Banana Maple Bourbon Bacon Donut Cake

~Layers of dense banana bread cake, topped with an airy, buttery maple bourbon Italian meringue buttercream, vanilla bean maple caramel sauce, mini maple yeast donuts.... AND a giant maple bacon donut. ~

Every year for my kid's birthdays, I let them plan the menu for what we'll be serving at their party. We've done everything from take out pizza, homemade pizza, hot dog bars, sundae bars, taco bars.... and this year for my youngest son's birthday we did fried chicken and  donuts.

I made all of the donuts of course, but we ordered a huge bucket of fried chicken from our favorite chicken take out place (famous in NH).... The Puritan Backroom. Most of our party guests were not local, so this chicken was new to them, and they all agreed afterwards. Best chicken EVER. It's slightly sweet, with the perfect coating, not too thick, not greasy, just perfect. I've always thought their coating tastes like a cake donut.... so it paired perfectly with my donut spread.  

For donuts I served up only yeast donuts ( my specialty), the cinnamon nutmeg were the favorites amongst the crew.... and I also had a Hot Toddy Donut (Jack Daniels, Tennessee Honey, Cinnamon, and Lemon) and vanilla bean frosted donut pops.

For the cake, Chase requested a banana cake, which at first was totally normal for him. I make him banana bread after school atleast twice a week, the kid gobbles it up, and last year he requested a banana biscoff cake. So I wasn't that surprised on his choice... UNTIL, he said he wanted maple syrup frosting and bacon donuts on it. He even went as far as asking that I put a toy squid on the cake too.... but I couldn't find a toy squid to top it with.... so he just got the donut. I don't think he minded one little bit! 

Banana Maple Bourbon Bacon Donut Cake

Recipe Adaptations from Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Joy the Bakers Bourbon Banana Bread  
With buttercream tips from Savory Simple


For the donuts:
1 package of quick rise yeast ( I use RedStar Platinum)
1/4 cup warm water
3 tbs sugar
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
About 2.5-3.5 cups of bread flour (All purpose will work if you don't have bread flour)
Vegetable oil for frying

Donut Glaze:
1 tbs maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar + 1/4 cup if needed
1 tbs of milk( only if needed)
Pinch of salt
Water if needed
1 slice cooked bacon for topping (optional)

For the Frosting:
5 Large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup maple bourbon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature

For the caramel:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the cake:
4 cups cake flour
2.5 tbs baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 6 bananas)
1/4 cup maple bourbon

To prepare your donuts, place yeast, sugar and water together in a small bowl. Set aside until it is foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine yeast mixture, butter, egg, salt and 1 cup of flour. Mix with your dough hook on medium low speed. Mix in the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until it comes together and is just barely sticky and pulls away from the bowl while mixed.

Turn mixer to high and "knead" for about 60 seconds.

Place dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it doubles in size. (this could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on which yeast you use, and how warm your home is)

Once it is done rise, place dough on to a lightly floured surface, roll it out until it is about 1/3 of an inch thick. Using a small cookie cutter about 1.5-2 inches in diameter, cut small donuts, removing the center with another small cutter ( used a frosting tip),  cut one donut with a a standard 4 inch donut cutter.

Place cut doughnuts on a greased baking sheet to rise. ( you can save the scarps to fry up as well, we dip them in maple syrup)

Preheat oil to 365-370 degrees.

Once the doughnuts have risen, and appear to be very inflated, almost like if you poked them they would pop.

Carefully drop in to preheated frying oil. If you handle the doughnuts too much they will deflate, and they will not have that airy texture when fried.

Cook each donut until it is golden, flipping over to make sure both sides color evenly.

Strain from oil, place on paper towels or a paper bag to continue to drain.

Allow to cool while you prepare the glaze.

Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth. Dip tops of cooled mini donuts into the glaze, it should drip down the sides and lightly cover the donuts. With the left over glaze, mix in a tad more powdered sugar to form a thicker frosting that can be spread over the top of your large donut. If the frosting becomes too thick, add in milk to thin it out.

Crumble cooked bacon over the top of your large donut. Set all donuts aside to dry while you prepare the rest of your cake.

For the cake, cream butter sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy. Mix in mashed banana, flour, salt, baking powder and bourbon. Once it is all mixed together, pour into greased 8 inch cake pans. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Or until golden and a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool on a baking wrack in the refrigerator.

To prepare your frosting, place, sugars, bourbon and salt in a small sauce pan, heat until it comes to a low boil, and all the sugars have dissolved.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Whip egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Slowly drizzle in the sugar bourbon syrup while whipping on medium/high speed. Continue whipping until you form stiff shiny peaks.

Cut butter into small pieces and drop in one piece at a time while whipping on medium high speed. Once the all the butter has been added, continue to whip until it is fluffy and smooth. It should be thick and stick to the beaters.

Level cakes so they are flat on the tops and bottoms, spread one layer (about a 1/4-1/2 inch thick) across the top of one of the layers. Place second layer on the top. Frost the entire cake, using all of the frosting.

To prepare caramel, heat sugar, maple syrup, salt and butter on low heat until it reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from heat, mix in the vanilla bean and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream  until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Pour cooled caramel over the center of the cake, using a spoon to guide it to drip down the sides. Place cake in the refrigerator  to cool.

Once caramel has cooled, place small donuts around the edges (you may have extra.... embrace that. Eat them later!)

Place large donut on a wooden dowel or straw and place in the center of your cake.  Keep the cake chilled, remove from fridge 1 hour before cutting and serving.


  1. HOLY BANANAS!!!!! This cake is flipping epic, Carrie! I would like a slice or two!

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  2. So freakin' good. Best donuts ever!

  3. This is an awesome cake and I'm loving the pics too

    1. Thanks Matt! I hadn't planned on blogging this... so I didn't take the best pics :/

  4. Amazing Carrie! This cake looks insanely delicious, I bet Chase could feel his Mama's love! Hope he had a great day! I bet you don't have any leftovers!

  5. Looks amazing! One question - in the directions it references egg but not in the cake ingredients. How many eggs did you use?

  6. Wow, my birthday is coming up and I think I'll ask my wife to make this for me!!

  7. Wow, my birthday is coming up and I think I'll ask my wife to make this for me!!

  8. You are one talented lady, this looks sooooo good!

  9. I want you to come make me my next birthday cake!!! Amazing!

  10. This cake is pretty much everything! I've always wanted to make homemade doughnuts, but I can speak from experience that Italian buttercream and banana bread are the bomb. Combined, I can't even imagine. Happy birthday to your son!