donut pan idea no. 14: cake + royal icing life preservers

A cupcake-style confection was one of the very first ideas I had for the donut pans, but here we are at number fourteen and I'm just getting to it. I made these cake rings for Oliver's third birthday party this past weekend. There was a bit of a nautical/SpongeBobSquarePants theme happening, and I thought these would be great alongside the cake, basically functioning as cupcakes. BUT, I (along with David) have a HUGE thing for royal icing. I cannot pass it up. A typical cake recipe like this makes 24 donuts. By party time there were just a handful left, enough to use as decorations. They were little life preservers on his under-the-sea themed cake.

There is so much room for experimentation and delicious flavor combinations with these cake rings, just like with cupcakes. For the cake, I used a simple, boxed white cake mix. For the royal icing, I used this Martha Stewart basic raw egg white recipe. God I love that stuff.

Both the white cake mix and the royal icing require egg whites, so I got a chance to try out this awesome egg separating trick using a water bottle of all things. It was all over the internet last week. You should try it, it's so fun.

The bottle sucks it right up!

The white cake mix stays extra white without the addition of
egg yolk. But use whatever cake mix (or recipe) you want!

Prepare your pans by spraying with baking spray or oiling and flouring. For
best results, I poured less than 1/4 cup of batter into each donut cavity.

Ready to bake. I kept a good eye on these, and they were done in about 18 minutes, give or take.

While the cake donuts were baking, I worked on my beloved royal icing
with the three ingredients shown here. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe.

I kept about a fifth of the frosting separate to color and use for the life preserver details later.

When the cakes are ready, pop them out of the pans and cool completely. Beautiful!

I piped the royal icing on in a thick layer. These are a little lumpier than I would've liked, but
I needed the icing thick for the next step. Feel free to ice or frost yours however you want!

 Here I mixed A LOT of blue food coloring with the reserved white icing. And a lot of water, to thin it.

I used the thin blue icing to paint a pattern on the cakes to make them look like life preservers.

 I did try piping on the blue pattern, but I didn't like how it looked.
We ate those first. You can see how good they taste, can't you?

I left them to dry for a few hours before storing in a container. Because of the moisture in the cake, they never get as firm as if you were to use the icing on a sugar cookie, but they hold up if handled gently. And they were handled! At Oliver's party the kids ate these first, before we even cut into the cake. I would happily make these again anytime, they are so cute (the donuts, and the kids)!


  1. These are SO CUTE, I can't even stand it!!!

    1. You are so sweet, Kelly! I encourage anyone reading this to go check out Kelly's awesome DIY party blog! There is some serious cute over there! :)


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