Chocolate Cake Doughnuts


Is it Doughnut, or Donut?

My initial thought?  Who cares… can we all stop information-cramming and just appreciate a yummy moment in life?  2.7 seconds later and my “I must know” brain kicks in… I immediately drive 15 miles to the nearest public library, make my way to the card catalog and begin my search with color coded index cards and a pencil in hand.  Just kidding… the public library was NEVER open when I needed to get that last minute research done… 13 hours before my final paper, based on some obscure topic, which: a) had to be a whopping 3 pages long – double spaced; and b) I had, had the past 4 weeks to work on, was due.  Who is with me…remember those days?  Seems like just yesterday.  Not really.

Anyway, for those that are craving the conclusion, the answer is revealed at the end.  In between, let’s commence Doughnut/Donut chat (did you think I would slip this early?).  Although I am truly struggling (again, not really) with the idea of whether or not to try frying these delights, because I know they probably taste better and I’ll gain 437 pounds  I went ahead and started with the baked variety; baked cake variety, to be more specific.

Bakers and photography tend to go hand-in hand.  That being said, I picked the best photograph I could find after doing a quick google search researched recipes for days and nights, narrowed it down from 1,290 options to 1, copied the recipe and gave it a go.  Pause: I also read the comments.  That I truly did do.  Note:  Always read the comments before choosing a recipe.  There are usually a lot of good tips, alterations, variations, etc. within those comments…learn from others’ mistakes, no?

MISSION:  To bake these little guys the night before and to set up a “dress your doughnut/donut bar” for the kiddies the next morning. 



Middle bean tip-toed downstairs when her siblings fell asleep to help mom perform “quality control.”



 mission accomplished.

Pros: preparation/baking was a breeze… they take no time to mix up and even less time to bake off.

Cons:  they don’t sell buttermilk in small quantity, so in order to use some up tonight… I’ll HAVE to make more… sigh.  Is the drama covering up the fact that I can’t wait?

Another Con:  my oldest was VERY peeved that “I spent ALL morning making them a doughnut/donut buffet and now they have NO time to play before school??!!  UGH, THE.NERVE.OF.YOU.MOM!”  Worry not my friends… another doughnut/donut down the trap immediately erased those agitated words right from my soul.  Then I had another, for additional buffering.  You can never be too careful.

One more Con:  the total sugar high that was set-off right as we all needed to get dressed and get out of the house…easy as herding cats…in an open field…in the pouring rain.

Although they were labeled as chocolate doughnuts/donuts, I found that the chocolate was matched up evenly with the amount of the nutmeg flavor.  These are not “death by chocolate” treats.  Think: subtle chocolate, ooh and nutmeg too?! type flavor. They baked quickly, held up nicely to the careful and thought-out dressing techniques of kiddies under 5 and were devoured immediately.

Last bit of business to take care of:  DOUGHNUT v. DONUT:  Brace yourself… it’s not really all that interesting but you should know.  The dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried (ignore this… we didn’t fry and I am still calling them doughnuts) in fat is doughnut. The shortened donut has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century, when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous. Today, writers outside the U.S. still favor doughnut by a wide margin. Donut appears about a third of the time in published American writing.  Donut is a simpler spelling, so it may grow even more common now that it has a foothold. Those of us who don’t wish to assist Dunkin’ Donuts’s branding would be wise to resist the trend, though. (



  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg


  1. Lightly grease a doughnut (or muffin) tin and preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, and then whisk in the sugar, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Add the butter, and using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until is fully integrated into the dry mix.  think beach sand.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, vanilla and egg.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix, or your doughnuts may be a bit rubbery.
  6. Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full. You can do this with a spoon, but I prefer using a piping bag to fill each cup more evenly and cleanly. It’s important not to overfill, or as the doughnuts rise, you’ll lose the hole.
  7. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of your doughnut pan), until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before glazing. If coating in powdered sugar, let them cool even a bit more.
  8. Dress:  They tasted much better with the glaze…  Mix about 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar with a tsp. of milk until you get the consistency of cake batter… then, teeny bit – by teeny bit (as in 1/4 tsp. at a time), add milk and mix until you get a drizzly type of glaze.  Then glaze.

Makes about 15 mini doughnuts.


* I used a mini doughnut pan which was perfect.  They baked in approximately 8 minutes and the size was ideal for little kiddie hands.

* I filled mine approximately ¾ of the way up and lost the hole in all but one.  My neurotic baking self kicked in and I was “forced” to cut a neat hole in each… not required.  I’m sure they taste just the same.




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