Baking donuts to make our special treat better for you! While I love a good fried donut (of fry cake as I grew up calling them), I don’t love the grease. Baking donuts is definitely the way to go to have your treat and eat it with far less guilt!

Sunday mornings are usually pancake or waffle mornings. Last weekend we had company and I made waffles for breakfast – but not without checking to see what I had left for maple syrup! That was a mistake….because Grumpy does not like his waffles without maple syrup. Fortunately our friends were good sports and were willing to eat jam on their waffles! When Grumpy and I went to the store I did the thing I don’t like to do. I bought Aunt Jemima. I’m sorry to the Aunt Jemima lovers out there, but I was raised on pure maple syrup and to me, Aunt Jemima is just too thick and fake tasting. Maybe it has changed over the years, but this weekend I didn’t want to find out. I know that I can’t wait for my 2 gallons of pure maple syrup to be ready for my pick up this year though! I decided if we were going to go thru 1 gallon before my year was up, I better get myself 2 gallons this time!

That all said, I had been eying the baked donuts on the cover of Family Circle for the last few weeks. I made the Vegan Yum Yum baked donuts about 6 weeks ago and while they were good, I have to say that I believe these were better. I know I am definitely making them again.

I stuck with the vanilla flavored donuts for my first try.  These donuts use brown sugar in the ingredients, so the interior is dark for a donut (for me).  I used light brown sugar (which ended up being all I had) instead and it was still dark.  No problem though – they still tasted delicious!  I will probably add some cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter the next time I make these.  I also only had Silk vanilla milk in the fridge.  I had some regular milk but this is what Grumpy uses so I didn’t dare use that instead as there wasn’t much left!  I just added some lemon juice to the Silk and let it sit for a few to let it curdle some and used that in place of the buttermilk.

This is a perfect treat to make when you want to have portion control – meaning you don’t want to eat a dozen donuts over the course of the day 😉 and they are pretty darn good replacement for a fried cake like my momma makes!  Although, if my momma were to bring me a dozen of her fried cakes, you can bet I wouldn’t be turning them down!  While Grumpy and I are trying to control our eating of sweets, I am allowing myself to bake one thing a week for now and I am also doing my best to make the baked treat healthier for you (welcome Cooking Light!) and make only half the recipe unless I have people around to share with.  We are also trying to sit at the dinner table to eat our meal instead of in the living room in front of the TV.  What terrible habits we slip into when the kids are gone!

See those pretty little pearls on the donut above?  I’ve been dying for a chance to use them and these donuts gave me that chance!
A few years ago when I was visiting my brother in Indianapolis I bought the non-stick donut pans for baking.  I used them once when I was at his house and then never again until 6 weeks ago when I made the Vegan Yum Yum donuts and then again yesterday when I made these donuts pictured here.  This pan is probably going to be used more often now that I realize that the baked donuts can be pretty darn good.  I’m not saying these are perfect for me, I think I need to tweak some to make them the way I myself want them, but this recipe is nothing to scoff at.  The donuts rise so nice and its so cool to watch them dome on the top and look like a donut!  (lol, yeah, I know, I can be so childlike at times!).
Vanilla Cake Donuts
Author: adapted from Family Circle Magazine
  • 1-3/4 cups flour (I use the scoop & sweep method)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I buy aluminum free at the co-op)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Vanilla Silk milk to make 1/2 cup after placing the lemon juice in measuring cup (you can use buttermilk instead)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.  In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Place batter in a wilton piping bag (or you can use a sandwich baggie with the tip cut to make a wide pass thru).  Pipe batter into donut indents (about 2/3 full) and smooth tops.  Bake at 325 for 13 minutes or until donuts spring back when lightly pressed.  (Mine baked for exactly 13 minutes and it was perfect!).
  5. Cool in pan on rack for 3 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool.  I had to give some of my donuts a little “help” getting out, but none of them stuck to tear.
  6. There is also a recipe for chocolate donuts….basically the same except instead use just 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
  7. For the frosting:
  8. The frosting recipe in the Family Circle magazine didn’t quite work for me.  It said to use 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk.  This left large and lumpy powdered sugar for me.  I had to use a bit more milk so I suggest you just gauge with your eye what to use for milk.  If you add some cocoa powder for frosting you will need a little more milk.

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Marthe March 8, 2010 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Well, even if these still need some tweaking: they sure look tasty 🙂

  2. Bethie March 8, 2010 at 11:34 am - Reply

    A doughnut pan is on my wish list! Your doughnuts are lovely and I just know they tasted sooooo good.

