This powdered sugar doughnut cake is an easy little snack cake that takes its cue from everybody’s favorite childhood doughnut. The cakey texture, the perfect nutmeg flavor, and the thick layer of powdered sugar ~ it’s all there, and it’s delish!
this powdered sugar doughnut cake is a gem!
I’m no stranger to the pleasures of a great doughnut cake. I’ve been working with the concept for a good few years now and I’ve come up with a stunning lineup. But the powdered sugar doughnut (one of the classics from my childhood) was missing from my collection, until now. This easy, one bowl recipe makes that old style lip-smacking powdered sugar doughnut, only in snack cake form! It’s delightful, and spot on. If you close your eyes when you take a bite you’ll swear you’re eating a doughnut.
simple ingredients for a powdered sugar doughnut cake
I love that I can make this doughnut cake without any chemicals or artificial ingredients, and without a deep fryer ~ it’s a win win.
- all purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- sour cream
- baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- vanilla extract
- oh, and I almost forgot…freshly grated nutmeg ~ it’s the key to it all.
what makes this cake taste like a doughnut?
Two things make this cake taste like a doughnut. First is the texture, it’s soft yet somewhat dense, just like that classic cake-style doughnut you know and love. And second, it’s the nutmeg. Nutmeg is the iconic spice in doughnuts, but most people aren’t aware of this. The minute you bite into this cake you’ll be hit with that doughnut vibe…it’s the nutmeg!
In the case of this powdered sugar doughnut cake, the last piece of the puzzle is the thick layer of confectioner’s sugar on top. You’ll add more than you think you need for that wonderful powdery mouthful.
doughnut cake faqs
I highly recommend you use nutmeg, it’s a unique spice that is strongly associated with doughnuts. If you must substitute, you can try cinnamon or allspice, but it won’t be a ‘doughnut’ cake 😉
Yes, that will work.
Yes, you can. This recipe will make about 12 small cupcakes. Be sure not to over bake them or they will dry out.
I think it would be wonderful in a bundt, but it would be hard to get the whole cake coated in powdered sugar the way I would want it to be. If you want to try, I would double the recipe and use a large capacity bundt pan (10+cups.)
I keep it covered on the counter and it will last for a couple of days, but, just like a doughnut, I think it’s best the day it’s made. If you plan to store it don’t slice it until you’re ready to serve.
No, unfortunately this cake does not freeze well (I tried!) but luckily it’s quick and easy to throw together.
more breakfast cakes to try
- Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
- Cardamom Crumb Cake
- Cranberry Breakfast Cake
- Carrot Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
- Glazed Old Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut Bundt Cake
Powdered Sugar Doughnut Cake
- 8×8 square baking pan (you can also use a 9×9 pan)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F Spray an 8×8 baking pan and line with a sheet of parchment paper with long ends. This will allow you to remove the cake for neater slicing. Note: you can use a 9×9 pan but check the cake at 20 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl whisk or beat the sugar and eggs until pale and foamy.
- Whisk in the sour cream, butter, vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat until everything is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Fold in the salt, baking powder, and baking soda until evenly incorporated, then fold in the flour, mixing just until no dry flour remains. Don't over mix at this point.
- Turn the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter. Moist crumbs are fine, and you want to be sure not to over bake this cake or it will be dry. Note: check the cake on the early end, especially if your oven runs hot.
- Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then lift it out using the parchment paper, to a cooling rack to cool further.
- When the cake is still a bit warm to the touch, brush the top with the melted butter and immediately sift the powdered sugar over the surface. You will want a nice thick layer of sugar, so I sift several layers until I'm satisfied.
- Store the cake on the counter, covered with foil.
Questions and Reviews
I love the recipe! It turned out delicious. But I did store it in a Tupperware container and it tasted a little gummy the next day, is it because it was an airtight container?
I like to store cakes under a cake dome, or covered with foil. Some cakes are fine in airtight containers, but some don’t fare as well.
Cake is tasty and moist but needs less nutmeg (a little overpowering) and about 1 more tablespoon of powdered sugar.
Do you mean 3 cups of powdered sugar in the ingredient listing? It says 3 tablespoons.
Do you think it would work with cake flour instead of the AP?
It’s just 3 tablespoons, it’s a small cake. You can use more or less as you like, but you’re looking for a nice thick coating. And cake flour will definitely work, I love it.
Based on a couple of the previous reviews, I decided to switch things up just a bit. I combined all of the liquid ingredients in a small bowl and then combined all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, making a well in the center. I added the liquids to the flour mixture and folded everything together with a rubber spatula until combined. I found that the cake needed 31 minutes in my oven to test done. I let it cool for 20 minutes before brushing the top with the melted butter and dusting with powdered sugar. I didn’t measure the sugar, but am guessing I only used 1 cup and it was plenty. I would suggest placing the cake on a larger piece of parchment or waxed paper before dusting, so that you can easily clean up the sugar that goes over the sides. Delicious and easy to make!
My comment about “only using 1 cup of powdered sugar” should be that I used about 1/3-1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
This looks amazing! Any idea how this cake might hold up to a jelly-filled center? Thanks so much.
Interesting idea, I haven’t tried, but I would think you could drop blobs of jelly into the batter with success.
I’ll give it a shot and report back!
Great! I’d place the ‘blobs’ in the centers of the imaginary squares of cake, if that makes sense, so when you cut a piece the jelly will be in the centers.
I love “snack” cakes and this tastes so much better than a real powdered sugar doughnut. My daughter who reviews all my baking (LOL) thought it was fantastic and I agree. One question, I am getting a tiny bit of the baking powder taste in mostly the edge pieces, does that have anything to do with adding the baking powder/soda in a separate step instead of combining with flour? I have done that in other recipes but always wonder why some recipes have you combine and mix or add separate. Or is it as simple as I didn’t mix it well enough? Love your website, thank you for all of the wonderful recipes and instructions:)
This looks so delicious and perfect for my doughnut-loving father. I am going to surprise him with this. Thank you for sharing!
Hope you both enjoy it 🙂
I typically just have store bought nutmeg, would I use the same amount as the freshly grated? Thanks!
You’ll use less store bought nutmeg because freshly grated is very airy and it takes less to fill a teaspoon. I’d try maybe 3/4 teaspoon of your store bought nutmeg.