Powdered Donut Cake

December  7, 2021
19 Ratings
Photo by Yossy Arefi. Photo styling: Ali Slagle.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 1 (8-inch) square cake
Author Notes

Heavy on the butter and nutmeg, this cake has all the flavors of your favorite cake donut in a convenient square shape—no frying necessary! Just take my word for it, and don’t wear a black shirt when you eat it. You are definitely going to get confectioners’ sugar all over yourself with every bite, and you're going to love it.

How to use another pan: For a Bundt, double the recipe for the cake and bake in a prepared 15-cup Bundt pan until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, which should take 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Brush the warm cake with 4 tablespoons (65 grams) melted unsalted butter and dust with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar. For a loaf, bake in a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean; this should take 40 to 50 minutes. For a round, bake in a 9-inch round pan until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, which should take 25 to 35 minutes.

Browned Butter Donut Cake: Brown ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter (here's how to do it), then proceed with the recipe as written.

Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Cake: Brush the cake with the melted butter, then sprinkle a combination of 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon over the top instead of the confectioners’ sugar.

Reprinted with permission from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Yossy Arefi. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.Yossy Arefi

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Powdered Donut Cake
  • Donut Cake
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (220 grams) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Topping
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven; heat to 350°F. Butter or coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper that hangs over two of the edges.
  2. Make the Cake: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and granulated sugar for about 1 minute, until pale and foamy. Add the sour cream, butter, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth and emulsified.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk until well combined and smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Using the parchment overhang, lift the cake out of the pan and set on the wire rack to cool almost completely.
  5. Finish the Cake: While the cake is just warm to the touch, brush the top with the butter and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. You should have a nice thick layer of confectioners' sugar—more than you think might be necessary.
  6. Do Ahead: The cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature. The cake will absorb the sugar on top, so it might need a fresh dusting of confectioners’ sugar after the second day.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Liza Posas
    Liza Posas
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    Sue V.
  • Dominika Ujlaky
    Dominika Ujlaky
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at &

12 Reviews

Liza P. May 30, 2023
Easy delicious recipe. Really like the hint of the nutmeg. Yum. Will definately make again.
Sue V. March 21, 2023
Easy to put together, mine baked in 33 minutes. Cake is moist and light just right with a cup of tea or coffee. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again.
Dominika U. March 13, 2022
So insanely easy to make and delicious! It tastes exactly like a powdered doughnut. Goes perfectly with a cup of coffee. It was balanced and not to sweet. Just right for a snacking cake. My cake took 32 min to bake.
MBV February 19, 2022
Really easy cake to make! I loved that I had all of the ingredients on hand and didn't need to make a special trip to the grocery store for anything. I definitely will make this again as it was a hit with my guests. It really does taste like a donut! I found I didn't need as much butter for the topping - I probably could have used half and I only used 2T of powdered sugar for the topping as I was serving the cake to people who aren't as fond of sweets. My cake took me about 32 minutes in a square 8x8 glass baking dish - it might have been different in a metal baking pan but that was all I had.
courttan February 15, 2022
This is wonderful, so easy! Also took me on the longer end to bake.
Nicole April 15, 2021
I have made this twice, exactly as written (minor change, used half full-fat yogurt and half sour cream because that is what I had in fridge) and it was excellent both times. It really tastes like a donut and the nutmeg is just wonderful. It's become one of my favorite snack cakes!
aclincol March 7, 2021
Delicious! It took a bit longer to bake for me. We did the topping with butter and yogurt cinnamon sugar, but only needed half. Will make again!
aclincol March 7, 2021
No yogurt- autocorrect!
smaites March 1, 2021
AMAZING! So buttery and old fashioned donut like. I’m tempted to make a riff on this cake and integrate apple cider somehow, as I’ve never found a recipe for something as close to the texture of those incredible apple cider donuts you find apple orchards. My one note: don’t use dairy substitutes. We used dairy-free sour cream and butter because that’s what we had on hand. But since the quantities are so large, these dairy replacements have been wreaking havoc on my digestive system since my one and only slice yesterday afternoon. Otherwise, make this cake ASAP!
keithcancook February 3, 2021
So easy and a really nice cake.I did the cinnamon sugar topping
Carla F. December 27, 2020
I've made it twice now, both times with yogurt instead of buttermilk, due to spontaneity (a.k.a., lack of planning). Today I made it as jelly donut cupcakes and used an apple corer to make a well in the center for the blueberry vanilla jam. I put the core back on and dusted them, and they were wonderful. This recipe inspired me to buy the cookbook, and I'm so glad I did!
Charlie D. December 10, 2020
This was SO good! The combination of nutmeg & powdered sugar is kind of magical. I didn't heed the warning and ate it while wearing a black shirt, but it was worth it. Will definitely be making this again!