Powdered Donut Cake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Heavy on the butter and nutmeg, this cake has all the flavors of your favorite cake donut in a convenient square shape.

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This donut cake comes from the wonderful new cookbook Snacking Cakes: Simple Treats for Anytime Cravings by Yossy Arefi. I’m having so much fun baking my way through this sweet book—all the cakes are made using just one bowl (no electric mixers needed!) with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Yossy writes, “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.”

Powdered Donut Cake Ingredients

donut cake ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and eggs.

egg and sugar in mixing bowl

Whisk until pale and foamy, about 1 minute.

whisked eggs and sugar

Add the sour cream, butter, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt.

adding sour cream, butter, nutmeg and vanilla to mixing bowl

Whisk until smooth and emulsified.

whisked wet ingredients

Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

adding dry ingredients

Whisk until well-combined and smooth.

donut cake batter

Pour the batter into a parchment-lined pan. donut cake batter in pan - ready to bake

Bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.

donut cake cooling on rack

Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool almost completely.

Finish the cake: While the cake is just warm to the touch, brush the top with the melted butter. brushing cake with melted butter

Dust with the confectioners’ sugar — you should have a nice thick layer, more than you think might be necessary. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Powdered Donut Cake

Heavy on the butter and nutmeg, this cake has all the flavors of your favorite cake donut in a convenient square shape.

Servings: 16 squares
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For Topping

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. 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 granulated sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. 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 pan and bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool almost completely.
  5. Finish the cake: While the cake is just warm to the touch, brush the top with the melted butter and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. You should have a nice thick layer of confectioners' sugar—more than you think might be necessary. (Store the cake, covered, at room temperature for up to three days. The cake will absorb the sugar on top, so it might need a fresh dusting of confectioners’ sugar after the second day.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 square
  • Calories: 181
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 190 mg
  • Cholesterol: 46 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made this tonight and it was easy and enjoyed by the whole family. It is tender and moist and tastes just like a fresh powdered donut without the grease! I baked in glass for the entire 35 min at 350 and it still wasn’t fully done but browning too much so unfortunately mine sank a bit in the middle after removal. Next time I’ll reduce temp for glass, bake longer and foil it to prevent over browning.

    • — Rose on January 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • This cake was excellent! So easy too!

    • — Julie on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • I decided to try a new recipe from Jenn this year and this one is amazing, so easy and quick to make, no mixer needed and very basic ingredients. Definitely 5*, very moist and super tasty if you like nutmeg.

    We enjoyed Chocolate Biscotti and Rustic French Apple Tart from Jenn’s blog over the holidays. I made them several times since discovering this blog last year and as someone new to baking, I have been very fortunate to learn from a very talented chef, so thank you Jenn! I shared your blog with friends and family in Canada, England and US 😀 We love your recipes, so keep them coming. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    • — Kinga on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes and Happy new year to you and your family! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Im making this cake right now my butter was at room temp when i added but its now all curdled? should i have added melted butter?

    • — sam on January 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sam, Yes, for this recipe, the butter should be melted.

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I’ve just made this cake and although it’s absolutely delicious it seems less deep than yours although I used an 8 inch square cake tin. I had the same problem with your French Apple cake which turned out very thin and overcooked. Are American inches different to English ones I wonder?

    • — Jan Rutledge on January 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, Strange that both this and the French apple cake turned out more shallow than you expected. The apple cake is actually very thin, so that part is not a surprise, but the fact that it was overcooked makes me wonder about your pan size. Are you sure it’s 8 inches and not 9? Also, you asked about American versus English measurements. The great majority of my recipes (including this one) have metric conversions, so you may want to refer to those.

      • — Jenn on January 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent simple cake. Quick to make as well. The nutmeg adds a nice taste to the cake.

    • — Laura K. on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can you make this in a Bundt cake pan

    • — Lindsay on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Lindsay, I haven’t tried it so not sure how stick-proof it is, but it should work. Depending on the size of your pan, you may want to increase the recipe.

