Old Fashioned Cake Doughnuts Recipe| The Recipe Critic


Cake donuts are rich and golden and take the word delicious to the next level! The sweet taste completely melts in your mouth and the delicate frosting with sprinkles will leave you asking for more!

The combination of the fluffy texture of a cake with the delicious flavor and shape of a donut is what makes these cake donuts the BEST! It’s a dessert that your family will go crazy over!! If you have a sweet tooth, you absolutely have to try these other dessert recipes like Brownie Cookies, Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Angel Food Cupcakes!

Stack of donuts.

How are Cake Donuts Different than Regular Donuts?

As someone who loves donuts, I am here to tell you the difference between them and what makes these ones the absolute best. First, let me tell you what actually qualifies something to be a donut. A donut is sweetened dough that is typically cooked in the shape of a ring. Easy right? I bet you already knew that! So what is it that makes a cake donut different?? Well, unlike other donuts, when baking a cake donut, you don’t use yeast! It uses baking powder to get that rich, fluffy texture. And without using yeast, well, this recipe is that much easier!!

Cake donuts are just as sweet as regular donuts. The thing that is truly different is their texture which is just like a cake. This makes them a little bit richer and you will get full more quickly while eating them! I especially love that in this recipe, the delicious glaze runs right to the edge of the donut. It not only tastes like heaven but they look so pretty! Donuts are a staple for breakfast, brunch, snack time, and dessert which means that they will get eaten for sure!

Ingredients for Cake Donuts

Simple and satisfying, these cake donuts are at the top of my list when I am picking a delicious dessert recipe. I usually have all of the ingredients on hand which makes baking them a cinch! See the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements!

  • Flour: I used an all purpose flour when making these donuts.
  • Sugar: The necessary ingredient for them to be sweet!
  • Baking powder: This is what will give them that cake like texture. The bubbles make from this make the cake fluffy!
  • Salt: salt makes this delicous and encourages that golden brown color of the donut.
  • Butter: Make sure to use unsalted, melted butter.
  • Eggs: Beat the eggs before mixing them in!
  • Whole milk: A superstar ingredient, whole milk provides fat, sugar, protien content and creaminess to the donuts!
  • Vanilla: Vanilla does a great job enhancing the overall sweet flavor.

Ingredients for Glaze

  • Powdered sugar: powdered sugar is the necessary component for the sweetness of the glaze!
  • Butter: You will use unsalted, melted butter for the glaze as well!
  • Vanilla: If you want to switch it up or you have it on hand, vanilla bean paste is an excellent option for the vanilla taste as well!  
  • Milk: This will bind all of the ingredients together.

How to Make Cake Donuts

Mixing all of the ingredients together goes quickly! You can save some time and make the glaze while your donuts are baking and it will be all ready to go once they cool! Mix this up by adding food coloring to the glaze or changing up the sprinkles to mini chocolate chips, mini m&m’s, or really, whatever your heart desires! They will be delicious no matter what!

  1. Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350° and grease donut pans with cooking spray.
  2. Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Wet Ingredients: In a medium bowl whisk together the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.
  4. Mix: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  5. Pipe: Use a large ziplock bag with the corner snipped off or a large pastry bag to pipe the batter into the greased donut pans, filling the pans only ¾ of the way full.
  6. Put it in the oven: Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. While the donuts are baking, mix together the vanilla glaze.
  7. Make the Glaze: Mix the powdered sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Add the milk 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches the desired thickness. You don’t want it to be so thin that it runs right off the donut, but you also don’t want it to be thick and paste like.
  8. Cool, glaze and sprinkle: Cool the donuts for 5-10 minutes before dipping in the glaze and sprinkling with desired sprinkles.
Four photos of the process of making cake donuts.

Donut Hacks

If you make these cake donuts at home, you’ll realize how good they taste, and suddenly, it saves you a trip to your local donut shop!! Once you make these once, you won’t be able to stop! Here are a few ideas on how you can make sure that these donuts turn out just PERFECT!

  • Everything is better when it’s chocolate! For a chocolate glaze instead, just simply add ½ cup of melted chocolate chips to the glaze mixture!
  • Donut poppers: Don’t have a donut pan? Try putting the batter in mini muffin tins and make them “donut poppers”. You will need to change the cooking temperature to 400 degrees and cook them for 8-9 minutes instead!
  • Tap your pan: Once your donuts are piped into the pan, pick it up with both hands and gently tap it onto your counter. This will even your donut batter out and help to eliminate any air pockets!

Tips For The Best Cake Donuts

Homemade Cake Donuts are quiet easy and take little to no time to make!

  • Donut Pan: Using a cake donut pan is essential to getting the distinct ring form for the donuts. These pans can be found at most craft stores and even some grocery stores. They typically come with 6, 12, or 20 donut wells.
  • Filling The Pan: Be sure to fill the donut pan only ¾ of the way full. Any more full and the center of the donut will disappear as the donut batter rises.
  • Vanilla Bean Paste: This is optional, but using vanilla bean paste will take your donuts to the next level! Vanilla bean paste is a thick paste of vanilla bean caviar (what the vanilla beans are called) and will give your donuts and icing a speckled look as well as amazing vanilla flavor!

Donuts on a cooling rack.

Storing Homemade Cake Donuts

I love to double this recipe so that I can have these cake donuts for breakfasts, snacks, and dessert all week! If you store them in an airtight container, they can stay fresh at room temperature for 5 days! If you store them in your fridge, they will last a few more days. Also, try to keep your donuts away from any windows in the kitchen because the sun will cause the glaze to melt off! As with any donuts, these homemade cake donuts are best eaten the same day they are made. But if you have leftovers (I bet you won’t!) they can keep them at room temperature for 2-3 days.

  • Served Fresh Out Of The Oven: For optimal enjoyment, these donuts are best served as soon as they have cooled enough to be dipped in the icing.
  • Room Temp: They are best stored flat on a baking sheet with a plastic lid on top. If you don’t have a plastic lid for your cookie sheet then try to store them without icing and covered them with plastic wrap. If they already have icing on them and are covered in plastic wrap, it may remove some of the icings when the plastic wrap is taken off.

A cake donut being held that is half eaten.


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