Happy National Doughnut Day! Although we love making homemade doughnuts, this whimsical doughnut-shaped cake is another great way to celebrate the day, resulting in a dessert large enough to feed a crowd. Don’t be daunted by the length of the recipe. There are a number of steps, but none of them is very complicated, and the marzipan can be made up to a month in advance. And don’t skimp on the colorful sprinkles, which are what really make this cake.
Vanilla Doughnut Cake
For the marzipan:
- 1 1/2 cups (5 oz./120 g) super-fine almond flour, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
- 2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. rose water (optional)
- 1 egg white
- Pink food coloring as needed
For the yellow cake:
- 3 cups (15 oz./470 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) buttermilk
For the buttercream:
- 3 cups (1 1/2 lb./750 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups (18 oz./560 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Pink, brown and yellow food coloring, as needed
- 1 tsp. light corn syrup
- Rainbow sprinkles for sprinkling
1. To make the marzipan, in a food processor, combine the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar and pulse until well combined. Add the extract, rose water and egg white and pulse until a thick dough forms. If the dough is wet and sticky to the touch, add 1 to 2 Tbs. more almond flour and pulse again. Add the food coloring, a few drops at a time, pulsing after each addition until evenly blended, until you achieve the desired color. (You will only need half of the marzipan for this recipe. You can save the remaining marzipan for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. If you prefer, you can divide the marzipan in half before adding the food coloring and leave half uncolored for future use.) Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead a few times. Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape each into a disk, wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 month.
2. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
3. To make the yellow cake, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour and beat until combined. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Raise the speed to high and beat for 20 seconds.
5. Pour half of the batter into an ungreased 10-inch (25-cm) round savarin (or Bundt) pan with a 7-cup (1.75-l) capacity and spread evenly. Set the remaining batter aside. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely. Wash and dry the pan, then repeat to bake the remaining batter.
6. To make the buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer about one-fourth of the buttercream to a bowl, add 1 drop pink food coloring and stir until combined. Add brown and yellow food coloring to the remaining batter until the desired light brown shade is reached.
7. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Using a spoon, scoop out a trench through the center of each cake about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Transfer the pink buttercream to a pastry bag without a tip and pipe the buttercream into the trench. Using the back of a spoon, push the buttercream into the trench so that it fills up the space. Place one cake half on top of the other cake, cut sides facing in, to form a doughnut shape. Spread a thin layer of the light brown buttercream all over the cake.
8. Freeze for 10 minutes, then spread the remaining light brown buttercream over the cake. Dip a rubber spatula into hot water, shake off the excess, and smooth out the buttercream.
9. Using a pencil, trace the shape of your pan onto a sheet of parchment paper, then cut it out to make a template. Dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar.
10. Remove one of the marzipan disks from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Roll out the marzipan slightly larger than the template, place the template on the dough, and cut wavy edges close to the edge of the template to resemble drips. Carefully place the marzipan on top of the cake. In a small bowl, stir together the corn syrup and 1 tsp. water. Lightly brush the mixture over the marzipan, decorate with sprinkles, and serve. Serves 12 to 16.
Discover a swoon-worthy collection of cakes in the stunning cookbook
Favorite Cakes, by the cooks of the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen.