Glazed Cake Donuts

filed under: Breakfast on March 31, 2019

These Cake Donuts are covered in a sweet glaze and fried to perfection! You may never need to venture out for bakery donuts again after trying this fantastic homemade recipe! If you prefer a “lighter” donut 😂 feel free to check out this Glazed Donuts recipe!

Cake Donuts in a tray with parchment

Cake Donuts

We tested out several recipes when creating our perfect Cake Donut recipe and I have to say, this one is the best. There seemed to be detailed information missing from the standard recipes I came across. I am not going to do that to you! Every detail you need to know is here which means you will create the best cake donut the first time and every time!

Glazed Cake Donuts from Overhead on White Board

Doughnut Dough

The thickness that you roll out your dough to is very important. I recommend at least 3/4 inch thick up to 1-inch thick. I tested many different thicknesses and found that 1/2 inch thick produced a flat cake donut while 1 1/2 inches meant the outside was done but the inside was not completely cooked. If you have to bust out a ruler please do it, as eyeballing it can result in a less-than-perfect donut.

In the image below the donuts on the left are 1/2 inch thick and the donuts on the right are 3/4 inch thick. The 1/2 inch thick donuts didn’t puff up as much as the 3/4 inch thick donuts. We found 1-inch thick produced the perfect size and thickness.

How to Make Cake Donuts the raw dough before baking

How to Fry Donuts

Dropping beautiful dough into a too-hot oil or a too-cold oil can do bad stuff to the beautiful dough that you have spent hours with. I found that the best way to ensure your oil stayed at a consistent 350°F was to have a thermometer right in the oil at all times. If you happen to have a pan large enough for frying 3-4 donuts at once, the addition of the dough can decrease the temperature significantly. If you see the temperature lower, you can immediately add heat and get it back up to temp. I used a large dutch oven with enough oil to reach 2 to 3-inches deep. I don’t recommend adding more than that. And make sure your pan is bigger than you would think you would need.

Be prepared!

I found that when making glazed donuts it helped to have two people. One for frying and one for the glaze. (If you are not adding the glaze, one person can easily make this recipe.) To best prepare for this make sure you have these tools out and ready:

  • thermometer safe for hot liquids
  • a hand-held strainer or forks to easily rotate the donuts in the hot oil
  • plate lined with paper towel to set hot donuts on
  • several cookie sheets fitted with cooling racks for setting glazed donuts
  • a bowl for the glaze that is large enough to drop an entire donut in
  • fork/spoon/tongs for easy transferring of donuts
  • a table lined with parchment paper to set donuts on to dry

The Best Cake Donuts - showing the inside and glaze


How to Glaze Donuts

I prefer to glaze the donuts when they are still warm, yet cool enough to handle. To making the glazing easier, I used a bowl that was bigger than needed just to make sure I could easily drop and remove the hot donuts. Then, when I was ready to glaze, I set my bowl right next to a pan with a cooling rack in it. Drop an entire donut into the glaze and then flip it over. Using a fork or the handle of a wooden spoon, life the donut out by the center hole and let the excess glaze drip off. Place the donut on the cooling rack and allow to harden.

Double Glaze

Who doesn’t love a donut with double the glaze? But, as much as I love doing that, I don’t recommend it with a recipe this big. You will double your process time and will also need to double your glaze recipe. If you happen to cut this donut recipe in half, that would be a great time to try out double glazing! After the first coat of glaze has hardened for a bit, just re-dip the donut and then allow to set.

Cake Donut Recipe

Donut Glaze Recipe

Making the glaze is easy as it’s just a few ingredients. The recipe below makes a lot of glaze! You can halve it if you prefer a lighter coating of glaze on your donuts. (You can also omit the glaze entirely if you are a purist and just love a great cake donut!)

