How to Make a Doughnut Birthday Cake

How to Make a Cake Mix Taste Better

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How to Make a Doughnut Birthday Cake

We recently celebrated my Granddaughter’s 2nd birthday and the theme was Doughnut Grow Up!  It’s absolutely amazing how birthday’s have transformed over the past few years.  I appreciate the creative genius of people out there who come up with the ideas and all the fun things that go with them.  My daughter in law asked if I’d like to make the cake and I said YUP!  Let’s get this out-of-the-way first.  I’m not a great cake maker.  I have aspirations of being a better cake maker and so the only way to go is up.  It’s long stretch from the simple cakes I made when my son’s were growing up.  Anyway, here’s how to make a doughnut birthday cake.  

Practice makes, well not perfect yet!

I’m impressed with people who can make beautiful cakes.  It’s takes time and effort and a lot of trial and error to get to the point that you make it look easy.  There’s a girl I know and follow on Instagram called Karibakescakes.  

Not only are her’s gorgeous, they taste fantastic as well.  She made a gazillion mini cupcakes for my nephew’s wedding reception last summer that were gone in a blink.  Anyway, I asked her to teach me more about decorating cakes and she put on a little workshop last week for me (and a few family and friends).  Thanks Kari, it was informative and fun as well. I had made both of my doughnut cakes prior to this but my next one will have smoother edges and better ganache.  Anyway, we’re almost ready to make a doughnut birthday cake!

My Pan Story

I actually got some small pans that are perfect for a simple doughnut cake last fall.  I fell in love with a cake on the cover of Women’s Day Magazine called Forest Friends Cake and wanted to make it.

It called for 3 slightly different sized pans and when I searched them on amazon each were over 20.00.  You could’ve taken a pin and popped my balloon right there and then.  It would cost way more than I was willing to spend.  Fast forward a few weeks later while trolling through the bake wear section at a local thrift store and to my surprise I found all three pans for 1.50 each.  Yes way!  I made the cakes.

 Did they turn out as expected?  No.  My biggest mistake was using a cake mix (sigh, yes I did) instead of a denser cake.  Because it was three layers as I was finishing the frosting they were beginning to cave in on each other.  The frosting was thicker than it should have been and my hand was killing me from piping.  It looked cute, but not what I had in mind.  I will make it again, using the tips I learned at my class. I won’t be beat by that experience.  



    • I got the recipe from South Your Mouth.  I wanted a easy dense chocolate cake.  My daughter in law said when doing a cake for a party do not try something new.  Stay with tried and trusted.  Well, I didn’t and it was a delicious moist cake when we ate it the next day.  Be aware, it makes enough for a large bundt cake.  I used about 3/4 and made some cupcakes with the rest.  I recommend scooping the mixture into a gallon sized zip lock bag to fill the pan (and cupcake liners)  Just cut one of the corners off about 1.5 inches in.  It makes the transfer of batter much neater. (I didn’t have any zip lock bags at the time…..icky mess)
    • Mix all the ingredients together.  It will be thick.
    • Grease and flour the tube pan.  Don’t skip this step.  It will be very hard to get it out of the pan
    • Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes.  It does take a long time.  Check it with a toothpick near the end
    • Let cool in pan and invert onto your cake stand
    • Put in the freezer if you can, or the fridge.  When you freeze a cake first, you don’t get crumbs all through the frosting, especially if you’re doing a thin layer first.
    • Make the butter cream frosting:
              – 1 lb soft butter
              – 1 large package of powdered sugar
              – clear vanilla (if you have it, otherwise regular will do)
              – heavy cream (whipping cream)
    • I didn’t really use a recipe for this.  I used all the butter and whipped it for about 5 minutes first to get it light, fluffy and creamy
    • Add the powdered sugar to the butter slowly (it will cloud up around you if you try to do it fast and make a mess)  
    • Add 2 tsp vanilla
    • As you beat the mixture, add cream, a little at a time tasting and checking the consistency as you go.  Mistakes I have made in the past are not adding enough cream to make it very workable and fluffy.  A lesson I learned when taking my cake course recently was to sift all the powdered sugar into a large bowl before even starting.  It makes the frosting lighter.
    • Keep beating the mixture until light and fluffy and the consistency that you desire.  Remember, light and fluffy.
    • Take 1/3 of the frosting  and put it in a separate bowl  You will tint this pink (or whatever color you want your doughnut frosting to be)
    • Using frosting tints or food coloring tint the rest of the frosting light brown. 
      (I was surprised how long this took.  I thought add red, yellow, blue and green and you get brown, right?  Not really.  I ended up adding about a 1/3 tsp of orange tint (the kind you buy in the specialty isle) and finally it got to a light brown color.  You could try buying a light brown color OR if there’s not nut allergies, use creamy peanut butter…..yes, I learned that at my little class)
    • Remove the cake from the freezer (or fridge) and using a frosting spatula do a light layer over all the cake. Put it back in the freezer/fridge
    • Remove the cake again and do a thicker layer of light brown frosting over the entire cake, smoothing it as you go.  You can also use a cup of very hot water(microwave hot) and dip your spatula in as you smooth.  
    • Put it back in the freezer/fridge
    • Using the pink tinted frosting (you will want to whip it so it is still light and fluffy) smear over the top of the cake making it look like doughnut frosting.  Smooth and add sprinkles.  
  • Stand back and look at your adorable cake!!  It tasted moist and delicious the next day. The frosting was light fluffy and didn’t taste too sweet like some do:) Stay tuned for the other Doughnut Cake I made.

