Donut Loaf

updated Jan 21, 2020
Donut Loaf

This Midwestern treat tastes like a giant powdered donut, but in loaf form. Nutmeg is the surprising, essential ingredient that will make this dessert extra delicious.

Serves8 to 10

Makes1 (9-inch) loaf

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Aside from being a really fun phrase to say aloud over and over again, this loaf is the sort of taste sensation belying its appearance. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has eaten this modest-looking cake and exclaimed with wonder that it indeed tastes like a giant powdered sugar donut. And as my friend, the brilliant cookbook writer Kate Leahy, noted while testing it, “I completely underestimated the role nutmeg plays in making something donut-flavored.”

Donut Loaf

This Midwestern treat tastes like a giant powdered donut, but in loaf form. Nutmeg is the surprising, essential ingredient that will make this dessert extra delicious.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • Nonstick cooking spray for pan

  • 2 3/4 cups

    unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    fine sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons

    freshly grated nutmeg

  • 14 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3

    large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 cup

    well-shaken buttermilk, at room temperature

To finish:

  • 1 cup

    powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted


  1. Position a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 325°F. Spray a 9x5-inch light-colored metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with 2 perpendicular strips of parchment paper — 1 cut skinnier to fit lengthwise across the bottom and up the 2 short sides, 1 to fit crosswise and up the 2 longer sides. Cut the strips long enough to have a few inches of overhang on all sides.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup of the flour mixture. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and stir in the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Finish folding the batter by hand to make sure everything is incorporated — the batter will be very thick.

  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the loaf is golden with a couple of cracks on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan set over a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift the loaf from the pan. Let rest for another 30 minutes.

  5. When the loaf is cool and firm enough to handle, but still slightly warm, sift the powdered sugar all over a large rimmed baking sheet (keep the sieve handy). Peel the parchment from the cake. Gently turn the loaf over in 1 hand, using part of your forearm to support it. Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom of the cake with some of the melted butter. Carefully set the loaf, right-side up, in the powdered sugar. From there, brush the long sides with the butter, turning the cake from side to side to coat in sugar, then brush and coat the short sides. Lastly, brush the top with the butter, grab a handful or two of sugar from the tray, deposit into the sieve, and sift sugar generously over the top of the loaf. Roll the entire loaf in sugar once more so that it resembles a giant powdered sugar donut. Carefully transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving, touching up the loaf with a quick sifting of sugar as needed.

Recipe Notes

Nutmeg: Freshly grated makes all the difference here.

Reprinted with permission from MIDWEST MADE © 2019 by Shauna Sever, Running Press.

This recipe is a part Shauna Sever’s Week of Desserts. You can find all the recipes here.