Coffee and Donuts Cake

It seems I have made it my personal mission to create cohesive marriages between foods that are separate entities, but are commonly eaten together.

Coffee, do you take Donuts to be your lawfully wedded wife(s)?  Of course you do.  You were made for each other!

The idea for this cake first came to me when I found this recipe, originally from Gourmet magazine. I figure 1389 reviewers can't be wrong.  If a whopping 91% would make it again, then I should at least try it once.  I'm happy to report I'll be adding my 4-fork review very soon!  The cake batter gets a good dose of brewed coffee, so I began searching for a complimentary coffee buttercream icing.  Amongst the searching I found a new baked donut recipe I was eager to try.  I decided to combine everything together in one big over-the-top cake - and what better pairing than coffee and donuts (...and chocolate cake and buttercream icing)?

The recipe specifies 2- 10" round pans, but I substituted 3- 9" pans.  The layers were still plenty big enough, and I love the added height.

The Swiss buttercream icing is so silky and beautiful. If you've never made Swiss buttercream, I highly recommend you give it a try.  Unlike American butter(cream) icing, it doesn't crust or dry out, which makes it a perfect adhesive for the donuts.

You'll need a mini donut pan for this recipe, available here.  The donut glaze takes a little while to set, so donuts should be made and glazed ahead of time. They'll need plenty of time to dry before being applied to the cake.  I was surprised at how easily the donuts adhered to the Swiss buttercream.  If you are pressed for time and your donut glaze is a little tacky,  skewers can be used to carefully apply the donuts to the cake. 

The top of the cake gets an extra sprinkling of espresso powder, and the donuts are sprinkled with silver sugar crystals, both available at King Arthur Flour.

(Cute video after the recipe!)

Coffee and Donuts Cake                              [click for printable recipe]
 12 servings

Cake Layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease pans with shortening. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between 2- 10” pans or 3- 9” pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, approx 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Coffee Buttercream
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

In a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until it registers 240°F on a candy thermometer.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are frothy. While mixer is running, add the sugar syrup in a thin stream, carefully tempering the syrup into the eggs without cooking them.  Beat until it is cool. Change to the paddle attachment and add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add the espresso mixture, and beat until it is light and fluffy.

Mini Cake Donuts (3 dozen)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat milk , egg and vanilla together.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat on low speed to combine.  Stop mixer and pour melted butter over dough.  Mix again until just incorporated. Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into the cavities of a donut baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.   

Chocolate Glaze for Donuts
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1 tbsp. light corn syrup

Nonpariels or sanding sugar

Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until very hot but not boiling.  Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl then pour hot cream over mixture and stir until smooth.
Quickly dip cooled donut tops into glaze and allow the excess to drizzle back into the bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils. Allow glazed donuts to dry, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Chocolate glaze will darken in color as it cools.

Espresso powder for sprinkling
Decorative large crystal sugar for sprinkling

Frost and stack cake layers.  Press unglazed side of donut gently into the side of the cake.  Repeat with entire batch of 3 dozen donuts.  Sprinkle top of cake with espresso powder and decorative sugar.  Extra donuts can be used to garnish the top of the cake.

Please note, I used the entire batch of 3 dozen donuts for decorating.  You may want to resist snacking on a few donuts while you are making them, or else you may not have enough to complete the cake.

One last thing!  My sweet cousin is a designer and illustrator, and she surprised me one day with this cute animation.  I just love it.  She has an adorable blog, and she also has an Etsy shop with the cutest paper dolls, cupcake toppers and more!  Definitely check it out!

link Coffee and Donuts Cake By Published: Coffee and Donuts Cake Recipe


  1. OH my goodness! This is truly a work of art. I don't know if I'd ever have the patience to make such a beautiful cake! I think I would do well eating it though. :)

  2. Oh my, I am a donut lover, so this is awesome!

  3. Beautiful, and so creative! It looks sinfully delicious too!

  4. You always come up with the cutest, most delicious ideas! This cakes looks so good and I love the little donuts as the crowning touch!
    The video your cousin created for you is so sweeet! I see that creativity runs in the family:)

  5. Oh no, dangerous! Two of my vices rolled into one tasty cake! This is a great idea -- I love your creativity.

  6. Gasp! This cake makes me SO HAPPY! The donuts are so incredibly adorable - it almost looks too good to eat (though eat it, I would).

  7. yum!!!!! and the video is cute...you are so creative....Patti b.

