Filed Under: Chocolate | Dessert | Donut

Classic Cake Doughnuts

Recipe By Tessa Arias
March 13th, 2015
4.58 from 14 votes
4.58 from 14 votes

Classic Cake Doughnuts feature a beautifully fried golden brown exterior and ultra tender delicate interior - a perfect vehicle for a rich and fudgy chocolate glaze!

Yield: 14 doughnuts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

This one is a KEEPER. SO GOOD everyone thought they were from a bakery!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Rich and ultra chocolaty, with the distinct touch of nutmeg that just makes a doughnut a doughnut.
Texture: The doughnut itself is slightly crisp on the outside and soft and delicate on the inside, with that thick and fudgy glaze. To die for!
Ease: You can totally do this, and it’s easy than yeast-based doughnuts, but you will make a mess. So completely and utterly worth it to enjoy a bite of heaven.
Appearance: Pure decadence in the shape of a tube. Can’t beat that.
Pros: Absolutely delightful, everyone will love these.
Cons: Messy and rich.
Would I make this again? Oh yeah, no question.

You guys NEED to make this recipe! I died and went to heaven in just the first bite!

Look out everyone because I have been on an insane doughnut rampage recently. And the most dangerous part is that indulging in and making doughnuts only makes me want more in return! It’s a vicious cycle, but luckily you seem to enjoy when I post a doughnut recipe so at least I have that as my excuse. What’s yours?! Just kidding, everyone understands a doughnut obsession and if they don’t they may not be trustworthy (kidding again, sort of). These classic cake doughnuts are absolutely positively delightful and as a warning, they’re highly addictive. You just can’t beat that fried golden brown crust with that tender, soft, and delicate interior. And then to top it all off with a super rich, chocolaty, and fudgy glaze just takes it to a whole other level. Make these for your family and they won’t believe you did, they’ll think you went to the bakery they’re that good.

OMG I died and went to heaven!! These are perfect and actually doable!

The best part is that they don’t take nearly as long as yeast raised doughnuts but are just as good. Where yeast raised doughnuts are ultra light and fluffy, these have some more heft to them and are slightly crunchy, but still soft and satisfying. Cake doughnuts actually get their rise from baking powder instead of yeast. They also still have that hint of nutmeg flavor which is absolutely characteristic of just about any doughnut, but feel free to omit the nutmeg if you don’t like it. By the way, these doughnuts are deep fried without apology and it’s glorious. If you fry at the correct temperature they actually won’t absorb much oil at all. You can try baking them, I haven’t personally because I know they wouldn’t be nearly as delicious.

Be sure to have a candy thermometer on hand to measure the temperature of the oil not just for safety reasons, but to ensure your doughnuts don’t end up greasy and limp or overcooked or even burnt. I also love my doughnut cutter tool, but you can use two round cookie cutters for the same effect.

Look at that thick, fudgy chocolate glaze! That's my kind of doughnut.

Unfrosted cake doughnuts - limitless flavor options for this recipe!

The flavor and customization options with this cake doughnut recipe are limitless. Top with any type of glaze, sprinkles, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, just have fun!

Love my doughnut cutter for making easy and perfect bakery-quality doughnuts

4.58 from 14 votes

How to make
Classic Cake Doughnuts

Yield: 14 doughnuts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
inactive time 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Classic Cake Doughnuts feature a beautifully fried golden brown exterior and ultra tender delicate interior - a perfect vehicle for a rich and fudgy chocolate glaze!


For the doughnuts

  • 3 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk), at room temperature
  • Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, for frying

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


For the doughnuts:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture with the milk and melted butter, starting and ending with the flour. The dough will be soft. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until the dough is firm enough to handle.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Roll the dough out into 1/4-inch thickness and cut with a doughnut cutter or with a large round cutter and a small cutter for the holes. Place the doughnuts on a lightly floured parchment lined baking sheet. Let the doughnuts sit at room temperature while you heat the oil.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, deep, and heavy pan to 350°F. Place three to four doughnuts in the oil at a time and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute or less per side (30 seconds for the holes). Do not overcook the doughnuts. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

For the glaze:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla and heat until the butter melts. Decrease the heat to low and add the chocolate, whisking until melted. Turn off the heat and add the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Immediately dip the doughnuts into the glaze. If the glaze begins to set return the saucepan to low heat and stir until liquid again. Let the glaze set on the doughnuts for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

The corn syrup in the glaze keeps it nice and shiny and thick, but feel free to omit it if you prefer not to use it.
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Sarah | Broma Bakery — March 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

    They could not look more perfect, Tessa! And that doughnut cutter is a must. I need to get one!

  2. #
    Gaby — March 13, 2015 at 10:14 am

    YUM! OMG YUM!!!

  3. #
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg — March 16, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I want all of these. They look so delicious.

  4. #
    Doris C. — March 25, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Made these and just dropped in the grease from the spoon and yummy. great recipe easy too. the chocolate icing was just right too.

  5. #
    Paula — March 31, 2015 at 6:18 am

    can I bake them instead of frying?

