This towering Doughnut Cake is made of layers of homemade sour cream doughnuts and a light, fluffy mocha whipped cream. Add a topping of shiny chocolate-coffee ganache and a few more doughnuts, and you have a gorgeously unique layer cake!

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From
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You’ve probably had doughnuts and coffee before, but I’ll bet you’ve never had them quite like this!

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

I first had the idea to construct a cake out of doughnuts back in February. At the time, I attempted it with store-bought mini doughnuts, whipped cream, and blood orange curd. It was a solid concept, but I hit a few snags during assembly, the cake looked sloppy, and it just wasn’t what I had in mind. (Here’s some photographic evidence of what a hot mess it was.)

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

Sour Cream Cake Doughnuts

I knew that when I made this cake again, homemade doughnuts were the way to go. The store-bought ones were a little large for the project, and it was expensive to buy as many as I needed to make a tall cake. Plus, the thick glaze that drenched the doughnuts made the cake very sweet and prevented the doughnuts from soaking up moisture from the whipped cream. So, while you can make this cake with store-bought minis, if you have the time, I recommend going the DIY route to save money and make sure you end up with plenty of doughnuts that are just the right size.

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

While frying doughnuts does add an extra step (…or ten…) to the recipe, it’s worth it when you taste these tender, nutmeg-scented sour cream doughnuts. The good news is that they’re a cakey doughnut recipe, as opposed to a yeast-based one, so you don’t have to worry about finicky yeast or multiple rises. Don’t say I never tried to make life easy for you! Plus, you’ll probably have extras left over for munching, and we all know kitchen munchability is one of the biggest factors in judging a successful dessert recipe.

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

Whipped Cream Filling

You can fill the cake with whatever flavor of whipped cream you’d like. I was stuck on the doughnuts-and-coffee idea, so I added richly flavored cocoa powder and instant espresso powder to give it a robust mocha flavor that pairs perfectly with the subtly sweet doughnuts. If you’d like, you can omit the espresso to have just a plain chocolate whipped cream, or consider adding some cinnamon and nutmeg to make spiced chocolate cream. Other ideas include adding almond extract, going in a citrus direction by adding some lemon curd to the layers as well, or keeping things plain and simple with just a touch of vanilla paste.

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

How to Decorate the Donut Cake

The cake is finished with a shiny chocolate glaze with a hint of coffee flavor. The glaze drips down the sides of the cake just a little bit, to mimic the look of a chocolate-glazed doughnut. I had some extra mini doughnuts left over, so I dipped them in chocolate and coffee glaze (based on the glazes in this doughnut recipe) and a pinch of shimmering gold sprinkles—I used this Gold Shimmer Sugar from Pepper Creek Farms.

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

And if you’re wondering how it tastes, well, imagine soft, fluffy sour cream doughnuts softening into fluffy mocha cream. Just like ladyfingers get soft and cakey when assembled into tiramisu, these doughnuts develop a wonderfully moist and cakey texture after sitting overnight with the whipped cream. The cake slices cleanly and holds its shape well, and it really can be served just like any other layer cake.

Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream | From

I think you’ll love this unique take on the familiar doughnuts and coffee combination, and I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a try!

[And PS, can I please get tons of props for not once making a cops-and-doughnuts joke in this post? Willpower of steel over here, people.]
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Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream

4.63 from 8 votes
This Doughnut Cake With Mocha Whipped Cream is made from layers of homemade sour cream doughnuts and a light, fluffy mocha whipped cream. The result is a gorgeously unique layer cake that’s the stuff of Homer Simpson’s dreams!
Prep20 minutes
Cook40 minutes
Total1 hour


For the Sour Cream Doughnuts:

  • 13.5 oz cake flour, (3 1/3 cups)
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5.25 oz granulated sugar, (3/4 cup)
  • 1.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 oz sour cream, (3/4 cup)
  • 1 quart canola oil, for frying

For the Chocolate Ganache:

For the Mocha Whipped Cream:

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To Make the Sour Cream Doughnuts:

  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl.
  • Combine the granulated sugar and butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream them together until the sugar is moistened and it’s the texture of wet sand. Add the egg yolks one at a time, and mix until the mixture is thick and light.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low and add a third of the flour mixture. When it is mostly mixed in, and just a few streaks of flour remain, add half of the sour cream. Continue to alternate adding flour and sour cream until everything is added. Stop the mixer when there are just a few streaks of flour left and scrape down the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. The dough will be sticky.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and refrigerate it for an hour to chill.
  • Once chilled, lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it is a little thicker than 1/4″. Cut out circles about 1-1/4″ wide using a small circular cutter, then cut a hole in the center about 1/2″ wide. (I used the top of a large piping tip, Ateco #807, to make these small holes. A small round fondant cutter would also work well.) Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting the doughnuts. I got about 90 small doughnuts from this batch.
  • Pour the oil into a large saucepan until it’s about 1 1/2-2″ deep. Insert a deep fry thermometer and heat the oil over medium heat until it is 325 F. During the frying process, you’ll want to monitor this temperature carefully, and take the pan off the heat if it starts climbing too high. It’s important that this temperature remain steady so your doughnuts cook properly, so try always to maintain around 325 F.
  • Fry the doughnuts in small batches until they’re puffed and golden, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. It should only take about 1 minute on each side. Cover a baking sheet with paper towel, and transfer the cooked doughnuts to the sheet to let the excess oil be absorbed. Continue until all of the doughnuts have been fried. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake.