  8. This is quite the show stopper, how lovely!

  9. This is just in----credible! So love your creativity.

  10. Oh Heather.... you're making me want to make the drive from Atlanta all the way to your door just for a bite of that cake! and a hug of course ;) Thanks for the sweet post. You're going to give this Georgia girl a head as big as Stone Mountain ;) Love You!!!!

  11. What a fantastic cake! I want this for breakfast right now. And every day.

  12. I just love our creative you! Another fantastic job Heather!

  13. This is a cake for me. I love coffee and I could probably eat most of those donuts.

  14. Very clever! Coffee and donuts are definitely a good match.

  15. spectacular!
    i want a piece of this creative cake…so i will have to bake it!!!

  16. Gorgeous! Truly a marriage of coffee and donuts was going to be a wondrous one!
    My dad would die of happiness if I had presented him with this...

  17. Wow, that is one crazy cake! I love it. And I have a huge soft spot for pugs.. I have a puggle, so they always get me!

  18. Donuts AND cake? I think that's illegal in some countries. I wonder if it can be made without the coffee flavor... (Oh, and that video is super cute!)

  19. This is definitely an over-the-top cake! I love the combination. The glazed donuts look way cute(:

  20. Just amazing as always! Coffee and donuts nom nom nom!

  21. this looks amazing!!! cant wait to find the time to try it out :p

  22. OMG... this is gorgeous! You are an artist. I saw this on foodgawker and it looked like gold... i had to click on it. Who would have thought?
    This is amazing! Good work!

  23. oh my god! kill us with the sugar overdose why dont you?! ;) Its such a pretty cake I wouldnt want to cut into it! and those individual doughnuts? *to die for*


  24. wow, what an awesome over the top cake. I love it! It looks so delicious! Now I'm craving chocolate! The video is absolutely adorable!

  25. this is crazy cute! i recently ordered the mini donut pans and it is all your fault! can't wait to make them!

  26. My mouth is watering... WOW

    Can someone post a link for the mini donut pans? I've not seen anything this small

  27. Those mini donuts are the cutest thing ever! What an amazing cake.

  28. Was this mini donut recipe better than your prior one? I had planned to use your first for a party but this one looks just as yummy!!

  29. I LOVE your blog. It is a new discovery for me. I mentioned you in my blog here:

    Loved your baby donuts so much that I will DEF try this cake too!

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  31. I want to devour this entire cake! I posted a link on my column (ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com). Scah-rumptious!

  32. Thanks for the feature @Chic Cookies!

    Ok, I'm going to try to answer again - I got the names wrong last time - sorry!

    Stephanie - there is a link in the paragraph above the sliced piece of cake picture. Or you could go to Amazon.com and search for the Norpro non-stick mini donut pan (12 cavity).

    Ashley - These donuts were a little more cakey and dense than the last. I think if I were making the donuts to eat alone, I'd make the previous vanilla bean baby donuts.

  33. This is absolutely gorgeous! I must make it. I did something similar for an ice cream cupcake contest:


  34. Wow now that's a cake. It's so beautiful and I love the mini donuts.

  35. That cake is pretty dang spectacular! You are really having fun with that mini doughnut pan aren't you? That video is adorable too. How sweet is that?

  36. Just had to say hi and say that your desserts/baked goods are so incredibly beautiful! I love to bake myself, but I've never had the patience or know how to make anything that looked as good as I'm sure it tastes!

  37. Amazing! That's the only word that comes to mind.

  38. I have only just discovered your blog, I'm pleased I did! Oh My God this cake is AMAZING!! I can't even cope with this cake! coffee, donuts, cake.. my favourite things combined! Want!
    x Beth

  39. Heather, you are amazingly patient with your creative creations!!! Love the cake and really love the animated "Sprinkle Bakes". Love you!

  40. That's the most glamorous interpretation of coffee and donuts I've ever seen!

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. Why are you so amazing?
    P.S. I put you twice above

  43. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. I have already been looking for a creative way to tell my family when we are. I'm going to use these coffee cake and coffee buttercream recipes to make a cake for them to "spill the beans". :) It will be decorated with a toppled over cup filled with whole coffee beans & I'll pipe "We're spilling the beans" on top. Thanks so much for this!

  44. oh wow... this cake is so amaizing.. everything about your website is amaizing. i am in love. you are so talented!

  45. This is a really amazing blog! and a great recipe!

  46. Love the whole thing. I was especially looking for a donut recipe to use with my mini donut maker. And this is by far the best one I've found. Thanks!

