Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake

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Mini donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? Hmmm, such a hard choice.

I decided not to choose and had a two-for-one deal via this cake.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

It’s a soft, moist, buttery tasting cake with notes of cinnamon and reminds me of snickerdoodle cookies, and I love snickerdoodles.

I made the cake using my favorite foolproofone-bowleasy cake base. It comes together with a whisk, no mixer needed, and is simple enough to be made at a moment’s notice.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

I loathe dry cake, and used three tricks to keep it super soft, moist, and tender: Buttermilk, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and oil.

Buttermilk helps keep cakes soft, springy, bouncy, tender, with the perfect balance of density and fluffiness. The results are unparalleled. You can make buttermilk by souring your own milk. Add about 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk, wait for 10 minutes for it to curdle, then use as indicated. 

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

If you don’t routinely keep buttermilk on hand, I highly recommend this Powdered Buttermilk. If you don’t use buttermilk much, but sometimes see a recipe that needs a half cup, but because you think you won’t use the rest of the jug before it goes bad, you opt of trying the recipe, then this powder is your new best friend. Shelf stable, keeps for ages.

To make sure the cake had flavors similar to snickerdoodle cookies, I used one tablespoon cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and sour cream for just a slight tang. Combined, they help create a snickerdoodle flavor profile.

Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, or until just done. Just long enough that the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

Then, top the cake with 9 mini donuts. I used Entenmann’s Cinnamon Pop’Ems because I didn’t feel like making donuts just to put on a cake. If you’re up for more work than I was, use either the Baked Vanilla Donuts or Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts recipe and bake them in a mini donut pan for about 7 minutes.

If you don’t have Entenmann’s, don’t worry. I would have preferred to use Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts, but neither are easy to come by in my area. Use whatever donuts your local grocery store bakery has, or use donut holes. Depending on how big they are, you may want to cut them in half so it doesn’t look like baseballs are on top of your cake.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

Bake the cake for about 2 minutes with the donuts on top. It helps the donuts and cake meld into one, so they don’t slip around.

It also helps flavors marry when things are baked together, even briefly.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

I glazed the cake with a simple melted butter and confectioners’ sugar glaze. If you’re not going to serve or need the whole cake at once, you  may wish to just glaze the portion you need.

The cake is springy, bouncy, and very moist, with just enough density to give it tooth-sinking heft. It’s just sweet enough, but not overly so, and has plenty of cinnamon pop and snickerdoodle flavor.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

The cinnamon-coated cake donuts are what you expect bakery cake donuts or donut holes to taste like.

They have huge nostalgia factor for me and remind me of being a kid and a big treat was my mom buying donuts from a bakery. She was a scratch baker with everything except donuts.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

The combination of the cake, the mini donuts, and the glaze, all in one bite is dreamy.

And  I didn’t even have to choose between cake or donuts.

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake - Can't decide between donuts or coffee cake for breakfast? You can have them both in this soft, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer cake that's a crowd favorite! at averiecooks.com

Pin This Recipe

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan, 9 generous pieces

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Donut-Topped Snickerdoodle Cake

You don’t have to choose between donuts or coffee cake with this recipe – you can have both. The cake is springy, bouncy, and very moist, with just enough density to give it tooth-sinking heft. It’s just sweet enough, but not overly so, and has plenty of cinnamon pop and snickerdoodle flavor. I made the cake using my favorite foolproof, one-bowl, easy cake base. It comes together with a whisk, no mixer needed. I loathe dry cake, and used three tricks to keep it super soft, moist, and tender: Buttermilk, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and oil. I used storebought mini donuts (Entenmann’s) but Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, grocery store bakery donuts (or donut holes) will work just fine. The combination of the soft snickerdoodle cake, the cinnamon-sugary mini donuts, and the buttery glaze, all in one bite makes me happy I don’t have to choose between favorites.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (yes tablespoon, not teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, light is okay (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 mini donuts (I used Entenmann’s Cinnamon Pop’Ems, any mini donut from a grocery bakery, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, or donut holes may be used; or make homemade mini donuts using either the Baked Vanilla Donuts or Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
  • about 1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar
  • splash milk or cream, only if necessary for consistency

