Brown Sugar Cake Doughnuts

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It’s usually on the third Sunday of each month that I have to dig a little deeper to get inspired for our big, end-of-the-weekend, family breakfast. Okay, I’ll just say it: I get tired of pancakes. I have no doubt that my kids could eat pancakes or waffles every single day as a main course, but I like to change things up sometimes. So, last Sunday we collectively decided to make doughnuts for breakfast! 

Around here we bake our doughnuts and this recipe for brown sugar cake doughnuts is my favorite. This was a basic vanilla cake doughnut recipe I got from an issue of Family Circle magazine years ago. It’s a good one, but I’ve made a couple of very minor adaptations to it to suit my taste and style. 

I personally enjoy these cake doughnuts dredged in a bit a cinnamon and sugar. However, it’s not a doughnut without icing according to my kids, so I also made made two basic, easy glazes to go with these breakfast treats. Making a huge mess while icing these doughnuts is probably my kid’s favorite part of the whole process and it’s a necessary part of the deal! 

So, get out your sprinkle collection, roll up your sleeves and have some fun for breakfast this weekend, y’all. I just know you will enjoy these tasty baked doughnuts as much as we do!

Ready for the oven!

Whoa! Did someone ring the chow bell? Smells like children and anticipation in here!
“Mama! I want that one…okay?!” She gets that “picky” trait from daddy. Not moi.

My lone doughnut. Basted with a bit of melted butter and dredged in cinnamon and sugar. It’s the best!

Brown Sugar Cake Doughnuts
**this recipe will make about 6 or 7 doughnuts depending on how large you pipe them into the pan.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 325ยฐ.  Lightly coat a 6-indentation doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, combine the buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract. Make sure all the wet ingredients are well-mixed. Using a wooden spoon, add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until smooth. Be careful not to over mix your batter!

3. Transfer your batter into a piping bag or a large zipper storage bag.  You can use a pint glass to hold your bag to make the transfer easy (see pics above).  Snip the tip or corner off of the plastic bag and squeeze the doughnut batter into the prepared pan as evenly as possible. The indentations should be about 2/3 full.  

4.  Bake for 13 minutes or until the doughnuts spring back when pressed.  Cool on a rack in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn the doughnuts out on the rack to continue cooling.  Decorate them however you like! 

Easy White Sugar Glaze*  

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk

1.  In a small bowl using a whisk, combine the ingredients until a thick glaze forms.  

2. Place paper towels underneath a cooling rack. This give a glaze a place to “run off”. 

3.  Dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze to coat or use a spoon to “splatter” the doughnuts with glaze like we did. Place the iced doughnuts on the rack to set for a few minutes.  Enjoy!

* these glaze recipes assume you are going to use them both, like we did. If you prefer to use only one or the other, double the recipe so you will have enough!                    

Easy Cocoa Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon milk
1. In a small bowl using a whisk, combine the sugar and the cocoa powder until well-mixed. Add in the milk and whisk until a thick glaze forms.

2. Place paper towels underneath a cooling rack. This give a glaze a place to “run off”. 

3.  Dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze to coat or use a spoon to “splatter” the doughnuts with glaze like we did. Placed the iced doughnuts on the rack to set for a few minutes. Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Sugar Coated Doughnuts*

  • 2 tablespoon each, ground cinnamon and sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and mix them well.

2.  Using a pastry or small basting brush, lightly coat the cooled doughnut with melted butter. 

3. Dip or sprinkle the doughnut with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Enjoy!

*Not necessary to double this recipe. It should work for the whole half-dozen!


  1. Donuts are a great brekky idea, especially when baked not fried.

  2. Oh my goodness, Marcelle, those little darlings of yours are just so adorable. Oh to be a fly on the wall while the donut fun was happening. Such fun! Of course the donuts looks pretty awesome too:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Marcelle…

  3. Your children must have certainly enjoyed the donut happening. You may have created a new Sunday traditionโ€ฆthey might want something that good all the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. We always bake doughnuts too — easier and less messy than frying, and healthier. Great looking doughnuts. And really cute pictures of your kids!

  5. Hi Beth! There were no complaints that morning :0)

  6. Hi Andrea, thank you! My kids love helping out in the kitchen, especially when icing or maple syrup is involved ๐Ÿ™‚ I love my donut pan, it was a definitely a good purchase.

  7. Hi there Greg! This definitely was one happy morning!

  8. Hi David! We sure enjoyed this sweet breakfast! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hi Marcelle, looks like your children were thrilled, I would be too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. what a fun project–the kinds that you get to eat in the end are the best. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Wow – that's one spectacular breakfast! No wonder your kids loved it.

  12. Dera Marcelle, first off, you got some really adorable helpers here!!! And the recipe sounds wonderful – I have to try this one with the kids and let you know how it turns out! And what a lovely treat for breakfast – I have a small doughnut baking tray but I have to look for one like yours for regular sized doughnuts instead of the mini version!
    Have a great Sunday – I am sure that the breakfast shall be delicious!

  13. Donuts and kids make for happy mornings! GREG

  14. What a wonderful way to start your really need to try baked doughnuts! Love the brown sugar and cinnamon!

  15. Angie, baked doughnuts are our favorites too! Thanks!

  16. These doughnuts look scrumptious. Extra glaze for me please ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. So yum! I like baked donuts more than the classic fried one.

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