Spicy Baked Doughnuts for the “Health Conscious”

I bought a doughnut pan several months ago unsure of what I was going to do with it other than make apple cider doughnuts, but my new obsession with Pinterest has led me to an array of amazing recipes, including these. I love using the doughnut pan, I just feel like there aren’t that many fabulous doughnut recipes out there worth making, but I think I want to do more to change that. That cute little pan deserves more use, and doughnuts are incredibly tasty little treats when they’re baked.

These doughnuts were listed as “Cinnamon Chocolate Doughnuts”, and the recipe caught my eye because I was looking for something with a little kick to it. I’m in love with “spiced” chocolate, which usually means a hint of chili powder and a dash of cinnamon have been added to kick the chocolate up a notch, but these doughnuts only had 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. I didn’t think that would cut my craving for spicy so I increased the cinnamon and added chili powder. If you’ve never tried spiced chocolate, I encourage you to do so immediately, preferably in frozen form or in frosting form, and if you’ve never baked doughnuts, I certainly encourage, no, demand, you do that immediately. You’ll get to enjoy the same delicious treat you get at the local Dunkin’ Donuts for fewer calories, and you can enjoy the fluffy, cake texture right out of the oven.

Spiced Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 6 doughnuts

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of chilli powder
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance buttery spread, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  • Doughnut Pan

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a six-doughnut pan.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chilli powder, salt, and baking powder in a small mixing bowl, and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or by using sturdy mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer until the ingredients are light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and whip until the ingredients are just incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixture, and whip until the ingredients are blended.
  6. Spoon the batter into the doughnut cups in the pan. Fill the cups 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when pressed lightly.
  8. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack. If the dough has baked over the doughnut hole, it’s easy enough to poke through it to get an even edge.
  9. When the doughnuts are completely cooled, sift confectioner’s sugar over them, and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from weelicious.com.

Lighten it Up! These are easy enough to make vegan too! Replace the buttermilk by making your own animal-friendly buttermilk: Combine 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar in a mixing bowl, and whisk until the mixture is creamy. Replace the eggs by mixing 2 tsp baking powder, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 Tbsp safflower oil until the mixture is gelatinous. If this doesn’t work, let me know!

Apple Cider Doughnuts

One of my favorite treats in New England in the fall are fresh apple cider doughnuts. You can always find them at grocery stores, but I love to go to the local orchards to get them. They’re often fresher and more delicious, and I know I’m doing a good deed by visiting a local business to get them. They’re perfect too-rich, soft, a little spicy, and a lot delicious. However, they’re usually fried and covered in sugar, which is never really good for anyone! I wanted to figure out how to make these treats without the frying and added fat-partially because I know it’s the healthy alternative, and partially because I just feel so freakin guilty when I eat them! And I can’t ever eat just one!

Well, who knew it was so easy to make doughnuts at home? Honestly, it’s not much different than making cupcakes, and it may even be easier because there is no added fuss with paper liners for doughnuts. I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites, King Arthur Flour, and the best part? The doughnuts are BAKED instead of fried. Not that we’re talking broccoli and carrots here, but this makes the recipe tremendously healthier. KAF recommends a honey coating, which I will provide for you here, but I recommended a brown sugar topping similar to what you can buy at the orchards. It tastes better on the doughnuts, and it’s much less messy.

One warning before you begin-you will absolutely need a doughnut pan to do this. Wilton makes a terrific nonstick six-doughnut pan (they make minis too!) that you can buy for around $10. If you really love doughnuts, it will change your life. I promise. Who knew you could create those naughty little treats at home so easily?

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 8 doughnuts

For the Doughnuts

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Hi-maize natural fiber (recommended by KAF, though I used 1/4 cup whole wheat flour because I couldn’t find the fiber in stores)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Nonstick doughnut pan

For the Glaze

  • 3 Tbsp thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • Candy thermometer or digital thermometer


  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • Pinch of nutmeg

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and if you’re not using a nonstick doughnut pan, grease your pan lightly with butter.
  2. Beat together the softened butter, oil, sugar, and spices using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer at low-speed.
  3. Next, add the thawed frozen apple juice concentrate and egg. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients-flour, fiber, baking soda, and baking powder. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter, and whip between each addition.
  5. Gently pour the batter into the doughnut pan, filling the cups no more than 2/3 full. Smooth the batter.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a wooden cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  7. To make the glaze, pour all ingredients together in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover the pan. Continue to boil for approximately three minutes.
  9. Remove the cover, and boil until your thermometer reads 240 degrees F. This may take several more minutes, but you’ll need to watch it carefully to avoid going higher than this temperature.
  10. Remove the syrup from the heat, and cool slightly.
  11. You can dip the doughnuts in the warm syrup and let them dry on a piece of parchment paper or on a cooling rack. You can also cover the warm syrup with chopped nuts, or you can forego dipping the doughnuts and cover them with sugar instead.
  12. To cover the doughnuts in sugar instead of a glaze, mix the sugars and spices in a resealable plastic sandwich bag. While the doughnuts are still warm, place them individually inside the bag, and shake it gently to coat the doughnut. Let them cool on a wire cooling rack.

Doughnut and glaze recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

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