This Pumpkin Donut Cake is a delightfully moist, airy cake packed with fall flavors. With a dusting of cinnamon sugar and a maple cinnamon glaze, it’s perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table!
Easiest Ever Pumpkin Donut Cake
What could be better than a pumpkin donut? A pumpkin donut dredged in butter and cinnamon sugar – plus a sweet maple glaze. And what could be better than that? Making it into a cake-sized dessert!
That’s what this cinnamon-spiced donut cake is all about. Using a Bundt pan, we’re taking a cakey donut treat and making it bigger, better, and more pumpkin-y than ever. I you are craving pumpkin and want to try something different, then I highly recommend this recipe! I still love my fabulous pumpkin cake when I need a #pumpkinfix, but this donut cake also hits the spot.
But if that all sounds like a lot of work, let me tell you right now: this is one of the easiest recipes ever. All you need are a boxed cake mix and a few pantry staples to make it. No special equipment is needed. A mixing bowl or two, a whisk, and your trusty Bundt pan will do the trick.
What You’ll Need
The base for this cake is actually a boxed cake mix, which means that making the batter is really easy. It cuts down on the measuring and mixing a lot, and practically guarantees a light, moist cake.
For the Donut Cake
- Cake Mix: One standard box (15.25 ounces) of spice cake mix, just the dry mix without any other ingredients.
- Milk: Whole milk is my go-to, but most non-dairy milk alternatives work as well. Make sure to choose one with a fairly neutral flavor.
- Eggs: Three large, whole eggs. Lightly beat them in a small bowl before adding them to the mix.
- Pumpkin Puree: Canned is fine, but you could substitute homemade if you have some on hand.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Store-bought or homemade.
- Cinnamon: For a little more balance and lightness in the flavor profile.
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- Cinnamon: Be sure to check the label and make sure the cinnamon hasn’t gotten old – spices that are more than one year old are often stale and can even be bitter.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar.
- Butter: Melt the butter before using it for the topping. You can do this on the stove or in the microwave.
For the Maple Cinnamon Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: Unlike regular sugar, this dissolves almost instantly, making it perfect for glazes and frostings.
- Milk: Just a bit, to get the right texture.
- Maple Extract: Because, yum. Maple extract is great when you want maple flavor, but can’t use maple syrup.
What Is the Difference Between Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin Pie Filling?
This is a very common question, and it’s extra important because cans of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling can look so similar.
The difference between the two is that pumpkin pie filing (AKA pumpkin pie mix) doesn’t just include pumpkin. It also includes dairy, sweeteners, stabilizers, spices, and other ingredients. For this recipe, you just want plain pumpkin, so check the label and make sure that’s all it contains!
How to Make Pumpkin Donut Cake
One of my favorite things about this cake, and others like it, is the easiness of decorating! This unfussy cake doesn’t need to cool for hours before you finish it up and serve it – but it still looks absolutely gorgeous on the plate.
- Prep the Oven and Bundt Pan. To get started, make sure to preheat your oven to 350°F. Then get out your Bundt pan, and give it a good spray with nonstick baking spray. (You could also grease the pan with oil or butter, but it can be a bit tricky to get all the little corners that way.)
- Make the Cake Batter. Next, take a medium mixing bowl and combine the cake mix, milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. You can use a whisk, stand mixer, or hand-held mixer to beat this together, whichever you prefer.
- Bake the Cake. Pour and scrape the cake batter into your prepared Bundt pan, and smooth it out evenly. Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It’s also fine if the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.
- Cool the Cake Slightly, and then Top with Cinnamon Sugar. Once the cake is fully baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Then unmold it from the pan, and brush the melted butter all over it with a basting brush. Finally, mix the cinnamon and sugar together to make the cinnamon-sugar topping, and pat that generously all over the cake.
- Make the Maple Glaze and Drizzle It on Top. The last step in this process is to make the glaze and add it to the cake. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, maple extract, and cinnamon to make a smooth glaze. Drizzle it over the cake generously using a spoon, or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off.
- Enjoy! Serve your pumpkin donut cake with a glass of milk, a cup of coffee, or whatever you like.
Tips for the Best Donut Cake
Every recipe is a little better when you have some inside info, so I’m happy to share these handy tips for success. Each one will help guarantee an easy, yummy dessert. Enjoy!
- Cake Mix: Pumpkin donut cake can also be made with yellow cake mix. If you do this, I recommend doubling the amount of pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon in the recipe, to get that autumn flavor.
- Smaller and Larger Cakes: This recipe can be made in any size Bundt pan. Baking time will need to be adjusted depending on the size of the pan. Smaller pans will result in taller cakes that need more time to bake. Larger pans will result in thinner cakes that take less time to bake.
- Pans to Avoid: While there are lots of gorgeous Bundt pans out there, for this cake, I do not recommend using a pan with an intricate design. The cake crumb is light and airy, and may have a harder time releasing after baking if you use a really detailed pan.
What else can you do with this recipe? Glad you asked! Fun variations are a big part of baking. Here are a few to try with this donut cake:
- Add Nuts: For a crunchy finish to the cake, try sprinkling chopped pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds over the glaze before it sets.
- Add Apple: Apple juice can be used instead of milk, for an extra shot of fall flavor.
- Omit One of the Toppings: If you think this pumpkin donut cake might be a little too sweet for you, try omitting either the cinnamon sugar or the maple glaze. Either way, the cake will be amazing!
- Use Other Toppings: You could also top this with the Salted Caramel Sauce from my churros recipe, this indulgent Pecan Praline Sauce, or no sauce at all – just cut slices and pipe a dollop of whipped cream on top. Yum!
How to Store Pumpkin Donut Cake
Store this cake at room temperature, in an airtight container such as a cake stand with a fitted lid. It will keep for about 5 days.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, you can freeze this cake – it should keep well in the freezer for 2 – 3 months. To make sure it stays fresh, cool it down completely before wrapping it and freezing it. Make sure you wrap it tightly in a couple of layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, to seal out the dry air from your freezer.
Pumpkin Donut Cake
For the Cake
- 1 box, 15.25 ounces spice cake mix (just the dry cake mix, no added ingredients)
- 1 cup milk
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup melted butter
For the Maple Cinnamon Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 – 2 teaspoons maple extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray, and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the spice cake mix, milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Using a whisk or hand-held mixer, beat until well-combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a few crumbs stuck to it.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. While it is cooling, mix the cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a small bowl.
- Place the cooled cake on a wire rack. Melt the butter, and use a basting brush to brush the butter all over the top and sides of the cake. Allow to set for about 1 minute, nd then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the top and sides of the cake.
- Make the cinnamon maple topping: In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, maple extract, and ground cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cake. Alternatively, pour the glaze into a zip-top bag and snip the corner off. Use this to drizzle the glaze over the cake.
- Serve immediately.
More Easy Pumpkin Dessert Ideas
- Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls
- The Best Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Best Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Blondies
- Pumpkin Pecan French Toast Casserole
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- Best Pumpkin Cheesecake
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