugar and add flavoring (e.g. vanilla) and a bit of liquid (e.g. milk or cream or lemon juice or orange juice) until you can pour it.
Recipe tips and tricks
This recipe is a minor adaptation of an old-fashioned doughnut bundt cake recipe by Erin McDowell
The pan I use for this maple doughnut cake is a savarin mold, because it has those smooth sides. Feel free to use any 6 cup tube or bundt pan. If you are using a more detailed cake pan, be sure to butter and flour VERY well.
Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Start with room temperature butter.
- Mix on low at first. You will still see sugar granules. Don’t stop yet.
- Increase your speed to medium-high and beat for a couple of minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. The butter will feel softer and softer. Don’t stop yet.
- It takes several more minutes to get to “light and fluffy,” depending on whether you’re mixing by hand, with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer. The butter will be much lighter in color, and it really will feel fluffy.
Step 2: Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for one minute after each addition.
Step 3: Add half of the dry ingredients and beat until mixed in. Then mix in the buttermilk and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Mix only until combined to avoid developing the gluten.
Step 4: Scoop the donut cake batter into your prepared pan and smooth it out so it is spread somewhat evenly. Bake about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Step 5: Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack so it is upside down. Cool completely, then make the maple glaze and pour a layer or two or three over the cooled doughnut cake. Let solidify about one hour before serving.
It appears that Merriam-Webster considers “doughnut” the preferred spelling, although “donut” is an acceptable alternative.
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.
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.
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.
Related cake recipes
Check out other cakes, cakes, and more cakes from the Ugly Duckling Bakery archives:
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Maple Donut Cake
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- 6 cup bundt pan (see notes)
Old-fashioned Buttermilk Donut Cake
- 1 ¾ cup (220 grams) bleached all-purpose flour plus more for flouring the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cup (172 grams) confectioners' sugar plus more as desired for consistency
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ cup whole milk or cream one tablespoon 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 or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon or cardamom into a medium bowl.1 ¾ cup (220 grams) bleached all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 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 5 minutes).½ cup (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 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.2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 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.½ cup buttermilk
- 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 28 to 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.
- Combine the confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and melted butter in a small bowl.½ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, 1½ cup (172 grams) confectioners' sugar
- 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.¼ cup whole milk or cream
- 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. Feel free to pour on several layers of glaze.
- Let the maple glaze dry about one hour before serving.
- This maple donut 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.
Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?
This maple-glazed buttermilk donut cake was created for the 2021 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.