Donut Cake

donut cake

This cake is a riff on the justly famous Busy-Day Cake of cookbook author and local-food pioneer Edna Lewis, and is renamed "Donut Cake" because the combination of nutmeg and vanilla really tastes like donuts. While it's baking you will be glad that, busy as you are, you sensibly left five minutes in your day to get this cake into the oven. It fills the house with such a wonderful aroma.

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes


    1 stick butter, at room temperature
    1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons cornmeal
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ideally freshly grated
    1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, and set it aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then add in the vanilla. You may want to periodically scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Set batter aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next, but don't over-beat it at the end. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (Or just push the top gently with your fingertip and make sure it seems inclined to spring back).
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, with lightly sweetened fruit (add about a tablespoon of sugar to a pint of sliced strawberries and two sliced nectarines) and whipped cream. And don't be dismayed if the cake sinks significantly upon cooling: it will, and that's fine.

Read more about Catherine making Donut Cake with her family.

See all recipes from Catherine Newman's "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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