Who needs a cake when you have a DOUGHNUT BIRTHDAY TOWER?! Yes, you have to scream it at least one time.

Doughnut Birthday Tower recipe from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

I’ve told you twice now about a bubble-themed birthday party I did recently. All the foods were bubble shaped, aka spherical, and the cake did not get a pass! I thought I would have some fun with this party and serve doughnut holes for dessert instead of cake or cupcakes.

There is a fancy French dessert which often shows up at weddings called a croquembouche. It is a tower of cream puffs held together with freshly spun caramel. How amazing does that sound? Well, this Doughnut Birthday Tower is sort of like the distant, not-so-fancy, cousin. It may not be a fancy French dessert, but it sure is fun to build and makes a stunning centerpiece for a more casual affair like a children’s birthday party. I used all glazed doughnut holes here, but you could use any flavor or color to match your theme. I think it would look great with multiple colors stacked up together.

Doughnut Birthday Tower recipe from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

When I first tried to make this doughnut birthday tower, I attempted to pile all the doughnut holes on top of one another and seal them with frosting. What I ended up with was a pitiful little mess of a pile. A tasty, tasty mess, but an unattractive mess none the less. Next, I tried inverting a glass flower vase and “glueing” the the doughnut holes to that with hot caramel. Another mess.

By this time I wasn’t having much fun and I was feeling queasy from all the mistakes I ate! I took a break to go shopping. I had other items to procure for this party so I went grocery shopping, then party supply shopping, and finally craft store shopping. As I strolled the aisles buying too much pretty ribbon that may never get used, I came across the floral section and these tall foam cones. They come in sizes from 6 inches tall to about 2 feet tall. Score!

Doughnut Birthday Tower recipe from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

I broke open my toothpick stash and got to poking doughnut holes onto toothpicks that I gently poked into the foam. After I built about half of this tower, I got to thinking about what it might look like once everyone started eating it. I didn’t want a holey white cone leftover as the centerpiece to my colorful party. I carefully removed all the doughnuts and used up my leftover paper bubbles to cover the entire cone. This way, once the doughnut birthday tower begins to be eaten, it will still be a colorful centerpiece to match the party theme. I have since covered these cones in tissue and craft paper with ease. Craft paper is a bit more difficult to poke the toothpicks through, but I think it’s worth the extra effort as it holds up much better than thinner papers.

Take a peek into your local doughnut shop well before your party to make sure their doughnut holes are nice and round. While you’re there, see about setting up a special order to ensure you have enough doughnut holes for your birthday tower. You can use plain glazed like you see here, or a combination of any flavor and color doughnut holes you can find! Once you’ve finished building the tower, you can add cupcake toppers and candles to match your theme and make this Doughnut Birthday Tower feel more like a birthday cake. For the rest of the Bubble-Themed Party details, check out my post on Weelicious.

Doughnut Birthday Tower recipe from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

Doughnut Birthday Tower

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Way more fun than a traditional birthday cake!


  • white foam cone, any size
  • colored paper to match your party theme
  • tape
  • toothpicks
  • doughnut holes (2-6 dozen depending on size of cone)


  1. Leave the plastic wrapping on the foam cone, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
  2. Use colored or patterned tissue, craft or wrapping paper in the party theme colors to wrap the entire cone. Place the covered cone on a cake plate or serving platter.
  3. Push toothpicks into the cone about 1/4 inch from the bottom, and about 1/2 inch apart. Place a doughnut hole on each toothpick.
  4. Repeat until the cone is covered in doughnut holes, and place the final doughnut hole on top of the cone.
  5. Decorate the Doughnut Birthday Tower with flags, cupcake toppers, or candles.

19 Comments on Doughnut Birthday Tower

  1. Elyse
    March 26, 2014 at 11:12 am (7 years ago)

    What a fun centerpiece for a party. Looks delicious!!

  2. Madre
    March 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm (7 years ago)

    Love this! Such a great idea!

  3. Samantha
    September 2, 2014 at 6:42 am (7 years ago)

    How far in advance did you make this? I worry about the donuts getting stale, but also worry that it would take too long to make the day of.

    • Daisy
      September 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm (7 years ago)

      Hi Samantha,

      The doughnut tower was fine after sitting out for several hours. I think you could assemble it a day ahead of time, wrap it in plastic wrap, and it would hold up just fine!

  4. Kmac
    July 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm (6 years ago)

    Thanks so much for this! I am planning one of these for a baby shower brunch, and everything I read said to use frosting – which I thought would be messy… I thought about using toothpicks, but also wondered about having a bunch of styrofoam revealed as they were eaten…. so thanks for showing the toothpick method is preferred AND letting me know how to address the “reveal”!

    • Daisy
      July 6, 2015 at 9:08 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m so glad you found my site and I hope this will be a big hit at the baby shower! In the photos here I used regular colored paper which is a little too thick to poke with toothpicks. You can poke holes with a skewer or thin knife before using the toothpicks. The easiest thing to use is tissue paper because it is thin and easy to poke. If you post photos of your doughnut tower on Twitter or Instagram, I would love to see them! You can tag @daisyathome!

  5. MaryP
    December 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm (5 years ago)

    Love this idea, have seen it on cooking shows. Great solution to the reveal as Kmac noted. Thought I’d try Lacey red doilies. Making one for Christmas brunch with a variety of flavored/colors of donuts with sliced strawberries and grapes also. Greenery woven thru & tiny poinsettias around base & a few here & there on the “tree” for a festive look.

  6. Whitney
    June 21, 2016 at 12:39 am (5 years ago)

    How many donut holes did you use and what size tower? I know how many donut holes I need but I don’t want my cone to be too big or too small!

    • Sarah Elizabeth
      June 29, 2016 at 5:23 am (5 years ago)

      This cone was about 18 inches tall and it took about 4 dozen doughnut holes to cover it completely. I would buy more doughnut holes than you think you need. It is better to have extra than not enough!

  7. Teetine
    July 18, 2020 at 9:21 pm (11 months ago)

    wow.. it surprise me. I look very great. I want try it. but I don’t think I can make it.

  8. thegiftsports
    July 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm (11 months ago)

    It look so great. I don’t know why you can make it. I will try to make it. But don’t believe that I will make perfect like you.

  9. Kristin
    August 17, 2020 at 11:43 pm (10 months ago)

    Love this! Such a great idea!

  10. Lesslie
    August 19, 2020 at 8:29 am (10 months ago)

    Like This! this Looks delicious!

  11. Angelica
    August 20, 2020 at 12:24 am (10 months ago)

    That donut tower banner is super cute!!

  12. Lisa
    August 26, 2020 at 2:54 am (10 months ago)

    It is even sitting out half a day (or more). I did it about 10am but 4pm some still be sticky so fine. Sure you kid will love it much!

  13. Dandre
    September 17, 2020 at 7:14 pm (9 months ago)

    AWESOME! I love how simple this is — but it’s full of fun!

  14. Felipa
    November 4, 2020 at 6:26 pm (7 months ago)

    That’s so so wonderful. I have to try to make it on my birthday kid. Thanks for sharing and love your site.

  15. Kenny
    April 1, 2021 at 9:55 pm (2 months ago)

    So fun! What creative it is! I will try it for my daughter!

  16. Gwyneth
    April 6, 2021 at 3:25 am (2 months ago)

    What a great idea. Thanks for your sharing


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