Doughnut Cake (or Donut Cake, If You Must)

Sometimes, as when the previous day has included Doughnut Debauchery, I will make a drink composed of a cup of V-8 juice and two rounded tablespoons of flax seed meal. (You can add an ounce or two of vodka, if this is instead an advance measure taken in anticipation of a different sort of debauchery.) I will stir it up and drink it down quick like medicine: it’s thick to begin with, and it’s not exactly what I’d call tasty, and the flax seed meal will start soaking up the liquid if you let it sit around, so it’s not a SIPPING drink.

Paul, this morning, watching me make and drink it: “I’m sorry, that is too nutritious. I can’t eat my leftover doughnut after watching that.”

The doughnut situation happened because we celebrated the twins’ birthdays, and Edward chose a Doughnut Cake as his cake. Doughnut Cake (or Donut Cake, if you must) is an accidental invention. We think it started back during one of my pregnancies when I was craving doughnuts, but we’re not sure. All we remember is that the first time we had one was on one of my birthdays, when as my birthday dessert I said I didn’t really want a cake, I wanted DOUGHNUTS. So then Paul went out and got doughnuts, and he arranged them on a plate in a roughly cake-shaped stack. The idea caught on; I’d say we’ve had Doughnut Cake at someone’s birthday at least once a year since then.

For the top layer, I use three iced doughnuts, either with or without sprinkles, ideally matching. It gives it a “frosted” look. (Iced doughnuts should not be put into the underlayers: the frosting gets friendly with the doughnuts above. Additional iced doughnuts must wait in the box, or on a separate plate/platter.)

The other important element of Doughnut Cake is that, when the candles are blown out and it is time to eat it, the doughnuts should be cut into quarters—or halves at most. One does not “eat a doughnut” from a doughnut cake; one cuts off a quarter doughnut here and a quarter doughnut there until one’s tum cries out for mercy. The sampling of many flavors is crucial to the Doughnut Cake experience. (People who only like one flavor of doughnut are ALLOWED to just “eat a doughnut.” But the rest of us avert our eyes.) The doughnuts need not all be cut up at once; it is better to cut into each doughnut as needed.

This year I made a slight change to the construction of the cake, based on what happened last year: last year, the top layer of doughnuts kept slipping or threatening to slip—and when the top layer has LIT CANDLES in it, that is a bad idea. So. Shorter doughnut cake. The rest of the doughnuts stay in their box, to be brought from the kitchen after the candles are blown out.

…Oh, hey, I checked, and it turns out I have PHOTO DOCUMENTATION of last year:

Teetery-looking layers with lit candles in them
Hey, what happened to one of the flaming doughnuts?
And look, another is sliding down in the opposite direction.
Why is Mother continuing to take photos
instead of saving this party from a fiery end?

19 thoughts on “Doughnut Cake (or Donut Cake, If You Must)

  1. Janet S

    Spectacular idea and execution. Can’t wait for my birthday to come around …except it’s not until December, so there might have to be an un-birthday celebration soon.

  2. Snoopyfan

    There used to be a place in Chicago that sold a Krispy Kreme cake. It was ridiculously delicious looking!! I backed away slowly and bolted out the door so as not eat the entire thing.

  3. lifeofadoctorswife

    [Blogger may have eaten my first comment.]

    Love the caption of the last photo! And that Edward is gleefully unaware of the fire hazard.

    Now I feel a deep and unexpected craving for a doughnut.

  4. lifeofadoctorswife

    [Blogger may have eaten my first comment.]

    Love the caption of the last photo! And that Edward is gleefully unaware of the fire hazard.

    Now I feel a deep and unexpected craving for a doughnut.

  5. Heather R

    My favorite part: “Iced doughnuts should not be put into the underlayers: the frosting gets friendly with the doughnuts above.”

    I also love the rule about eating quarters of multiple doughnuts!

  6. -R-

    Oh, Swistle. I love this post. And I love your doughnut/donut cake idea. But really, the caption under your last photo is making me very happy this morning.

  7. Stimey

    Posts like this are the reason you are one of my very, very favorite bloggers in the world. I love everything about it. Especially the brilliant idea of doughnut cake! I’m doubly amused because my husband is out purchasing doughnut breakfast as we speak.

  8. Stimey

    Updated: the husband came home with doughnut holes instead of doughnuts, if you can believe it. Who does THAT? I am sorely, sorely disappointed.

  9. Marie Green

    Are… the twins SIX now? How can this be?

    Also, my favorite FAVORITE kind of donut is a chocolate covered bavarian cream filled one… MMMMMMM. And I would rather eat the whole thing (I WILL NOT SHARE), than have lots of bits of other donuts. HOWEVER, if no bavarian cream filled was available, then I’d be like you, eating bites of this and that…

  10. TaraRhode

    Happy Birthday to your twins!

    In Rhode Island, there’s a place called Allie’s Donuts that makes actual donut cakes– they are fabulous and we even had them instead of a wedding cake to add some local fun & flair to the celebration! Mmmm, now i want one..

  11. Alice

    this was NOT the post to read before i’d eaten breakfast at work. now the ONLY THING I WANT is doughnuts. bah.

  12. Elizabeth - Flourish in Progress

    Excellent advice about the shorter donut cake. My daughter was just mentioning today while we were eating our donuts at Krispy Kreme (I would just like to say in my defense that I have no idea how we ended up at KK since I was on my way to Target for paper towels. I must have had a black out.) that she wants a donut cake. I imagined a really tall treat, but now, not so much.

  13. Buttercup

    Hey Swistle–not that you asked for advice, but could you hold the layers together with some skewers? Then you’d be able to stack higher without the slippy fire hazard. Obviously, I am devoting all my time and energy to donut cake development.

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