These donuts are baked, not fried, and come together super quickly for a comforting seasonal treat. Subtly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and coated in a cinnamon sugar topping, you'll be making these Pumpkin Cake Donuts on repeat this Fall.
Pumpkin Cake Donuts bring the best flavors of Fall to the table!
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The Best Pumpkin Dessert Recipe
Baked donuts are so much easier to make than fried. Fried donuts are really, really good, too. But, when you don't want to spend a ton of time making a treat, these are absolutely perfect. Using a simple donut baking pan, you have so many options for healthyish baked cake donuts. Of course, these glazed chocolate donuts are healthyish because they're mini. So that means you save a few calories if you just eat one!
For all the pumpkin fans out there, pumpkin cake doughnuts are the real deal.
They are subtly pumpkin-y and gently spiced with all the warm Fall spices. I use nutmeg and cinnamon, but you could also add cloves, ginger and pumpkin pie spice to make them more pumpkin spice donuts.
You know, to go with your Pumpkin Spice Latte from Dunkin Donuts.
How to Make these donuts
Making baked pumpkin donuts is easy. As with all recipes, I recommend you read through the recipe before beginning. And, I recommend you make sure you have all the ingredients, and at the proper temperatures.
To begin, whisk together your dry ingredients. This includes both all-purpose flour (regular flour you likely have in your pantry already) and cake flour.
Cake flour can be substituted cup-for-cup with all-purpose flour if you do not have cake flour. Alternatively, use one cup all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons from the one cup and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk together to aerate and create a light and fluffy flour to add to your donut batter.
When whisking together the dry ingredients, this is your opportunity to add in additional spices, too. I chose to use nutmeg and cinnamon only, as I like a subtly spiced donut.
You can opt to add in pumpkin pie spice, ginger and/or clove as well. I'd recommend ¼ teaspoon of each. These spices go far in this recipe, so I recommend using a light hand when adding them in.
Next, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. It may seem like very little butter, but it all works out, trust me!
Add in the whole eggs and egg yolk. Using one whole egg plus an additional egg yolk helps create structure and richness to the baked donuts. And the buttermilk gives these pumpkin donuts moisture and tenderness.
Then add in the pumpkin puree and mix until you get that beautiful pale orange color. Even the color screams Fall!
Lastly, add the buttermilk and flour in small amounts, alternating until the batter is fully mixed.
Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag with the corner sniped off) with batter, pipe into donut pans and bake. Then, to finish them off, dip in melted butter on both sides and dredge in cinnamon sugar topping. Yum!
Tips for Making Pumpkin Cake Donuts
- I highly recommend investing in a donut pan (or two) for this, and other baked donut recipes. They're inexpensive (less than $15 for two) and make the shape and baking of these donuts come out perfectly
- I recommend using pumpkin puree for this recipe rather than pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has other ingredients added to it that will alter the end result of the recipe
- To fill the donut cavities, you can use a piping bag or create your own. Start by taking a gallon sized ziptop bag and fill it with the donut batter. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and twist the top to close so the batter doesn't squeeze out the top while you're piping. On one bottom corner, snip a small diagonal piece off with a scissor. Squeeze the batter out into each cavity, filling only ⅔ of the way
- Try not to overfill the donut cavities with batter. It may be tempting, however, the donuts will puff up while baking. And, you’ll lose the hole in the middle if you overfill. If this does happen, just take a sharp knife and cut out the middle once the donuts are cooled to get the center hole back. You may also use an apple corer, cupcake corer or a large piping tip to punch out the center
Can I make gluten free pumpkin donuts using this recipe?
To make these donuts gluten-free, you can try replacing the all-purpose and cake flours for a cup-for-cup or measure-for-measure gluten free all-purpose flour. The donuts may require a couple of more minutes baking time as well, so check for doneness before pulling them out of the oven to cool.
I have not tried this myself, however, I have had luck substituting like this with other baked recipes.
Can I make baked pumpkin donut holes using this recipe?
Yes! Use a mini muffin tin, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and fill each well about ⅔ full. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, checking for doneness by pressing your finger gently into one. If the donut hole bounces back, they are done. If your finger leaves an indent, keep baking another minute or two.
Can I bake these in muffin tins instead of a donut pan?
Yes! If you do not have, donut pan, use a standard sized muffin tin instead. Spray the wells with nonstick cooking spray and bake 18-20 minutes. Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, dunk the tops of the muffins in melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar.
Looking for more donut recipes? Give these a try:
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FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
Pumpkin Cake Donuts
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- ¾ cup buttermilk room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350º F (177º C). Spray donut pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and cake flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer (stand mixer or hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the whole eggs and egg yolk to the bowl and cream until blended, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Turn the mixer to low and stir in the pumpkin purée, mixing just until evenly incorporated and the batter is a nice pale shade of orange. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk in 3 stages, stopping to scrape down the sides between additions. Do not overmix.
- Fill a large piping bag (or large ziplock bag with a corner cut off about ½ an inch) with the batter. Pipe batter into each donut well until each is about ⅔ of the way full (do not fill to the top).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until the donuts spring back when poked gently. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before turning out of the pans and then dipping.
- In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, melt the butter. Place bowls next to each other for dipping the donuts.
- Once donuts are cool enough to handle, dip each donut top and bottom into the butter then toss gently in the cinnamon sugar topping, shaking off any excess, and placing on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Serve warm.
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First time making donuts and these were super easy and delicious!
How wonderful, Lauren! So happy you chose this as your first donut recipe, it's a great one!
Do you know how to make it without eggs? We've got egg allergies.
I'm sorry, I haven't tried this recipe without eggs...
I have substituted the eggs with 1/4c plain applesauce per egg. It does make the donut a little dense but still delicious.
You can also make flax eggs and follow the substitution for that. You would have to Google that though. I forget.