Because sometimes you just need cake.
And sometimes you need that cake needs to be small, because you’re intent on devouring whatever it is you’re making. Also, that cake needs to look like a fancy donut, to satisfy the donut craving lurking in the back of your mind.
In moments like these, you can’t be trusted with full-size cake or, for that matter, a trip to the donut shop; you know this. Because donut shops have an unlimited amount of donuts just waiting to be yours (not to mention that hot donut smell), and full-size cakes can be sliced, and sliced again, and sliced again, to infinity.
Ladies and gentlemen: I give you the safety cake. You can only make 6 of these, and they’re roughly the size of those little crullers you can get at the store. Also, Greek yogurt is good for you, and I put some of that in there too, so you can call them “healthier!” like we all do when we make something and switch out some verboten ingredient for greek yogurt or applesauce or pumpkin puree or whatever. Enjoy with a big glass of not feeling terrible about yourself.
Base batter adapted from a fairly sinful (but delicious) recipe for Aunt Patty’s coffee cake, found on Martha’s website. It’s a great full-size bundt, by the way: my attempts to get the swirl into these, small as they are, were futile, but I’m working on it. The vanilla cake on it’s own is pretty perfect; subtly sweet and designed for breakfast.
Just [Tiny] Vanilla Donut Cakes
makes 6 awfully pretty cakes
for the donut cakes:
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for greasing cake pan
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, for finishing (optional)
- vanilla glaze, for finishing (optional)
- maybe some sprinkles! they’re your donut cakes; go crazy.
for the glaze:
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar*
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (add more or less if you want)
*I’ve always felt like glazes are pretty specific to a person’s individual tastes: thick or thin, strong flavor or subtle, and so on. This is a great foundation to start with, but add and subtract as needed to make your perfect glaze.
This recipe is for 6 miniature cakes, which means you’re going to be working with a “miniature” batter. Because of its size, it’s going to be tougher to do in a stand mixer (not to mention embarrassing), so use a handheld mixer if you have one.
You aren’t ridiculous enough for miniature Bundt pans? Double the recipe and you’ll have enough for a normal-size bundt cake, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly, about 35 to 40 minutes total.
Make those wee cakes:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the insides of your 6-Bundt mini Bundt pan. No need to flour; it only messes things up.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a glass liquid measuring cup (Pyrex), measure out buttermilk. Add greek yogurt and vanilla to the cup and stir until smooth and combined. Set aside. (See what I did there? I saved you a bowl, that’s what.)
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed using an electric mixer, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add egg, and beat to combine; scrape bowl again. Add half the buttermilk mixture, stirring until just combined. Add half of the flour mixture, stir for a few seconds, then repeat with remaining buttermilk mixture and flour mixture; stir until batter is just combined and no dry patches remain, being careful not to overmix.
Divide into each cavity of the prepared mini-bundt pans and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool, 10 minutes. Hold the rack and the pan firmly together and turn out cakes onto rack to cool the rest of the way. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle with vanilla glaze.
Which, speaking of vanilla glaze:
Whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla together. Add more sugar to make it thicker, milk to thin, and vanilla for a stronger flavor. Done!