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Vanilla
  • Salt
  • Milk

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see corn syrup added to a recipe I tend to want to leave it out. But for these donuts, it really does add something of value. I can say that because I made two versions of glaze, one with corn syrup and one without. We found that the donuts with corn syrup glaze were coated better, stayed soft and moist longer, and even tasted better. If you are adamant that you want to leave it out, I recommend using milk, confectioners sugar, salt, and a tiny bit of vanilla. The vanilla can be overpowering if you use too much and take away from the light-as-air taste of this donut recipe. If you use good quality vanilla like McCormick, you will not run into any issues.

Glazed Cake Donuts Recipe Showing all the variations

Chocolate Glazed Donut

I tried out several different version of chocolate donut glaze and was disappointed by them all. It was a LONG day in the kitchen! Finally, after an hour of frustration with gloppy, lumpy, greasy, and gross tasting glazes, I added some cocoa powder to the glaze recipe below. It worked AMAZING! (There are a couple of Glazed Donuts in that picture above!)

Chocolate Glazed Cake Donut on White Plate

When dipping the donut into the chocolate glaze I opted for only dipping the top. The donuts that were 100% coated in chocolate glaze seemed to only taste like chocolate and not any of that glorious donut inside. Feel free to test this out and see which you prefer!

We also added some chocolate glaze drizzle over top of some donuts and this ended up being one of our favorite ways to enjoy them.

4.77 from 13 votes
cake donuts
Glazed Cake Donuts
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Proofing Time
1 hr
Total Time
24 mins

A favorite childhood donut made perfect at home!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake donuts
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 191 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Cake Donut
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, about 2 or 3-inches deep in your pan
  • 4 cups 500g confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
Cake Donut
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. Add in milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir by hand until ingredients are fully incorporated. It will be sticky. Cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  3. Roll out the dough to 3/4 inches to 1-inch thick. It is important to make sure the dough is at least 3/4 thick or your donuts will be too flat.
  4. Once rolled out, use a donut cutter to cut out shapes. If you do not have a donut cutter, use a round tool like a kitchen glass or a jar lid that is about 3-inches across. You can use a bottle cap or small shot glass for the smaller hole.
  5. Set cut-out donuts on a baking sheet.
Prepare Glaze
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium to large bowl. Whisk until they are smooth and you have reached the desired consistency. (I think the perfect consistency is the same as the corn syrup, not too runny but loose enough for it to fall beautifully over all the nooks and crannies of the donut.)
Begin Frying
  1. Starting with the first pan of donuts you cutout (meaning that those donuts have been allowed to rise a bit more while you cut out the rest) drop one donut at a time into vegetable oil that has been heated to 350°F.
  2. Allow each donut to brown for 45seconds to 1 minute on one side, and then flip over so that the other side may brown.
  3. Carefully remove donut from oil (I prefer and hand-held strainer) and set on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. While donuts are warm, submerge into the glaze one side of the donuts into the glaze. Lift and let drain into the bowl, then move the donut to a baking sheet with a cooling rack in it. (You can also place on parchment or wax paper but the glaze might pool.)

  5. Donuts can be enjoyed immediately or you can double dip them depending on how much glaze you like.
  6. Store donuts in between parchment paper in an airtight container for up to two days.

Recipe Video

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  • Kim says:

    Question…can I make this a chocolate donut just by adding cocoa powder? How much would be needed? And do these freeze well? (as I know I should not consume 24 donuts in 2 days) 😋

    Thank you for the recipe! I am very excited to try it! Also thank you for including how to make the glaze chocolate. I really hope there is an IAmBaker cookbook in the works 😉

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I haven’t tried adding cocoa, but I think you could! And you are too sweet! <3

  • Renee says:

    Hi! I love your recipes and was wondering if you could either bake these or try them in an air fryer? I’ve been trying to find a recipe for a donut in an air fryer that isn’t made from pre bought biscuit dough. Any help is appreciated and keep rocking on with your great recipes!

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Renee! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tried making these donuts in an air fryer or by baking them, but it’s worth a shot! Let us know how they turn out and have a great day!

