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Baked Chocolate Cinnamon Doughnuts

I'm always hesitant to invest in kitchen gear that I want but don't feel like I really need. So when I saw a doughnut pan at Target recently, my first thought was, "I gotta have that!" Then the sane part of my brain kicked in and said, "Catherine, do we really need yet another baking pan"?

It took me years to invest in a crock pot and rice cooker, both of which I can safely say have changed my life in the kitchen, so I tried rationalizing that this pan would do the same. That felt like a stretch. Finally the fun part of me chimed in and said, "of course we need a doughnut pan! " Oh, how I love my fun part.

Sure, no one in my family needs a fried doughnut, but I thought if I could make a healthier, baked doughnut for say breakfast or a snack treat, the pan would pay for itself in the long run from all the money I'd save not having to buy doughnuts.

I've made pumpkin doughnuts using Ziploc bags to pipe out the doughnuts (watch the video here to see how easy it is). That system works great, but I have to say my new Doughnut Pan is AWESOME and turns out the most perfectly baked doughnut I've ever tasted in terms of size, shape and texture.

When I gave these Baked Cinnamon Chocolate Doughnuts to the kids for breakfast the first morning I made them, they went absolutely nuts. Doughnuts, let alone chocolate ones, just about qualified me for sainthood in their eyes. It was one of those moments that I actually felt like a totally rockin' mom for bringing that kind of joy to them in the morning.

That's as good of an argument as I need to have "yet another baking pan." ;)

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:11]

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Baked Chocolate Cinnamon Doughnuts (Makes 6 doughnuts)

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

nut free

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Icing:
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk or cream

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a standing mixer (or bowl using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar.
4. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and combine.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Spoon into greased and floured donut pan.*
7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
8. To make the icing, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
9. Cool.
10. Drizzle with frosting and serve.
* If you don’t have a doughnut pan, place the dough in a large Ziploc bag, seal the bag airtight and then cut off a 1/2 inch of one corner. Pipe the dough into (circles) doughnuts on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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83 comments

  • Bryn

    Sounds great. Is the texture like a cake donut?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes, very similar to a cake doughnut!

      leave a comment

  • Heather@ Kids In The Sink

    Can't wait to try these! I loved the pumpkin baked donuts when I was pregnant and chocolate sounds even more amazing. They were so super easy to make too. Sounds like breakfast tomorrow!

    leave a comment

  • Elizabeth

    can i use something other then buttermilk..a vegan product?
    thank you
    elizabeth

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could try making them with rice milk. Not sure if they will turn out the same (as I haven't tried it), but it's worth a shot. If you're vegan, though, it might be tough because they also contain egg which is essential for the recipe.

      leave a comment

  • Michele

    Can these be made dairy-free?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I have not tried a non-dairy milk in these, but it would be worth a shot! As for the egg, from everything I have read, 1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed plus 3 Tbsp Water mixed together replaces 1 Egg and seems to be the best alternative.

      leave a comment

    • Kelly

      for the butter you can use butter flavored crisco or dairy free margarine, for the buttermilk you can use almond milk. You won't get the same tang as buttermilk but the texture is similar to buttermilk and may even be a better option to rice milk provided there are no nut allergies in your family. I sub almond milk for buttermilk all the time. You can also add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice per cup of almond milk then measure out how much of that you need for a recipe if you really need the tang that buttermilk gives but I don't usually do that and things taste great.

      leave a comment

  • Tina

    This might be a really silly question, but what's differentiates \"baked donuts\" from muffins other than their shape? Is it that the shape makes the texture a little different when it bakes? I haven't done a side-by-side recipe comparison, but I'm very curious...

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It really depends on the recipes. I actually made some of my left-over batter into mini muffins just for fun and they were great! Yes, the shape is the main difference. People love doughnuts and having a baked doughnut is so much better than fried!

      leave a comment

  • Kristi

    Would half while what flour make them too firm? Also, how do you think some ground flax seed or something would go in there? I don't usually buy donuts for my kiddo so I would like to figure out a way to make these even more healthy.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      They are a little dense and cakey as is, and I do think whole wheat flour would make them even more so. To replace the egg you can try 1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed mixed with 2 Tbsp Water. I haven't tried it, but that seems to be the most popular egg replacement.

      leave a comment

    • Kate K

      I make them with half whole wheat PASTRY flour, which is lighter/less dense, and they are delicious!

