Happy doughnut day! At least that’s what my kids shouted at me after I surprised them with these homemade chocolate doughnuts after school. And really, what better surprise is there than a doughnut that tastes like chocolate cake and has that perfect crispy doughnut exterior, plus bright blue vanilla frosting and tons of sprinkles? I’ll probably never top that moment as a mom, at least in their eyes.
We’re almost into apple cider and doughnut season here in Michigan, which is on record as being my favorite season. I truly don’t know how everyone outside of the midwest lives without this most perfect of combinations. I know I can’t capture the magic of going to an actual cider mill and having an old-fashioned yeasted doughnut fresh out of the fryer, so I decided to mix it up. My kids live for doughnuts, the more frosted and sprinkled the better, and I was craving chocolate. So really, I had no choice but to make these chocolate cake doughnuts. My hands were tied.
The recipe is adapted, barely, from this one over at Shutterbean. It’s really a simple chocolate cake recipe, but with the extra surface area you get from the doughnut pan, these babies bake up with a crispy exterior that made my husband second guess whether I baked or fried them. I’d call that a win! Once the doughnuts cool, you can glaze them however you like; I went with a simple powdered sugar and cream vanilla glaze that I colored a shocking blue for the kids. Add some rainbow sprinkles and you’ve got yourself a treat that will please the kids and grown ups in your life. It’ll tide me over until the weather cools down enough for me to go to the cider mill.
- For the doughnuts (adapted from Shutterbean):
- 1 cup all- purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's dark)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the vanilla glaze:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring (if using)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a doughnut pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. Pour this into the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe the batter around each doughnut hole, filling it about ¾ of the way full.
- Bake for 13 minutes, until the doughnuts spring back when lightly pressed. Cool the doughnuts for 3 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, cream or half and half, and vanilla. The glaze should be thick enough that it clings to the back of a spoon before dripping off. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too runny or more cream if it’s too thick. Add food coloring, if using.
- Dip each cooled doughnut into the glaze, then turn over and place back on the cooling rack. Sprinkle liberally with sprinkles.