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • hello i dont have fresh nutmeg – can i substitute for prepackaged nutmeg if yes how much?

    • — Sylvia V Mosquera on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, ground nutmeg will work (and you’ll need the same amount). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! I bake quite a bit, but rarely eat what I bake, but I will make an exception for this cake. I love nutmeg. My family likes this as well, it’s almost gone, and I made it last night. I think I’ll be picking up the book too. Thank you for the recommendation.

    • — Tracey on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious!!

    • — Donna on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • The minute Jenn recommended this recipe, I decided to make it this week and buy the book.
    As usual, she is the BEST at sharing and creating recipes for her devoted fans. Thank you. This cake tastes EXACTLY like a powdered sugar cake donut. I read some other reviews and may I say, make it with the nutmeg. It is completely based on nutmeg. Don’t skimp, substitute or subvert the nutmeg. I implore you;)

    • — wendie morin on December 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • We absolutely loved this cake! My 7-year-son devoured it and said “let’s call it Snow Cake because the topping looks like snow!” My sons both told me to save the recipe and make it again immediately. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Irene H. on December 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • As everything I make from your recipes, rave reviews. So light and moist!!!!!
    Easy, everything right on hand. Great for snack, brunch or dessert.
    5 stars

    • — June Bug on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made it and it was delicious. Super easy but mine sank in the bottom… I live in a high altitude area. What could I have done wrong?

    • — NSales on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Often times when it cake sinks in the middle it’s because it’s a bit underbaked. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking so I can’t say whether or not that had an impact but you may find these tips helpful. Hope you have better luck if you make this again!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Very easy to make and tastes just like a cake donut, including the rather firm texture. I used 11% Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and it worked fine. Great with coffee.

    • — James O'Hare on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • FYI, someone posted this exact recipe on Food 52 today.

    • — Rasa on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m not a nutmeg fan. Is there a strong nutmeg flavor? Is it possible to substitute with something else or omit?

    • — Rena on December 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Rena, this does have a relatively strong nutmeg flavor as that’s what gives the cake a distinct donut flavor. Perhaps you could just reduce the amount a bit? Or you could use half nutmeg and half cinnamon.

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • This turned out so moist and delicious. I did use cinnamon sugar on top instead of powdered sugar because I didn’t want to deal with powdered sugar haha. I definitely will be getting the Snacking Cakes book.

    • — Brie on December 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe! I am curious if you would recommend any changes for high altitude baking?

    • — Julie on December 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • Thanks for your note. I don’t have experience baking at high altitudes so, unfortunately, I don’t have any wisdom to share – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful though. Hope you enjoy the cake if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • This cake was so delicious.
    My whole family enjoyed it.
    So easy and and so tasty.
    I decided to do a vanilla glaze for the top of the cake and this, I think, really complimented the cake.
    Thank you for an outstanding recipe.

    • — Julie on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jenn –

    I notice you’re using a glass pan here. Is there a reason for that? You’re still baking in the glass at 350 degrees, or are you making a temperature adjustment?

    • — Terri on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Terri, No reason — that’s just the pan I had handy — and I didn’t adjust the temperature. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • Thank you for posting this cake. We love snack cakes and this is now included in my list of favourites! One bowl with a whisk and the results are a wonderfully light cake with just the right amount of sweetness.

    • — Terri L. on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Tastes just like a powdered sugar donut! Really easy to make and very delicious. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks Jen!!

    • — Lisa on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was the prefect sweet treat for a busy day. Easy to make in a single bowl with minimal clean-up. Loved this moist and flavorful cake.

    • — Linda on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious cake!

    • — Lori on December 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was yummy and so easy to make.

    • — Laurie on December 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Oh my, this was soooo yummy. My 7 year-old said it was “more than delicious”. I loved how easy it was to make in a single bowl. I only had about 3/4 c sour cream so I topped it off with plain full-fat greek yogurt and that seemed to work well. I used regular nutmeg from a spice jar and thought it was great. Really does taste like a powdered donut (only better). I’ll be making it again soon for sure!