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Cake – In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional salt; set aside.
  3. In a large measuring cup or separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon until just combined. Small lumps will be present and this is okay. Don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth; set aside. Batter will be on the thicker side.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Watch your cake, not the clock, and always bake until done, whatever that means in your climate and oven, given the ingredients you used.
  7. Remove pan from oven and carefully place 9 mini donuts on the surface, spaced uniformly and evenly.
  8. Using your palm or fingertips, lightly smoosh donuts onto the cake to help them stick.
  9. Return pan to over and bake for about 2 more minutes. This helps set donuts into the cake so they won’t slide around.
  10. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes in pan before optionally glazing. While cake cooks, makes the glaze.
  11. Glaze – In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 45 seconds.
  12. Add about 1 heaping cup confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Depending on desired consistency, continue to add sugar until desired consistency is reached. If you accidentally add too much, add a splash of cream or milk to thin. Alternatively, try buttery vanilla glaze or browned butter glaze.
  13. Evenly drizzle the glaze over the cake before slicing and serving. If you only plan to consume a small portion of this cake or plan to keep it around for a few days, you may wish to glaze it in portions and as needed, rather than all at once or in advance. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days. I’m comfortable storing glazed cakes at room temperature, but if you’re not, glaze only the portion you plan to consume immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 281mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 47gProtein: 5g

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Comments

  1. I just made this cake and its heavenly! I was moaning with every forkful I take. Your weren’t kidding when you said that its super moist, fluffy and springy. To be honest, I was skeptical that with this amount of wet ingredients, the cake might feel too moist, almost wet and gummy, but it had just the right amount of moisture and not dense in the least. I see myself playing around with this cake so much in the future. Might I ask if you ever tried making it using butter instead of oil? I wanna try a vanilla version of the cake, but I want some buttery tones to shine through. With the cinnamon version, I didn’t miss the butter one bit because the copious amount of cinnamon and nutmeg make up for it. Thanks for the great recipe. I also recently made your M&M’s chocolate chip cookies with the pudding, and it was the best M&M cookies I’ve ever tasted!

    1. I’ve made this cake so many different ways. Almost all the related recipes that I linked in the post are a version of the same cake base, just slight tweaks to spices. Honestly I wouldn’t use butter even if you want a buttery cake, paradoxical but true. Just skip the cinnamon and other spices, use the oil, add extra vanilla, and you’re set. If you find it’s not buttery enough, you could try baking it w/ butter again BUT butter does not make cakes moist like oil does and I find it makes the crumb drier, flakier, and the cake is more prone to ‘crisping up’ like what would happen if you roasted vegetables with butter, they crisp up. LMK how it goes.

      Thanks for trying the M&M cookies with pudding & glad they’re the best you’ve ever had!

      1. Thank you so much for the very thorough reply. Your Quadruple Chocolate Pudding Cookies are now on my on my to-bake-list. Drooling over it!

  2. This is quite the breakfast treat! I so want to make doughnuts and now when I do some are bound to make it on top of a cake!

  3. I made this recipe 2 days ago and it was fabulous ! I did not have any donuts so left that part off but the snicker doodle cake title had caught my attention the
    and the beautiful pictures and your description had me sold! It was so very good and your 3 moisture tricks totally worked! My husband loves it too so that’s always a plus! I love your snicker doodle granola bars a lot so I just had to try this! It does taste of snicker doodle and it’s so moist and delicious . Your version is wonderful and next time I make it I might try and add a lil streusel , this is a recipe I will definitely make again! I always like to let you know when I try your recipes, so that other readers get a first hand account of how delicious they are, so thanks again Averie :)

    1. Thanks for the detailed feedback and for trying the cake! Glad you love it. I bet a streusel on top would be great. There’s a recipe I linked in the ‘Related Recipes’ to take a peek at. Very similar cake base, topped with a cinnamon-sugar streusel.

  4. This cake is so extreme I love it! Cake and donuts all in one delicious serving :D sounds perfect and looks amazing.

  5. This cake is so much fun, Averie! The donuts on top look awesome! I love mini donuts, especially the sugar/cinnamon coated kind you get at the fair every summer. My favourite as a kid were the mini powdered donuts that my mom would buy from the grocery store. You’ve inspired me to come up with a cake that I can top with powdered donuts!

    1. Thanks for all your great comments tonite and also for saying hi during my Twitter party! That was so nice to see someone I recognized :) This cake would be a fun bday cake – you could go choc donuts and choc cake with sprinkles! Really anything you’d do, with donuts on top, it’s going to be a hit :)

  6. Omigosh Averie! This is SO cute!! This would be such a great addition to a brunch spread or even having a few girlfriends over for coffee. Really, who can resist donut, cake and icing all in one bite?!
    Xox

  7. Amaze balls. Seriously this is wow. If I was a kid this would be the best breakfast ever!! At my age now I would feel guilty eating this for breakfast, so obvi would have to wait to devour it at a reasonable time in the day like 10:30am ;)

  8. I just love Snickerdoodles and your cake looks delish! Love that you popped on mini donuts, so adorable! Love this recipe!!!