To Make the Whipped Cream and Assemble:

  • Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl. Sift the powdered sugar, cocoa and espresso powder over the cream, and add the vanilla extract. Whip until the cream holds firm peaks.
  • Place a cake cardboard in the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan. Place a 4-inch acetate cake collar around the inside of the pan. If you don’t have an acetate collar, you can form a tall ring with aluminum foil—you just need something to extend the top of the springform pan about 4 inches. You can also use a different size of springform pan, just be aware that you may not get the same number of layers if you make a larger cake.
  • Spread a thin layer of mocha whipped cream on the bottom of the cake cardboard. Arrange a ring of doughnuts around the edge of the cardboard, then fill in the center with more doughnuts, cutting some if necessary to try and cover as much of the space as possible. Top this layer of doughnuts with a thick layer of mocha whipped cream, spreading it out almost to the edge of the cake. Add another layer of doughnuts, then continue to alternate layers of cream and doughnuts until you have four layers of doughnuts total.
  • Top the top layer of doughnuts with more whipped cream, spreading it into a smooth, even layer on top. Cover the cake with a loose tent of plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight so the doughnuts soften and everything melds together.

To Make the Chocolate Ganache:

  • Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the espresso powder, and turn the heat to medium-high. Place the chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a medium bowl nearby. Bring the cream to a simmer, so that bubbles appear along the side of the pan.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, and let it sit for one minute to soften the chocolate. Whisk them together gently until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Press a layer of cling wrap on top and let sit at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.

To Finish the Cake:

  • Unclasp the springform pan and remove the cake from the pan. Unwind the acetate cake collar or foil collar from the sides of the cake, and place the cake on your serving platter.
  • If the ganache has firmed up too much to be easily pourable, warm it in the microwave in short 5- or 6-second intervals, whisking often, until it is liquid and flows easily. Pour it on top of the cake, and gently spread it to the edge of the cake so some of it drips down. Add sprinkles on top, if desired.
  • Refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes to set the ganache. Once set, top with additional small doughnuts, whipped cream, or any other garnishes if desired.

Recipe Notes

The cake will need to sit overnight before you serve it, so be sure to take that into account when making this recipe. I recommend making the doughnuts, assembling the cake, and making the ganache on one day, then on the second day you can top the cake with ganache and sprinkles, and you’re ready to serve it! If you want to make glazed doughnuts to go on top like I did, I recommend using the chocolate and vanilla glazes in this recipe. The doughnut recipe is adapted from the excellent book Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?


Calories: 925kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 86g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 940IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 0.9mg
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Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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  1. I made a donut cake inspired by yours. Except I baked the donuts in pans and made caramel whipcream. It was for my nephew’s birthday. I would never have made it without your post so thank you. He loved it. He’s 11. You are so creative.

    1. Hey Jordyn, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. My preference would be to cook it the same day it was made.

  2. Thank you so much for such a fantastic recipe! I would really like to try this for my husband. Do you think it would work to change the chocolate/mocha whipped cream filling for caramel whipped cream? OR keep the mocha/chocolate whipped cream filling but have a caramel glaze instead? I think my husband would adore this cake, but he also LOVES caramel, and I’d really like to work some in to this incredible recipe! And although I bake a lot, I tend to struggle with how well flavours would go together, and usually ask my husband’s advice, as he has a great palette – but I want this one to be a surprise. Thanks again!!

    1. Hey Tess, I think caramel whipped cream sounds great! I think it would work wonderful with this recipe, I would go for incorporating it more in the whipped cream rather than a glaze just because it is a chilled dessert. I would love to hear how it goes. Thanks!

  3. I am so excited to make this but my daughter’s bday is on Wednesday so I would like to make everything on Sunday and assemble on Monday or Tuesday. How can I store the donuts so they don’t go stale before assembly? Just a sealed container?

    1. Hey Sara, I would store them in an air tight container at room temperature. However I don’t think it will be a major concern because when they are in the cake with the whipped cream it tends to soften them. I think it should be great! I would love to hear how it goes and see pictures! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  4. Donuts and whipped cream need to be a little sweeter. The whole thing was surprisingly a bit bland.

    1. Hey Claude, your picture looks lovely! I am sorry to hear it was a little bland. If you have any questions I would love to troubleshoot with you. Don’t hesitate to send me an email!

  5. So you think it’s possible to make this uh-mazing looking cake DAIRY-FREE??? What edits would you, as a trained pastry chef, make to the recipe — just subbing “vegan dairy” ingredients?

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for YEARS, but sadly became lactose intolerant before I ever got to try it…

    1. Hi Stephanie, due to the amount of dairy in this recipe I worry that one to one substitutions just won’t turn out. My best advice would be to find a dairy free doughnut recipe and from there trying a vegan buttercream or other dairy free topping. Please share what you find!