  47. That animation is soooo cute! Cannot believe this coffee & donuts cake. Amazing! Just saw the link over at La Mia Vita Dolce - both of you gals have such amazing versions of this cake.

  48. Do the donuts need 1/2 or 3/4 cup sugar?

  49. Hi Claire,

    It is 3/4 cup. Thank you for catching my typo. Correcting now...

    xo -Heather

  50. Mmmm, this is like, the KING of cakes! :) Beautiful

  51. i made this today but i couldnt find those ingredients,i used:cream cheese and whipping cream,the eggs,and biscotti cookies it is just as good as the original ingredients ftw :)

  52. I made this for a special event one weekend. It was gorgeous as well as delicious. The icing was wonderful!!!

  53. is it really sweet? it looks like it - especially with the donuts and icing.

  54. Oh my .. this is beautiful! Lovely, just lovely.

  55. This is truly the cutest cake I have EVER seen! You are so creative and I love looking through your blog. You really have a gift. I'm now following you on facebook, twitter, and of course, your blog. :) Please follow back if you get a chance. :)

  56. He incluido tu publicación en Mis Favoritas de esta semana, si quieres verlo está en
    Espero que te guste!

  57. I made this spectacular cake for a friend's birthday although I must say that it didn't come out as gorgeous as yours did! Nevertheless, it was a big hit with everyone. Several people at work had their cell phones out taking pictures of the cake! :-) If you want to take a peek, I've posted it today: http://www.fransfavs.com/2011/10/coffee-and-donuts-cake/ Love your site!

  58. I was so excited to try this recipe out for my boyfriend's family at our first Thanksgiving together! I started baking the cake layers, as per the recipe, and was delighted at how easy it was to sift ALL of the ingredients needed for the sugar mix! When it was baking, nice and toasty,I began to make the frosting. I was completely unsatistified with the frosting mixture, the recipe does not tell the baker to cook the eggs, but I was informed by two chefs that raw eggs are completely unacceptable for digestion. The frosting was liquid-like and dripped all over the floor. I will never use this recipe again, nor will I refer this to any other baker.

  59. So, I just baked this cake for Thanksgiving (which is tomorrow) and it was a disappointment. I wasted money on ingredients for the espresso butter cream frosting because I ended up throwing it away. What a waste of two hours of baking. I'm embarrassed to bring this cake to my family. I had to buy frosting from the local grocery store. Unbelievable.

  60. Anonymous,

    I'm sorry you had so much trouble with this recipe. Any chef reviewing this recipe would immediately recognize the icing as French buttercream. The eggs are cooked by the hot sugar syrup in which it is poured. The eggs are no longer raw after this addition. That said, this is a more advanced frosting endeavor. You have to have a light hand when tempering the syrup into the eggs, otherwise the mixture will be flacid and never gain volume properly.

    As you said, you will never try this recipe again, but I hope in the name of delicious, silky frostings you will try someone else's French buttercream. It is a wonderful thing to master if you are up for the challenge. Otherwise, I'd suggest you stick with American buttercream (powdered sugar, butter, flavoring). It is by far the easiest for the home baker.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  61. I want to make this cake for a big holiday dinner. I was planning to make the layers a few days ahead and triple wrap and freeze them. Can the frosting be made ahead? the donuts? storage advice? The day of the dinner I will be a little pressed for time with all the other baking/cooking. Thanks so much. I've made a few things from your blog and always a hit :) Happy Holidays

  62. I made this cake this past weekend for my aunt's birthday. She loves coffee and donuts, so naturally when I saw this I knew it would be perfect. Let me tell you, the cake was so moist and yummy, everyone raved about it. And the buttercream, TO DIE FOR! I actually caught my mother spooning it from the bowl. I did only use 2 tbs of espresso powder, because I knew kids were going to eat some of it. You are a cake genius!

  63. I made this for my son's 11th birthday this weekend. turned out great!
    FYI; had more batter than fit in 3 9" pans, so next time i'd save some for cupcakes. My first time making this buttercream, so i need some practice, it didn't yield enough to frost and fill the cake. fortunately i had a can of ready made that i added some esspresso to and filled it with that.
    thanks for the great posts!

  64. Hello.
    I love this recipe, It looks amazing, but I have a cuestion. For the frosting, you used the all egg or only de eggs white?

  65. These mini donuts are just adorable. And this video... Beautiful :)

  66. I love the cake, the Pug and the video......super cuteness!


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