donut pan idea no. 48: sombrero cakes!

SOMBRERO CAKES! Little cake sombreros with miniature ice cream cone (cup) tops. Stella and I are feeling pretty proud of these. We came up with this idea last June but it was too late for Cinco de Mayo, so we waited and waited, and now the time has come! 

These little hat-shaped cakes were so easy to make and REALLY fun to decorate. See how by clicking on "read more" below!

This recipe yields 24 perfect sombreros. You will need one box of yellow cake mix with three eggs, 1/2 c. vegetable oil and 1 c. water (or per box instructions), one box mini ice cream cones with flat bottoms if you can find them (see note below), buttercream frosting (store-bought has the perfect color), a half-batch of royal icing, and assorted decorations. I used some bright blue and gold sugar sprinkles, and lots of assorted candy ball decorations for pompoms. You will also need baking spray for the pans and a pastry bag for the royal icing.

Note: I happened across boxes of 42 Joy brand Mini Cups at a local supermarket, but they might be hard to find unless you look online. A regular sized flat bottomed cone is too big, but the end of a pointed cone might work just fine.

Start by preheating your oven to 325º. Spray four donut pans (including the centers) with baking spray and set aside. Mix the cake mix per the instructions on the box.

Fill the donut pan cavities half way with about 2-3 tbsp. of batter. You don't want the batter to rise too far above the tops of the pans, so be sure to not overfill. 

After filling all four donut pans with batter, add a scant two tsp. of the extra batter to the bottom of a mini cup and invert over the center of a filled pan cavity. Straighten the cup and press very gently into the batter. Do this for all 24 cakes.

When the cakes are ready to go, place all four pans in the oven to bake. The next step is IMPORTANT! Set your timer for three minutes. When it goes off, pull all the pans from the oven and straighten the cone cups again. If they bake any further all tilted and crooked they will stay that way. Carefully and quickly straighten them all and set them back in the oven. Set the timer for another twelve minutes to bake completely, but check for a few more minutes to make sure no one starts leaning again. 

When they are done baking, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes, then gently pry from the pans and cool completely on racks.

Now the decorating! Mix up a quick half batch of royal icing. Fit a pastry bag with a tip with a small hole in the end and fill it with the icing. The color of the cups works really well with the yellow cake, so you can decorate some of the hats with just royal icing and decorations on the plain cake. I chose to frost (and sometimes sugar sprinkle) my sombreros completely, then used the royal icing to draw designs and affix the candy decorations on top of the frosting and sprinkles. I used round candy ball decorations around the hat perimeters to look like the pompoms on a sombrero.

I made a few blue sugar sprinkle sombreros too, but they were cramping my palette in these photos, so I ate them first. Do you remember the feeling of eating cake baked in a cone like these? It brought back memories of childhood for sure. The rest of these are in the freezer waiting for Stella to take them into school on Friday for a little presentation she is going to give on Cinco de Mayo. Her idea, so cute.

Here's something else cute. Shove a stick in the bottom and you've got yourself some sort of Cinco de Mayo cake pop. Que chido!


  1. Genius!!!! Another amazing donut pan idea, I may have to try these for my nieces Cinco de Mayo birthday party!

  2. Your creativity continues to astound me.

    1. Thank you, LT. These were pretty inspired, I'll admit! Stella initially thought of the hat idea, I just engineered it! :)

  3. i love this ... i am so trying this ... :]

    1. Let me know if you do, Yess! The mini cups are hard to find. I should've bought a few boxes to stow away for people who wanted to try this. Good luck!

  4. This is genius! I don't have a donut maker but if I can convince my husband that I have 48 ways to use it ...

    Glad I found your blog!
    xo Jackie

    1. Hi Jackie! I'm glad you found my blog, too! They aren't donut makers, just inexpensive donut pans, so go for it! :)

  5. seriously, so so so so cute!!!



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