Buttermilk Spice Baked Cake Doughnuts

Doughnuts are a quintessential American treat. Few things are as comforting and satisfying as a warm doughnut and a hot cup of coffee. Sweetened fried dough is made the world over and its origins are lost to antiquity, but the round sweet treat as we know it with the hole in the middle is as American as, well, you know. Legend has it that Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, used her son’s cargo of cinnamon and nutmeg to season the fried dough treats she made for the crew. The hole was her son’s idea, so that he could hang his snacks on the spokes of the ship’s wheel while he steered. Frying at home can be tricky- what to do with all the oil? What if you don’t have a hood to suck up the greasy smoke? Enter the baked doughnut. These do require a specialized piece of equipment - the doughnut pan - but once you’re all set up with that they are surprisingly easy to make. So easy in fact that you might find yourself adding them into your regular weekend routine. If you don’t have or want to invest in a doughnut pan, this batter also makes great doughnut muffins. You don’t even need liners, just butter the muffin cups.


Prep Time

20 minutes

Bake Time

25 minutes

Total Time

45 minutes


Makes about 12 doughnuts


  • 1 ½ cups (210 g) All-Purpose Sequoia or Edison flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup butter (183 g), room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing the pans and the doughnuts
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (73 g) light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (182 g) buttermilk, room temperature

For the coating:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Baker's Notes:

These keep well in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Use a pastry brush dipped in the melted butter to lightly butter two doughnut pans. Reserve the rest of the melted butter for brushing the doughnuts after baking. If you don’t have donut pans, use muffin pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder three times. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix together well.
  5. Add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine.
  7. Add ½ of the buttermilk and mix gently to combine.
  8. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine.
  9. Add remainder of the buttermilk and fold in gently by hand with a spatula.
  10. Add remainder of the dry ingredients and fold in gently by hand with a spatula.
  11. Place the batter in a piping bag. Pipe the batter into the doughnut molds, filling them about halfway (if you overfill them, they tend to rise over the middle part of the mold and make mini bundts instead of doughnuts.) Alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the molds. (I usually have enough leftover for a few muffins too, since my doughnut pan is on the small side.)
  12. Bake at 325°F for 20 mins. Check that the doughnuts are golden on top, rotate the pans as needed for even baking. Bake until golden and set.
  13. Let cool for five minutes in the pan. Unmold, then let cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. While they are cooling, prepare the coating. To do so, combine sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  14. To coat, use a pastry brush to lightly brush each doughnut with melted butter, then immediately dip in cinnamon sugar and roll to coat. Repeat with all the doughnuts and/or muffins.

Baker's Notes:

These keep well in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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