    • — Tammy on December 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • As soon as I saw this I knew I had to make it – sour cream cake donuts are one of my husband’s favorite treats! The cake was surprisingly light and absolutely tastes like a donut. It takes minutes to make and the ingredients are ones I always have on hand. Mine needed the full 35 minutes to bake. It was enjoyed by the whole family, thank you for another perfect recipe.

    • — Mary on December 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Exactly the true taste of a donut in a cake shape! Everyone enjoyed it! Thanks again Jenn for another win-win recipe!

    • — Lyne on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you suppose this would still be good if made vegan? I was thinking of trying vegan butter and sour cream and subbing in Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer. Or do you have a different suggestion? I must have this cake! Thanks!

    • — Sara B. on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sara, it may work but it’s hard for me to say without having tried it with any of those substitutes – sorry! If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi – I am contemplating making this. Is parchment paper necessary or can you sub wax paper? I just bought wax paper and would like to get rid of it. 🙂

    • — Kristi on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend wax paper, Kristi — sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Whats the best gluten free flour substitute for this recipe??

    • — Angela M Gray on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • A number of readers have commented that they have good luck baking with King Arthur gluten-free flour. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I just made this and it is wonderful! It is so easy to put together. I love the light texture and moistness. Next time I am going to do half nutmeg and half cinnamon. Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipes!
    Have a beautiful day!
    Sara Dolan

    • — Sara Dolan on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Finding fresh nutmeg is almost impossible these days. Will the ground variety work as well. I primarily use Penzey’s spices and they have excellent flavor. Would it be a one-to-one substitute?

    Thank you.

    • — Judy on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Judy – ground will work (and you can use the same amount) .

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
    • Judy, try World Market if you have one nearby. They almost always have whole nutmegs in stock with their other spices.

      • — Mary on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn . . . This sounds wonderful!! My family is not crazy about nutmeg. What other spice could I substitute that would keep that “doughnut” taste? Thank you!

    • — Edie on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Edie, Unfortunately, it’s the nutmeg that gives it that distinct donut flavor. Maybe just reduce the amount?

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • How do you think this recipe would work as cupcakes?

    • — KP on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • I think it would work well, but you’ll need to reduce the baking time a bit. I’d start checking around 18 to 20 minutes.

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Do you think this will come out the same if I use gluten-free flour that’s measure for measure? Also what if I put a dollop of jelly between two layers of dough to make it a jelly doughnut cake? Thanks

    • — Sharon on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, I don’t think the cake would come out exactly the same with GF flour, but I think it would probably work. As for the jam, I would dollop it on top before serving; adding it to the cake might make the cake a bit wet.

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
      • Can I sub nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

        • — Shelly on December 3, 2020
        • Reply
        • I haven’t tried it, Shelly, so I can’t say for sure. If you want to give it a shot, I’d probably opt for at least 2% Greek yogurt.

          • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
          • Reply
    • Trying it right now with 1:1 flour. Will let you guys know!

      • — Samantha Lueken on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Samantha. I have celiac so I am interested how it turned out. I usually use King Arthur 1:1 gluten free baking flour

        • — Marina on December 7, 2020
        • Reply
  • Sounds delish! Do you think I could make in a donut pan and adjust the baking time?

    • — Michelle M on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Looks yummy! What could I substitute for nutmeg?

    • — Trish on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Trish, Cinnamon would be good, but the nutmeg is what gives it the flavor of a donut.

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this cake last night! I couldn’t decide between the powdered sugar topping and the vanilla glaze so did both, and halved the toppings. I browned the butter. We loved it.

    What else have you made?

    • — sallyt on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • The chocolate peanut butter and pear/cranberry. It’s such a fun book! What about you?

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2020
      • Reply
      • This was my first recipe-I”m curious about the PB cake and the cocoa powder cake. My 8 yo requested the vanilla cake as cupcakes so that’s for tomorrow!

        • — sallyt on December 3, 2020
        • Reply

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