  6. #
    pamela — December 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I see that someone asked about baking instead of frying? Is that possible?
    Thank you,

  7. #
    angie — February 14, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    question: if the dough is going to be soft, should it be sitting at room temperature, especially for 30 minutes? that just seems like it would only make the dough softer and harder to work with

  8. #
    Muna — September 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Km is equivalent to the standard cup flour

  9. #
    Richard — June 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I’d tried 3 different plain donut recipes before this one and this one yielded the best results for me. Most recipes I’d tried rendered a dense donut, this recipe yields a light and airy donut that’s good for dunking in cold milk. After setting for a half hour, the dough was extremely user friendly, and much easier to handle vs the previous recipes I’d tried. The batch cooked quickly, and the count was dead on accurate, right down to the 14th donut too. I love fresh nutmeg so I used one whole pod. This is my permanent,go-to, plain donut recipe for life

  10. #
    Sophie — September 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    I just made these and they are so good! I baked instead of fried, and they still came out great; I would guess the texture is a little more dense than it would have been if I had fried them. The glaze was a little thin, next time I’ll add a little less butter and milk and some more powdered sugar. Other than that these were really great!

  11. #
    Patrica — January 13, 2019 at 8:03 am

    I actually made these! Yummo! Makes more than 14 though! I counted about 25 + the donut holes! Thank you!

  12. #
    Rosemary Lee — March 29, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    This recipe is the best donut recipe I’ve ever found. I used a half cup less flour than listed in the recipe. My thermometer said donuts should be fried at 360 to 375 degrees. I’ll never use another cake donut recipe!

  13. #
    Eddie Martin Jr. — April 25, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    I followed this recipe to the letter. Sorry donuts! The glaze, however, turned out well. 1 star for the donuts and 5 stars for the glaze.

    • #
      marlene jones — July 22, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Makes ya wonder what you did wrong if were sorry since everyone else loved them.

  14. #
    Denise — June 21, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    These were delicious, thank you for the recipe! My kids had fun cutting them out.

  15. #
    Becky — October 6, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Does cake flour work better for the classic donuts like in the sour cream donut recipe? Just curious because they turned out so awesome. Thanks

  16. #
    Donna — October 10, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    These were awesome! Don’t leave the nutmeg out. You don’t taste it. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for sharing!!!

  17. #
    Janet — January 29, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Delicious and easier than I thought! I was afraid! Lol-at 66 years old I’ve never made donuts! The dough came together nicely and was so easy to roll out and work with. I made the chocolate glaze and also did some with cinnamon sugar-both were delicious! I’m scoring points with the whole family now since we are all donut lovers! Thank you for such a delicious, easy recipe with great directions. Quick question-can the glaze be made before frying the donuts? It was a bit hectic trying to get the glaze done in between frying. Thanks in advance!

  18. #
    Scott Weaver — March 23, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Love the doughnut recipe! When I was young we would buy plain cake doughnuts, but instead of the chocolate glaze part here, we would just buy chocolate cake frosting and heat that in the microwave and spread it on the doughnuts with a butter knife. Sometimes we would add crushed nuts, candy sprinkles or coconut shavings on top.

  19. #
    K l carlisle — April 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Maybe too much flour. Did not fluff out very much.

  20. #
    David~Omaha, NE — April 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Just made these this morning, used the frosting recipe too. Delicious! Donut was exactly how you described (and how I like), crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I did use nutmeg and halved it…my kids are weird eaters. It’s the secret ingredient that Winchells uses. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. #
    Meriah — April 14, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    These were my first-ever try at making doughnuts and they turned out beautifully! Thank you!

  22. #
    Hafsa — April 29, 2020 at 4:12 am

    The dough is too sticky can I add more flour so I can roll it out?

  23. #
    Sparkels — November 9, 2020 at 6:25 am

    I made these donuts with just a few changes, I made it the original way first but accidentally burn them. The only changes I made was I added 3/4 cups of sugar and 3/2 tsp of nutmeg. Either way the original or my adjustments they taste just like donuts. Thank you so much for the great and easy recipe.

    • #
      Tessa — November 9, 2020 at 9:44 am

      So happy this recipe was a success for you!

  24. #
    Linda E Johnson — January 23, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    These turned out awesome. I added a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves in addition to the nutmeg. They remind me of the original “dunkin’ donut” that they used to have, with the little handle on the side. Those were my favorite and I miss them, so it’s nice to have this recipe. I used a chocolate ganache glaze instead of your icing recipe, also.

  25. #
    John — February 1, 2021 at 6:57 am

    I omitted the corn syrup from the glaze so maybe that’s why, but the glaze was much too thin to use “immediately” after whisking in pwd sugar. Letting it cool and thicken for about 10-15min yielded much better results. Happy with the recipe otherwise, thanks!

  26. #
    McK — April 3, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Can this dough be made in advance before frying? Thanks

    • #
      Tessa — April 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      I haven’t tried that with this recipe, sorry! You’ve got to be careful refrigerating doughnuts made with baking powder/soda. Yeast doughnuts are a little less of a risky doughnut to refrigerate in advance, can I recommend my Yeast Raised Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts instead? I have details in the comments section there how to make them in advance. 🙂

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