  9. well now you just went way above and beyond with the donut on top. I love it! It could not be more tempting and appealing to the eye! I love the extra pop of the pink color!

  10. There’s so much going on in my head right now that I can barely type this, but OH MY GOD THIS IS INCREDIBLE. Hands-down, right now — the bestest, most delish thing I think you’ve made thus far. And yes, it has everything to do with the donuts on top of the cake. Mind = blown!

  11. what a creative idea! who would have ever thought of topping a cake with a donut! Trying this recipe soon Averie :)

  12. Cake AND donuts. Perfect combination. I absolutely love snickerdoodles and just realized that I haven’t made any in a long time. I need to fix that. :) Your one-bowl cake recipe looks super easy and so moist! These photos are gorgeous as well! I absolutely love those gold-embellished plates!

    1. Plate was a couple bucks at the thrift store. I try never to spend much on a plate that will be used for precisely 1 photo shoot. Thanks for noticing it!

  13. This recipe looks unbelievably rich and fluffy. In my opinion, that is the best kind of cake :)

  14. I just found your blog!!! It’ s very interesting!!! Cool photos:) Today on my blog pineapple: ) My parents always told me not to play with food, but by looking on food photography, I think they might be wrong. For me food, is always one of the greatest inspirations, very tasty inspiration: )!!! Do you also think so?

  15. Oh my – that is one decadent breakfast! Luv it! I never knew about powdered buttermilk. What a great idea.

  16. Holy cow, this is super adorable ! I’ll take both donuts and cake any day of the week! :)

  17. This is just not cool Averie! You should not be tempting me like this…too much deliciousness…must resist!

    1. Had I planned better, I could do this for Skylar’s bday next month with sprinkles in the batter and on the top caught in the glaze. But it’s like once you make a cake, you know, you just move on to the next idea, you know how it is. But maybe one day :)

  18. I’m pretty sure it is safe to say I have never seen anything like this before! I knew you were creative, but this, well this tops it all (literally) Donuts on a cake? Seriously?! This is not only eye catching, it is mouthwatering!

  19. This cake is so fun and gorgeous!! I love that it is doughnuts and cake!! It really is hard to beat that, especially for breakfast!

  20. Oh my word. It’s a cake topped with my favorite breakfast item in the whole wide world–donuts! Averie, this is so very brilliant.

  21. Averie, this cake is just too much fun! I love donuts for a special treat, and now that they are on a cake, I’m going to feel twice as rewarded.

  22. Wow!! This cake is spectacular–I think you just took regular cake to a whole different level. And the photos are beautiful, Averie. Love that first one.

    I used to always have a weakness for Entemann powdered sugar donuts :)

  23. Oh. My. Gosh. I have no words for this.
    How did so much goodness did it one sentence?
    How does it get into my face right. now?
    Pinned!

  24. What a fun brunch or party cake! I also like your suggestion to put donut holes on top. This should satisfy all cinnamon lovers– I’ve had snickerdoodles but never a snickerdoodle cake…great flavor idea!!!

    1. Donut holes or donuts, either way, it’s going to taste the same. I just know some ppl won’t have access to mini-ish donuts but donut holes are so universal.

  25. What a super cute idea! I’d totally love to have a piece of that and I bet it would make an awesome birthday cake. You are really crazy creative, lady.

    1. It would make a totally fun bday cake – add some sprinkles or something to the batter or when you’re glazing it, add sprinkles over the top to set them into the glaze – would be super cute!

  26. SO cute! I made a cinnamon roll top cake for my dad birthday. In Australia we do not have snicker doodles but the way you described it; soft and fluffy and cinnamon loaded I got to have one!

    Your donuts are so perfect! I have worst time with that pan

    1. Well these donuts in this post were storebought but the ones I linked to in previous posts, those were all homemade. The pan – i just spray the heck out of it w/ cooking spray and then spoon in the batter, bake and remove super carefully. Vegan donuts are hard b/c they can fall apart and stick but regular donuts, no problems.

  27. How fun is this cake? And those topped donuts are just genius! Entenmann was a childhood favorite of mine too. I had to beg my mother for a box of their donuts and their super buttery pound cakes each time we went to the grocery store!

    1. Thanks girl! I wanted to make a cake that was totally diff than any I’ve seen and thanks for pinning it, too! And this cake base is like some of those Entenmann’s coffee cakes, but softer, moister, and well you know, better :)

  28. Hmmm, yes such a hard choice but you def made it easy with this cake! Just had snickerdoodles for the first time today but ran out of cream of tartar so no tang. :( I like the sour cream in this one because sweet and tangy is def right up my alley!

    1. Snickerdoodles for the FIRST time today? Well that’s pretty great timing then for this cake to be next :)