Chocolate Cake Mix Donuts

These donuts are light and cakey, doused with a sweet powdered sugar glaze, and topped with chopped Oreos and chocolate sprinkles.

Chocolate Cake Mix Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

Donut… doughnut…  How do you spell it?  I’m partial to “donut” without any real justification for that preference.  The spell check on this computer is flagging “donut” but not “doughnut” as not being a word but… I’m gonna stick to my guns.

Chocolate Cake Mix Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

I’ve been getting my donut on lately (see chocolate peppermint cake donuts and pumpkin streusel donuts), and have plans to make more over the weekend.  So stay tuned next week!

These particular donuts are especially easy to make,  since they start out as a boxed cake mix!  I tend to be a little snobby about making everything from scratch, so I had shied away from recipes that use boxed mixes.  But, really, there’s no need for pretentiousness when a shortcut like this can get donuts into your face hole more quickly.  Come with me; Let us all embrace the boxed cake mix donut!

Chocolate Cake Mix Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from Kleinworth & Co.

You’ll need:

For the donuts –

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

For the glaze –

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the toppings –

  • chopped Oreo cookies
  • chocolate sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a donut pan or two with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, vegetable oil, and water. Using a piping bag, or spoon, fill the donut pan(s) up about 1/2-3/4 of the way.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the donuts are done all the way through.  Allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Once the donuts are cool, prepare the glaze.  In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar a bit of the milk, and the vanilla extract.  Find that it’s too thin?  Add some more powdered sugar.  Too thick?  More milk.  Keep going until you hit on a consistency that you’re happy with.

Spoon the glaze liberally over the tops of the donuts.  Add as many chopped Oreos and sprinkles as your heart desires.  Ideally, wait until the glaze has set before digging in, but, we’re all adults here.  You do you.

Chocolate Cake Mix Donuts | A Nerd Cooks


Chocolate Peppermint Cake Donuts

Chocolate and peppermint is a quintessential holiday flavor combination. These donuts are dense, cakey, and the perfect balance of chocolate and mint.Chocolate Peppermint Cake Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

Chocolate and peppermint is one of my favorite flavor combinations, holiday or otherwise.  I will happily go to town on some York Peppermint Patties or Junior Mints any day of the week.  Peppermint mocha?  Done. These donuts are a fun, minty way to celebrate the season.

The donut recipe comes from A Sweet Pea Chef.  The frosting recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker’s 2nd cookbook.

You’ll need:

For the donuts (makes ~16 donuts) –

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbs plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting (makes more than needed) –

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • candy canes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a donut pan or two and set them aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Mix until just combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.

Use a large zip top bag, or pastry bag, to pipe the batter into the prepared donut pan.  Spoon the dough into the bag and snip off a corner.  Pipe the donut pan molds ~3/4 of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into a donut, comes out clean.

Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

While the donuts cool, make the frosting by beating the softened butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 1 tbs of milk and the peppermint extract.  Add more sugar, beating on low,  until you have achieved the desired consistency.  If you need to thin things out, add a little more milk.  Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, beat on medium for a few minutes to fluff up the frosting.

Frost the donuts and top them with crushed candy canes.  Dig in!

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

Pumpkin Streusel Donuts

These donuts are sweet, pumpkiny, and full of Fall spiced flavor. The streusel topping and sweet glaze put them over the top.Pumpkin Streusel Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

I bought a donut pan a while back, but rarely use it.  That’s a real shame, because donuts.

I decided to change that this weekend.Pumpkin Streusel Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

These donuts taste delicious, look great, and are super easy to make since they’re essentially just a gussied up boxed cake mix.Pumpkin Streusel Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the blog Jennifer Meyering.

You’ll need:

For the donuts – 

  • 1 box (16.5 oz.) spice cake mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbs butter, melted

For the streusel topping –

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbs butter, melted

For the glaze – 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, and melted butter until well combined.

Scoop the batter into a piping bag or large zip top bag.  Snip off the tip/one corner of the bag and pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling about halfway.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel topping.  Stir until everything is combined and a bit crumbly.

Top the donuts with ~1 tbs of the streusel mixture.

Bake 8-10 minutes. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Stir the powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth and the desired consistency has been reached.  Drizzle the glaze over the cooled donuts.
Pumpkin Streusel Donuts | A Nerd Cooks
Pumpkin Streusel Donuts | A Nerd Cooks

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

So… yeah.  I know I defiantly stated that I’d be making pumpkin doughnuts this weekend, Sean’s opinion be damned!  Just forget all about that.  I instead opted for some chocolate doughnuts that we would both enjoy equally.  There’s plenty of time for pumpkin doughnuts, anyway =).

This recipe was found at Handle the Heat, and originally came from Lara Ferroni.  

I doubled the recipe listed at Handle the Heat, so keep that mind.  The doubled recipe is as follows, and yielded approximately 18 doughnuts.

You’ll need:

2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbs natural cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
4 tbs butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
glaze or frosting (optional; see below)
sprinkles (optional)

Frosting (if you can call it that)
2-3 oz. chocolate chips/peanut butter chips/some combination of the two
1 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease your doughnut pan (or a muffin pan would do here in a pinch if you don’t have a doughnut pan).

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.  Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt.  

Add the butter.  Using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.  In an effort to avoid having to handle butter with my bare hands (something about it makes my skin crawl a bit), I tried using my food processor to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture, and it actually didn’t work out so well.  I ended up needing to just get my hands dirty anyway, so just dig on in.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream/yogurt, vanilla, and eggs.  Add it to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Resist the urge to overmix, lest your doughnuts end up being rubbery!

Now it’s time to fill your doughnut pan.  You have a couple of options at this point.  1) Fill a ziploc bag with the batter, cut one corner off of the bag, and pipe the batter into each cup; 2) Use a spoon to fill the doughnut cups with batter.  Either way, make sure to only fill them 1/2-3/4 of the way full.  Any more than that and the doughnuts will puff up so much that you don’t have a hole in the middle anymore.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough springs back when you press on it lightly.  Let them cool slightly on a rack before frosting.

While they’re cooling down, put your chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a small microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has all melted and is smooth and shiny.  Dip your doughnuts into the melted chocolate, place on a wire rack, and top with sprinkles if desired!  You can let the doughnuts sit for a bit so that the chocolate hardens a bit, and is less messy.  

Make sure to re-grease the doughnut pan between batches.  Even though my pan is non-stick, I didn’t re-grease between the 1st and 2nd batches and some of the doughnuts really stuck to the pan.  When I tried to pop them out, some fell apart.  

Adorable, right?  The ones on the left have plain chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles, while the ones on the right are frosted with a mixture of melted chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  Next time I think I’ll frost some solely with peanut butter frosting, and will definitely try to have some more exciting sprinkle options on hand.
My taste testers (not Maeby this time, don’t worry) and I agree–these are delicious!!  In case anyone was wondering, as noted on Handle the Heat and on Lara‘s blog, the addition of nutmeg to these doughnuts is really necessary.  It gives them a recognizable doughnut flavor.  Without it, they would just end up tasting like chocolate cupcakes rather than doughnuts.  Not that chocolate cupcakes are a bad thing… but we’re going for doughnuts here, people! =)

For those of you who don’t have a doughnut pan, I’d highly recommend picking one up.  They’re really inexpensive, and a lot of fun.  I found mine for about $10.  I hope you get the chance to try these out!

If anyone does happen to try them, and gets a little creative with the toppings or modifications to the recipe itself, please let me know how it goes!