      leave a comment

  • Kirstin

    My family loved the pumpkin donuts and I was inspired to use your Chocolate Zucchini bread recipe to pop out some chocolate zucchini donuts. Super yummy! Can't wait to justify purchasing a donut pan (finally) and try these next. By the way, you qualified for Sainthood in my eyes years ago! :)

    leave a comment

  • Bethany Rim

    For those of you who don't keep buttermilk on hand like me, you can make it with milk and vinegar!

    http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm

    leave a comment

  • Diana

    I bet you could sub pumpkin purée for the egg. I'm not sure how much, but I might give it a shot and let you know how it turns out. Skinnytaste posts a lot of cake recipes using box cake mix, water, and pumpkin- great results every time....

    leave a comment

  • Lindsey

    yay!! I have been waiting for these =)

    leave a comment

  • Mary

    Can sugar in the raw be used instead of white sugar?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I tried these with raw sugar and I didn't like the flavor very much. Brown sugar and raw sugar have a molasses flavor and they hold more moisture than white sugar. You can certainly try and see how you like it!

      leave a comment

  • Lindsey

    When you say Coco powder is it the unsweetened kind? I am just not sure on that. Thanks =)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Unsweetened! Sorry, I'm just so used to only ever buying unsweetened I sometimes forget to specify. Thanks for asking!

      leave a comment

  • Bondamber

    I know you said whole wheat flour might make the doughnuts too dense...what about whole wheat pastry flour? When baking is it generally okay to sub whole wheat pastry flour for white? BTW...I am new to your blog and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Thanks for your hard work. It really helps moms like me!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes, in general it is totally okay! It will alter the texture and sometimes flavor of the recipe. I am hesitant to suggest an alternative because I have not tested it that way so I don't know what the end result will be, but experimenting is part of the fun of cooking! Give it a try and let me know how they turn out! :)

      leave a comment

  • Paperandthepea

    Looks delish! :) Can you mix by hand?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can definitely mix by hand! Creaming butter and sugar is just so much quicker and easier for me with the mixer! :D

      leave a comment

  • Xbubble.Princessx

    I made these twice today, and while they were delicious, they did not rise! They were more like flat cookies than doughnuts! Any recommendations?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Oh no! Make sure your baking powder is not expired. Another thing, and it is a little obscure, but can happen on occasion: sometimes when salt touches baking powder it can deactivate it! Weird, right? Try mixing the baking powder into the flour before adding the salt.

      leave a comment

    • Leanne

      Mine were totally flat too :( Not sure about the baking soda- but it could be. It seems impossible to ever use all of what you buy at once before it goes bad! Also, my \"dough\" was very thin- not at all like the pumpkin batter I watched her do. I wonder if it's too much milk or not enough flour... I used a hand mixer. the butter seemed like a small amount too?

      leave a comment

  • Pamela

    I just made these in my donut maker and they turned out perfectly and so delicious! The only thing I did differently with the recipe was add a 1/4c of carrot puree, which you can't taste at all. Great recipe!

    leave a comment

  • Doreen

    Can you estimate how many calories this has.

    leave a comment

    • Marlena

      I was wondering the same thing, so I tried to calculate it! Without the icing it was 202 calories a doughnut! That's of course depending on the brands of products you use!

      leave a comment

  • Carrie

    i just made these with my little chocoholic. scrumptious! we used buttermilk for the liquid in the frosting, just to use it up, so good.
    made them in a mini donut pan - 6 minutes to bake.

    leave a comment

    • Kerry

      Thank you for the timing on using the mini donut pan - that was going to be my question!

      leave a comment

  • Tina

    Seriously??! Made these last night and they were SO GOOD! Really tasted like the genuine article. The buttermilk was a little tangy for me though so next time - which will be soon - I might try the buttermilk suggestion.

    leave a comment

    • Tina

      I mean the almond milk suggestion. :)

      leave a comment

  • Katie

    Looking forward to trying these!

    leave a comment

  • Melodie

    I am making these right now :) but like a previous poster mine turned out flat. i did check the baking powder and it's still good. I will try mixing the salt separate and see if that makes a difference. I was piping these onto parchment paper and I did notice when I was piping that it was already spreading - not keeping the donut shape. Did I add too much liquid possibly? hmm. maybe over mixing? any thoughts? Thanks so much for all of your awesome recipes!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Actually, that spreading happened with me on one round of testing. I did the next batch exactly the same and they came out perfectly. It could have to do with how warm your kitchen is. Possibly adding too much liquid or not enough flour could be the culprit. It seems that sometimes baking just is a little finicky. I'm sorry I can't be more help!