  3. pegasuslegend March 8, 2010 at 11:37 am - Reply

    What an awesome recipe. Have never seen donut pans only for small bundts. Will have to look thats a great tip. I love baked donuts, mine were not quite as healthy no hole and filled with bavarian cream. Geesh a killer for sure. I love this recipe and am going to try it. Have company staying me from NY and you are oh so right no corn syrupy mess on our waffles growing up either, always had the vermont or canadian leaf pure maple syrup….do you remember the maple leaf sugar patty candy? OMG coopertown had them use to love them lol…..I love the pearls on that donut looks so elegant cant wait to serve to my upstate ny guests!~

  4. Cristine March 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Your donuts look perfect! I haven't tried my hand at donuts yet, but they are on my CIA homeschool list. Of course, those are fried, so I'll have to give these baked ones a try!

  5. April March 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I will definitly be making these!

  6. Andrew's Mom March 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    They look good – Andrew is a donut fiend!

  7. Bellini Valli March 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Baked doughnuts!!!!!!!!!!!!I HAVE to NEED to give these a try Shelby.

  8. honeyb March 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Every Monday night the boys get to take turns picking a treat to make and my son just told me this morning that he wants donuts, but I hate frying stuff in oil. These look great!

  9. Holly March 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    YUM!!! that all I can say:)

  10. Carrian March 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    mmmmmm I think they look wonderful. Donuts sound so good today!

  11. Fallon March 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    So cute! I actually saw the donut pans at Sur La Table yesterday! They make mini ones and then the sizes you made. Be cute to make "cakes" out of the pans and pretend like they are a donut too 😉

  12. Bob March 8, 2010 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I don't think I've ever seen baked donuts before. They look great!

  13. Frieda March 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I sure wish I had a donut pan….then I would go crazy for these!

  14. Kathleen March 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Oh what a wonderful breakfast! These sound so yummy, Shelby!

  15. Elle March 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    LOVE! And they're so pretty! Also, for that special "donut" flavor, I always add a touch of mutmeg. Ha-typo! Not "mutmeg," but nutmeg! 🙂

  16. Joanne March 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    I LOVE the idea of baked donuts. A perfect replacement for maple syrup.

    I have to say I grew up on Aunt Jemima but now that I've started using real maple syrup…I will never go back.

  17. Maria March 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    I love that these are baked!

  18. Cinnamon-Girl March 9, 2010 at 12:48 am - Reply

    These are adorable with your little decorations. And a big plus that they are baked! I am the same way with maple syrup, can't blame you one bit.

  19. Joie de vivre March 9, 2010 at 4:19 am - Reply

    1. The doughnuts are so pretty and I bet they were incredible.
    2. You are able to get FRESH maple syrup? I buy real maple syrup, but I am far removed from where it is actually made. How fun to be able to be connected to it like that.

  20. Jessie March 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    pretty and yummy donuts! I'm loving that these are baked and not fried like the traditional donuts. Donuts are something I've been wanting to make for a while now, they seem like a lot of fun too

  21. Trendsetters March 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    very nice..bookmarking the recipe

  22. CookiePie March 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    ooooh – those look scrumptious!!!!

  23. Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog March 9, 2010 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Definitively a donut that I need to bake soon….as you said healthy and delicious too 🙂



  24. Lori March 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    I am not a big donut fan but these- they look very enticing.

  25. Katy ~ March 11, 2010 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Isn't it Susie who has a recipe for maple syrup replacement that she LOVES?

    I've wanted to try baked donuts for some time but I keep hearing people say they don't care for 'em as much as the deep fried. I tried deep fried a little while back and what a terrible disaster. Will definitely try baked!!!

  26. cookies and cups March 20, 2010 at 11:53 am - Reply

    These look soo awesome! Perfect!
    I'm definitely gonna have to do these now!!

  27. Peggy June 9, 2010 at 11:47 am - Reply

    these look absolutely beautiful!

  28. ggnana May 17, 2012 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Ok, I see it has been some time since you had any ? re: these donuts. But, just made a batch today and I'm needing some help….The batter was very thick, is that ok? How many donuts did you get out of 1 batch? I know I overfilled and they turned out looking very funny. Also, did not frost and wonder how you powder sugar them?
    Any tips will be appreciated. Bobbi

    • Shelby May 20, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

      ggnana, it has been a while since I've made these and I don't remember just how thick the batter was – however I do remember that was the first time I used a piping bag to make the baked donuts and I have used one ever since when baking them. I will have to make this particular recipe again just to see how thick my batter came out. I'm not sure how many donuts I got either..If you don't want to frost and just want to sugar coat, its best to do so as soon as the donuts come out of the oven so the sugars will stick (the heat helps adhere the sugar). After I have made these again I will update here and put in how thick batter was and how many I got!

  29. Life Tastes Good April 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I sure wish I had some of these!! I am definitely making these soon! Thanks for this great looking recipe! I'm drooling here!! haha

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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