Enjoy and Happy Creating!


5 Ingredient Chocolate Cake (From South Your Mouth)

Yield: 15

How to Make a Cake Mix Taste Better


  • 1 Box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 16 oz carton of Sour Cream
  • 1 Bag of Chocolate Chips
  • 1 4 Serving box of Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • 1 Egg
  • Frosting:
  • 1 lb soft butter
  • 1 Large Package Powdered Sugar
  • Clear Vanilla (or regular vanilla)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Sprinkles


  • Mix all ingredients together. It will make a very thick batter
  • **Note**This will make enough for a large Bundt Cake. If using a smaller tube pan, use 1/2 the amount of mixture and make additional cupcakes (or another small cake) with the rest.
  • Grease and flour the tube cake pan. You want to be able to get the cake out easier.
  • Bake at 325 for 45-55 minutes. I kept checking as it got closer and it took that long, promise!
  • Let cool and invert onto your cake stand. Put into the fridge (or freezer if you can) so you can have fewer crumbs when frosting.
  • Frosting:
  • Whip butter for 5 minutes until light and fluffy
  • Add Package of powdered sugar, a bit at a time (otherwise you'll have a big mess)
  • Add 2 tsp vanilla
  • Add cream, a little at a time until you've reached the desired consistency (light and fluffy)
  • Take 1/3 aside and tint pink (or whatever color you want the top of your doughnut to be)
  • Take the rest and tint it light brown
  • With the cake on your cake stand (or plate) take from the freezer/fridge and do a thin coating of frosting on it. Put back in the freezer/fridge for about 15 minutes)
  • Remove cake from freezer/fridge and add a thicker coat of frosting to the tube cake, smoothing with your spatula. Put back in freezer/fridge for 15 minutes
  • Remove cake from freezer/fridge and with the pink frosting frost the top of the cake to look like doughnut frosting
  • Add sprinkles


Want to remember this?  Post How to Make a Doughnut Birthday Cake to your favorite Pinterest Board!

Doughnut Birthday Cake

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Doughnut Birthday Cake

Doughnut Birthday Cake

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I love to do anything creative and enjoy learning new things. Once I know how, I also love to teach it to others. Homemade by Cheryl, teaching homemade one project at a time! Have fun learning!

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Kelsey Fairbanks
Kelsey Fairbanks

This turned out so stinking cute! You did amazing and that buttercream was delicious!

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