  • Gary Alderete says:

    You Nailed IT! I’m so happy YOU went there, making these Cake Donuts! Thank you for taking the time to perfect this Cake Donut recipe for us. I experimented myself with several Donut recipes, so BIG Thanks for developing this one. Donut Fans stopping looking and save this recipe! 🍩

  • Elle says:

    Can I use cake flour?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Elle! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour, you will need to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every one cup all-purpose flour. I hope this helps. Have a great day!

  • Deanna says:

    Can this recipe be cooked in an air fryer? Any idea what temp and how long if so

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Deanna! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tried making the donuts in an air fryer so I can’t say how they would turn out. Have a great day!

  • Anna Maria says:

    I hope so to do it tomorrow , I dream to eat but now in quarentine imposible to find thanks you

  • Rosie says:

    Hi has anyone tried this doughnut recipe by not rolling out but not chilling it and putting it in donut pans and baking?

  • Pam says:

    Hands down * THE BEST * recipe for this type doughnut on the internet! (And I have tried several!)

    Thank you, especially, for the additional notes on dough thickness and oil temperature.

    Filed now as a go-to recipe for family AND for gifting to friends! ~ YUMMY!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you so much, Pam!! Thrilled you enjoyed them! <3

  • Alicia Burton says:

    Have you ever tried these with a GF flour or blend? My daugter has Celiac Disease and I have been on the look for a donut recipe. I may try this and see what happens.Thanks for sharing!

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Alicia! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tried this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I can’t say how they would turn out. But you could definitely substitute it at a 1:1 ratio. Let us know if you try it and have a great day!

  • Elisa Campara says:

    How long do you chill it for?

    If I can’t get corn syrup what else can I use?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Elisa! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Refrigerate the dough for one hour. As for the corn syrup, I do recommend using it for a better coat of glaze and a better taste. However, if you are adamant that you want to leave it out, I recommend using milk, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and a tiny bit of vanilla. Have a great day!

  • Ma Livia Javier says:

    Thank you very
    Much Ms Amanda

  • Luciana says:

    I really like the recipe. Really good!

  • Alice says:

    If I wanted to make a variety of donuts, could I do some with powder sugar or cinnamon/sugar using this same recipe? I am ready to try making donuts and wondering if this is just a basic recipe that can be used with a variety of toppings. I see some great comments!!!

  • Schaketa Stubbs says:

    Hello, love the recipe. Can these be done with self-rising flour as well?


    Is there a way to incorporate blueberries?

  • Lindsay says:

    I would love to make these blueberry. Can I do that with this recipe? If so how would I go about that? Wild blueberries thawed or fresh? Thanks!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I haven’t tested that, so can’t say for certain. However, I would probably use fresh or dried blueberries, not frozen.

  • Crystal says:

    I can’t wait to try these! I was wondering if there is a version that someone that is on a low sodium diet and someone that is on a low carb diet could have!

  • Karen Humby says:

    I made these today and family loved them, but I only got 10 donuts…..if you make dough 1” thick, how the heck do you get 24 of them? Do you make hem he size of quarters?

  • Sue mccarthy says:

    Amanda you have some of the best recipes. Some I try can’t make all the good ones. Because they are all good.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • Linda says:

    They look great I am going to make them this weekend

  • Carlea Omearlaigh says:

    Can you please tell me how you got 24 donuts out of this? I literally got eight.

  • Mary H Whelan says:

    I don’t have a comment. I have a question. Can you make these in an air fryer? I really like that you don’t have to use yeast.

  • jimmy parks says:

    very good!!

  • Kay says:

    Made half the recipe today and got 6 donuts plus the holes, which I used to test the oil temp. Turned out pretty good, considering I never fry stuff, very tasty and the glaze made it next-level! I like that they weren’t yeast-based, but still pretty fluffy inside. Even with a thermometer it was difficult keeping the temp at 350, but worked ok.