Cinnamon Donut Cake

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Cinnamon Donut Cake

Once, I heard somebody compare donuts toΒ one-night stands. You know, both seem like a good idea at the time, but when it’s all over…yep. You get it.

But then, whoever made that comparison obviously never had a baked donut. And they also never had a donut cake. No, that’s not a cake made of donuts.

Before we progress any further, I need to take a minute to vent about keeping a straight face. In my line of work, I see kids do a lot of things that, well, make me want to react. They sing. They make presentations. They share their innermost feelings. And I’m really glad they do all of that, and I never want them to stop.

Cinnamon Donut Cake

But see, my face is a problem. I happen to have a very expressive face, but it’s expressive in a way that nobody can read accurately. Like, whenever I’m deep in thought, people think I’m really upset. When I’m trying to work something out, people read that as super angry. And whenever I’m amused, my face reads as snide.

Cinnamon Donut Cake

Honestly, it sucks. People have never read the tone of my thoughts quite correctly, and so I’ve had to cultivate a very bland poker face over the years. My friends get to see my real face, and so do my family. But my students? Heck no. They have no idea.

Cinnamon Donut Cake

And in a weird way, this donut cake is the same. It has to pretend to be a simple coffee cake, unassuming, with a lovely cinnamon topping. But really? If you put this batter into donut pans, it tastes just like a cinnamon cake donut. It’s all about the way something gets presented.

Cinnamon Donut Cake

See, while I have a hard time controlling my facial expressions, I can totally control what I do with batter. As you can see, this cake is light and fluffy and absolutely perfect for breakfast. And the topping is cinnamon heaven.

In fact, thoughΒ I haven’t called it one, this is a poke cake of sorts. In order to get the topping to really stick, you accomplish the effect by poking holes all over the cake with a fork, pouring in melted butter, and then adding the cinnamon-sugar topping. The good flavors just get everywhere.

Cinnamon Donut Cake

Maybe we regret eating that donut. Or letting our faces betray feelings that are real or just perceived. But folks, remember this one: we never have to regret cake. Especially donut cake.


Cinnamon Donut Cake


1 and 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  4. Pierce the cake with a fork all over. Don't miss any spots!
  5. Brush the melted butter (under the topping listing, 1/4 cup) onto the cake, making sure it gets into all the fork holes.
  6. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle the mixture over the cake while it's still hot.
  7. Serve warm, or cool and cut into squares.


I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Haha great post! My friend’s resting face is super angry- in freshman bio, before we were friends, although we had mutual friends I was scared to approach her because she always seemed to be glaring at me. Little did I know she was just bored of amino acids and staring into space! Now she’s one of my closest friends πŸ™‚ This cake looks totally delicious and #neverregretcake
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Weekly Obsessions!My Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one, Medha! I totally feel for your friend. It’s hard to control your face when you don’t realize what it looks like to other people!

  2. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Oh my gosh that comparison is SO TRUE. Because it always seems like such a good idea going in (er, the donut not the one night stand…)

    Anyway, this cake is the bombdotcom, like usual!! πŸ™‚
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Dulce de Leche Revel BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You said bombdotcom. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Dorothy!
      Donuts are so weird like that. They’re delicious and then they just sit there. In your stomach.

  3. Annie @ ciaochowbambina

    I never regret cake. And this would be no exception! I love the idea of poking little holes and letting the butter and cinnamon-sugar do their thing! Yum!
    Annie @ ciaochowbambina recently posted…Strawberry Avocado Salad with Blackberries & Pine NutsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Annie! I love poking holes in cake. It’s mega fun and very therapeutic.

  4. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Wow a donut cake?! Love this, Mir! And the fact that it’s cinnamon is even better. Sounds so delicious and perfect to munch on for breakfast!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Banana Bread GranolaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Gayle! I’ve been having more fun with cinnamon lately. I always forget what a great ingredient it is!

  5. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Wonderful post, Mir! πŸ™‚ I’ve never heard of donut cake. This looks absolutely delicious.
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Root Beer MuffinsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Erin! I don’t know if there is any such thing…I just felt like it had to be a donut cake!

  6. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, I feel you sister. . . when I’m not smiling, I look mad all the time. At least you have this cinnamon donut cake. . and that cinnamon-sugar topping. . ah, love it!!! I’ve never made a poke cake. . need to try one!! Happy Monday! Hope it’s a great one!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Vegan Power Sandwich with Asparagus PestoMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Whew. I always wonder what is wrong with my face. πŸ˜‰ So glad it’s not just me, Alice! And you should try poking holes in cake. It’s a good time!