      leave a comment

  • Farah

    Could I use regular milk instead of buttermilk? Haven't had a chance to go the grocery store and I really want to try these. :)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can! They will be a slightly different flavor, as buttermilk lends a pleasant tang. If you want to mimic buttermilk you can add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 Cup of regular milk. Enjoy!

      leave a comment

  • Jessica

    I noticed the icing for the pumpkin doughnuts is 1 TBS milk and in this 1 TSP. Was that a typo?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It is correct. The icing for the pumpkin doughnuts has more dry ingredients (sugar and cinnamon) than this one. Thanks for checking!

      leave a comment

  • Denise

    As an act of pure indulgence I added mini chocolate chips to mine and they were wonderful. Thank you for your delicious ideas!

    leave a comment

  • Liz

    We made them dairy free with earth balance butter spread and almond milk and they came out great!

    leave a comment

  • Absrose

    I was in Target and came across the donut pan, and immediately thought of your story and recipe. :) So, I decided to give it a try! I made them tonight for my 2-year old daughter to enjoy tomorrow morning, and I'm sure she will! They were simple to make and it felt good to make these for her. By the way, I didn't have any buttermilk, so I substituted it with organic whole milk. And, turned out great! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    leave a comment

  • Emma

    Keen to try these after the lovely pumpkin donuts. Found the mix really liquid, didn't hold its shape at all on the baking tray - but to be fair, I had added the 1/4 cup carrot puree as suggested - next time will think to add a bit more flour too. - They've turned out really tasty but more like cakey biscuits than any sort of donut.
    I liked the hint of carrot tho' and the idea of adding a bit more veggie into the mix.
    Will be making again soon!

    leave a comment

  • Laura

    Will these work if you make them into a \"munchkin\" shape?

    leave a comment

  • Emily G

    I made these today and followed recipe exactly, using a bag to pipe. They did end up flat as a pancake, but they still tasted great!

    leave a comment

  • Heather

    MMM... this sounds yummy and looks pretty simple! I am going to try to make them into hearts for my son's snack at school tomorrow! I wish that they would let you still make things to bring in instead of buying them all of the time!

    leave a comment

  • Erica

    I made these this morning, I didn't have a donut pan and the batter was too thin to try and pipe it out into circles. So I put them in muffin tins and they turned out great. I didn't have buttermilk so just used our regular 1% milk. I also didn't have coca-powder... So I used chocolate milk powder. It was good too! Thanks Catherine for wonderful, healthy options for our kids!

    leave a comment

  • Megan

    I just made these and they turned out perfectly. I bought the doughnut pan from target today! I was curious if I should store them in the fridge or if pantry was okay? thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Sealed in an airtight container the pantry is just fine! I'm glad you liked them!

      leave a comment

  • Beckie W

    I made these this morning and subbed white whole wheat flour and maple syrup. Added 1/4 c more buttermilk because of the whole wheat. My 6 yr old devoured them! DH said 'sure taste healthy!' which was code for ick. It's ok: if he wants to eat he'll get on board ;)

    leave a comment

  • Esther

    deeeelicioussss!! and looked like a cute donut to me!!
    ((Definitely helped me with the chocolate craving I've been having lately too!! =P))

    Is there any way to make it more moist? sour cream? zucchini? I'll have to try them next time - wondering if any one else tried anything that added a bit more moistness to it.

    leave a comment

  • Manin

    I just made this and they are amazing! I have a doughnut pan and did a recipe that came with the package but didn't like them at all. So Im so happy now I have a really good one to use with my pan.

    You have a great blog! Thanks for all the ideas, it has been so helpful for me, you have no idea. I have 1.5yo girl and 3yo boy ...

    Sorry for my English, Im from Mexico!

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    Ugh. I just got home from the store from a 10pm run to get the ingredients to make these in the morning. I was positive I already had butter, but of course I get home and don't have enough to make these. I do have a tub of Smart Balance buttery spread. Will that work to make up the quantity difference when I run out of the butter (I have about 1 TBS left of butter)?

