Happy National Donut Day! Does this mean we can eat all the donuts we want and calories don’t count today? If so, you should make three of these cakes. Actually, I didn’t even know Donut Day was a thing until I saw donuts popping up all over Instagram yesterday. I made this cake a couple of months ago for a silent auction, but hadn’t gotten around to posting it out of sheer laziness, so the stars aligned and it’s coming to you on National Donut Day!
The cake itself is a super simple chocolate cake recipe that I got from here. I doubled the recipe to get a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16 mini donuts (or really, donut shaped cakes). Although this cake recipe is vegan, I used cow’s milk since the frosting is not vegan. Speaking of frosting, coffee swiss meringue buttercream is quite possibly the most heavenly creation on earth. I used 2 shots of espresso from my favorite local coffee shop in the frosting, but you could also use 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, or 2 tablespoons of coffee extract (I like Nielsen Massey brand).
The frosting recipe makes a lot, so before you tell me that this recipe makes too much frosting, here’s why (also, please stop complaining about an overabundance of frosting). I wanted to crumb coat the cake and have enough frosting to get a really smooth finish since I knew that people would be bidding on this cake. The leftovers freeze really well (or taste good spooned directly into your mouth). Plus, it’s always nice to have some extra Swiss Buttercream in your freezer.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I use pasteurized liquid egg whites 99 percent of the time when I make SMB. I’ve tried it with both fresh and liquid egg whites, and while the liquid egg whites whip up slightly fluffier, I don’t find that it makes a difference in the finished product. Plus, you don’t need to heat liquid egg whites past 120 degrees, which makes the whole process go faster. So unless I know I have to make a very large batch of pudding in the near future, liquid egg whites it is. And don’t forget to wipe down all your tools with vinegar before you start. Any traces of grease will prevent your meringue from whipping up properly.
As for the butter, the ideal temperature should but soft, but it should still retain it’s shape. If the butter starts to get greasy or mushy, you may have a harder time getting your SMB to come together. In case your butter is too soft (or your egg whites are too warm), just stick the whole bowl of frosting in the refrigerator and try beating it again.
For the cake, double the recipe here. This makes a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16-20 mini donuts. You’ll need a mini donut pan like this one. Make the glaze in the recipe below. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze, and then cover with sprinkles. Let the glaze dry while you frost the cake.
- 6 ounces (170 grams and approximately 6 large) egg whites
- 6 ounces (170 grams) granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 pound (450 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into 2 inch chunks
- 2 ounces espresso, cooled to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (140 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 ounces (150 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Lots of sprinkles for topping
- Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should the water be at a rolling boil. It's the steam that's going to heat the egg whites, since we don't want scrambled eggs.
- Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit (120 degrees is fine if you're using pasteurized egg whites), whisking frequently.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
- Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will take up to minutes).
- Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated.
- Add the espresso and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it starts to steam.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth.
- Use this glaze for the mini donuts and also the top of the cake.
- Place one layer of the cake on a cake board that is 6 inches or larger.
- With an offset spatula, spread 1/2 cup of the coffee frosting on top of the first layer.
- Repeat this process with the second layer, spreading another 1/2 cup of the frosting on top.
- Place the 3rd layer on top.
- Place the cake on a turntable, and apply a thin layer of the frosting on the sides and the top of the cake to lock in the crumbs.
- Let the frosting set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Apply the remainder of the frosting to the sides and top of the cake.
- Slowly pour the remainder of the glaze on top a little bit at a time until it runs down the sides (you probably won't use all of it) and use an offset spatula to smooth out the top. If the glaze has hardened, warm it up in the microwave at 50% power in 10 second intervals.
- Top with sprinkles.
- Place the donuts around the bottom part of the cake. If they don't stick to the frosting, use a little bit of glaze to stick them onto the cake.
- Serve at room temperature