  7. Danielle

    I totally know you feel, if I’m not smiling people are asking me what is wrong. This donut cake sounds so awesome! I love baking donuts, I actually prefer them that way. Love that this is in cake form!
    Danielle recently posted…Quinoa Pizza BitesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Me, too! Because baked donuts are delicious and not fried. And you have some great recipes, Danielle!

  8. Amber @ The Bewitched Baker

    I love that comparison at the beginning. Absolutely true!

    This, however, looks delicious, although I think it would have to be a sort of special-treat-breakfast option… like for birthdays and holidays. I’ll definitely have to tuck it away for later!
    Amber @ The Bewitched Baker recently posted…Mama Mia Mini PizzaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Well, we can’t have cake for breakfast every day. But I don’t mind working it in at snack time! Thanks, Amber!

  9. Cyndi - My Kitchen Craze

    Great comparison!! Totally agree. What’s funny is I have a very expressive face too, but you can read me like a book. I hate that I can’t hide my feelings. πŸ˜‰ This cake looks so moist and delicious! I love these type of cake and their simplicity. Need to make this soon!
    Cyndi – My Kitchen Craze recently posted…Berry Fruit and Yogurt Granola ParfaitMy Profile

    1. Mir

      That’s a good point, Cyndi! I wonder if it would be harder to have people be able to read you, or to misread you. Quite the question!

  10. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    My boys ask me all the time if I’m angry when I’m just thinking about something…maybe I have an angry resting face?? πŸ˜‰ Haha! They just get worried if I’m quiet because it’s so uncommon πŸ™‚ This cake looks to be the end-all be-all cake – can’t wait to give it a try!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…German Chocolate Caramel BrowniesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s good that they’re keeping an eye on you, Trish! I bet they find the quiet confusing. I’m not quiet often, either!

  11. Manali @ CookWithManali

    I love baked donuts, I really hate frying stuff. It’s just not my thing! They look great Mir especially because cinnamon is involved πŸ˜‰
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Pudina Aloo – Minty PotatoesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Yep, frying terrifies me on several levels. Thanks, Manali!

  12. Kim @ The Baking ChocolaTess

    Holy Batman! Donut…Cake…Cinnamon…it’s all good! Love this! Thanks for sharing, visiting from Two Cup Tuesday LInky Party.
    Kim @ The Baking ChocolaTess recently posted…β€œBisquick” Chocolate Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Banana Coffee CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Hey, Kim! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the Batman reference! Love it!

  13. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    I love baked donuts and frying terrifies me – all that oil splattering! I would have absolutely no regrets about eating this cake. I have never made a poke cake, but this sure seems like a good idea!
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Saturday Night Special: FreebirdMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. It’s not even the fat content or oil flying everywhere that gets me, though that’s not fun. It’s that not-fun feeling afterward, a bit sick. I’ll go through that for fries, but if baked donuts are just as good, why bother? Thanks, Rachelle!

  14. mira

    Love the post and totally agree! Loving this creative recipe, never had donut cake, but this one looks awesome! And I’m not a huge fan of fried donuts πŸ™‚
    mira recently posted…Cold Yogurt Cucumber Soup – TaratorMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I like them while I’m eating them, Mira. And then…not. Thanks!

  15. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

    Oh my that looks amazing! So much cinnamon sugar goodness! Pinned!
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. recently posted…Veggie Fried RiceMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks for pinning, Stacey!

  16. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    i just went to heaven! this looks AMAZING! for real i wish i had this cake right now πŸ˜‰ yummm

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Michele! It’s long gone, I’m afraid…

  17. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Wow! So much cinnamon sugar goodness in this donut cake!!! I love that you poked it and let the butter soak in! I would not want to stop eating this cake if it was in front of me!!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted…S’mores LatteMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jocelyn! It was buttery goodness, all right. It was one of those dangerous ones that has to be frozen!

  18. Aimee @ ShugarySweets

    Oh girl I don’t know how I missed this one. Love the extra butter and cinnamon πŸ™‚
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets recently posted…Oreo Fudge BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Aw, thanks, Aimee! Extra everything is the best!

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