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    Ok, so I went out the next mornin and bought more butter. I made these doughnuts exactly to the recipe, but I did not have a doughnut pan. They came out flatter than a doughnut, but with a proper pan, you could clearly see its promise. I did not make the hole large enough, so most of them closed from the expansion while baking. Which was fine, the shape didn't much matter to me, but you should make your holes at least an inch in diameter. Cake doughnuts are my favorite, so I was excited to find a baked version. However, these were disappointing in the \"treat\" of a doughnut sense. They just weren't sweet enough for me. I don't eat any sugar 6 days of the week, so I'm usually pretty sensitive to sugar when I finest it and I got mostly nothing from these doughnuts. They are definitely a healthier alternative and fun to make, but, Catherine, do you have any recommendations on how to make them sweeter for those of us who miss that element of bought doughnuts? Thanks!!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could add a little more sugar to the recipe without messing with the consistency. I would try upping it by just a 1/4 Cup to begin with and see how that comes out for you!

      leave a comment

  • Elizabeth

    Quick question, if you have one of those \"cake pop\" makers, could you make these as doughnut holes in that?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes, that should work fine, and would be so cute! Let me know how they come out!

      leave a comment

  • Elizabeth

    Also, (I forgot to ask) can you use stevia as a substitute for at least part of the sugar?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I've tried and tried to love Stevia, but I just can't! So I would not use that as a replacement in this recipe.

      leave a comment

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  • Laura

    Just made these and they are delicious!! I added an extra 1/4cup sugar :)

    leave a comment

  • Tegan

    Hey guys! just wanted to let you know that I made these today and they were fab! Made the batter into 24 mini donuts at 52 calories a pop, without any icing :)

    leave a comment

  • Brandi

    I made these in a mini donut maker and they were delicious!! Thank you.

    leave a comment

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  • Kristin

    I just made these today and they turned out perfectly. My kids and I loved them. I loved the combination of chocolate and cinnamon. They smelled divine.

    leave a comment

  • Rachel

    Wow! These are perfect! Love them!!! Thank you!

    leave a comment

  • Erinmw

    This recipie is AMAZING, I've just made a batch for the morning and had to sneak a bite and they were soo light and fluffy! Can not wait to serve them for breakfast tomorrow I know the family will go nuts for hem, thank you!!!

    leave a comment

  • Soshanna

    I just made it today and I like its flavor. Delicious !
    only this recipe make me want to buy a donut pan !
    with baking sheet, it turns flat, but still delicious :D
    I made 'donut hole' which turns out to be like 'egg drop' cake but still delicious !

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    thanks for the recipe. I modified it to be gluten, dairy, and egg free, and it was delicious. the batter was too runny to be piped into circles, so I used a mini woopie pie pan. They are very moist and chewy.

    leave a comment

  • vensel96

    I just made these chocolate doughnuts and they are wonderful. Instead of Buttermilk though, I used Kefir which is a runny yogurt that I use in my recipes. The recipe indicated you could make 6, I doubled the recipe and got 20! The doughnuts were smaller and fluffed up wonderfully! My kids helped make them and they LOVE these. I'm new to your website and I'm so happy I found it! Keep up the good work, you are awesome Catherine ;)

    leave a comment

  • Darlene

    Oh my goodness gracious!!! I. Am. In. LOVE. These were amazing. It's so rare that I have all the ingredients on hand when I come across a recipe that I've found on the internet. Thank you so much. My 3 kids have never been so silent at the breakfast table. My family and sweet tooth thank you.

    leave a comment

  • Vanessa Rodríguez

    Is there a substitute for buttermilk? We don't have that here :(

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can use any milk! You can also make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of your favorite milk!

      leave a comment

  • amy1taylor

    I just made these and they are delicious. The only \"issue\" I had is that the recipe says it makes 6. After I filled my donut pan I still had batter so I went back and filled each well until the batter was gone. My donuts turned out like cupcakes. I would recommend only filling each well half way which would probably yield around 10 donuts. More to love!

    leave a comment

  • Laura

    Amazing! Yum!

    leave a comment

  • CarrieH

    Got a donut pan a couple weeks ago! It's snowing here, so thought these would be fun to try!

    leave a comment

  • Angie

    Made this this morning and the kids loved them .... We all loved them! Light and fluffy! I haven't found a recipe of yours that our family has NOT liked! Thank you for the great recipes!

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    Catherine, Inwas wondering if you thought this recipe would be ok to make in advance the night before and store in fridge until ready to bake?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine McCord

      I think that would be fine!

      leave a comment

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