How To Make Pumpkin Cake Donuts?

When donuts were first created, there were very few options when it came to their shape, size and flavoring. However, over the past couple of decades that has all changed, thanks in large to commercial donut shop chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme who have pushed the boundaries when it comes to donut creativity.

The variety of donut types that these two powerhouses offer has led to independent donut shops becoming more creative with their products too. Nowadays you can buy donuts in the shape of long twists and with a variety of fillings such as jam, custard, blueberries and apple. The options are, seemingly, endless.

In this article, we are going to be focusing on pumpkin cake donuts, telling you a little bit about them, the ingredients you’ll need to make them and a step-by-step guide to creating the final product. Let’s take a look.

Facts about pumpkin cake donuts

Pumpkin Cake Donuts With Cream Chess Frosting
Image Credit: Dash of Jazz

Pumpkin cake donuts are a type of donut that become particularly popular during the autumn as people gear up for Halloween. The two things that everyone associates with Halloween are pumpkins and treats, so with pumpkin cake donuts you can kill two birds with one stone.

It is unclear when they started to become mainstream but the two largest Donut shop chains in the world, Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, both sell a version of them in the build-up to Halloween. They are very popular with customers during this time of year but when the winter comes, they are sadly taken off the shelves.

When this happens, all of us who have enjoyed divulging in these seasonal treats are left feeling frustrated for the next 12 months until we can get our hands on them again. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Shortly, we are going to be providing you with ingredients and recipes for both a baked and fried version of pumpkin cake donuts.

One final thing to mention about pumpkin cake donuts before we get on to that is the taste that you can expect to get from them. Pumpkins are usually just something we use for decorative purposes on Halloween so you may have no idea what they taste like.

In short, pumpkins taste similar to sweet potatoes but with a nutty aftertaste. When mixed with typical donut ingredients, it can actually have a little bit of a spice kick. As a result, pumpkin cake donuts taste rather unusual, but not unusual enough to put you off – in fact, quite the opposite.

If this taste sounds up your street then let’s not waste any more time. Here are the ingredients and recipes for fried and baked pumpkin cake donuts.

Step-by-step instructions for creating pumpkin cake donuts

Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Image Credit: Frugal Mom Eh!

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of recipes and ingredients out there for pumpkin case donuts, especially as we get closer to October. We’ve decided to provide you with one set of ingredients for a fried version of the donut and another set of ingredients for a baked version.

We’ve also steered clear of Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts’ recipes because we want you to experience a truly homemade version of this unusual donut. You don’t necessarily need a mixer, or an electric mixer, for either method but feel free to use them if you have them.

Ingredients for a fried pumpkin cake donut

For the donut and filling:

  • 500g of flour.
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • 75g of buttermilk.
  • 120g of pumpkin puree.

For the glaze:

  • 3 cups of sugar.
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • ½ cup of buttermilk.

For the frying:

  • Oil.

Ingredients for a baked pumpkin cake donut

For the donut and filling:

  • 250g of flour.
  • 100g of vegetable oil.
  • 3 large eggs.
  • 250g of granulated sugar (use up to 300 for a sweeter version or as little as 200 if you are trying to make a healthier version).
  • 350g of pumpkin puree.
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with ½  a teaspoon of nutmeg and ginger combined as an alternative if you can’t find any pumpkin pie spice.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

For the coating:

  • 35g of cinnamon sugar.

With the ingredients now boxed off, it’s time to create your delicious, homemade pumpkin cake donuts. Below are step-by-step instructions for both fried and baked pumpkin cake donuts, using the ingredients stated above.

Fried pumpkin cake donut recipe

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Take out a second bowl and whisk together all of the other ingredients apart from the oil.
  3. Return to the first bowl and make a well in the center of them all.
  4. Pour all of the whisked wet ingredients from the second bowl into the first bowl with the dry ingredients and stir them around/mix them together until the mixture is combined nicely.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and roll it until it’s around half an inch in thickness.
  6. Cut as many donut shapes as you can out of this mixture. If you want mini donuts then make sure you cut small. Either way, they are going to look really thin at this point, but don’t worry because they will puff up quite a bit once fried.
  7. Create the glaze by whisking all of the glaze ingredients together in a new bowl until the glaze is nice and smooth.
  8. Pour two inches of oil into a large skillet and heat it up over medium heat.
  9. Once the oil is bubbling, slide the donuts into the oil and fry on both sides until you begin to see the traditional donut color.
  10. Remove them from the oil and dip them into the buttermilk glaze.
  11. Set aside for an hour on a cooling rack or cool baking tray before tucking in.

Baked pumpkin donuts recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 and lightly grease two donut pans.
  2. Grab a bowl and mix together the oil, sugar, spices, eggs, pumpkin, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the flour and continue to stir to create a nice, smooth donut batter.
  4. Fill the wells of the donut pans with the batter until the pans are around ¾ full.
  5. Put the donut pans with the batter into the preheated oven for around 20 minutes. Keep checking though after about 12 minutes as it can sometimes be quicker.
  6. Insert a cake tester into the center of one of the donuts and if it comes out clean then they are done.
  7. Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. If you don’t have a cooling rack, then a cool baking tray will suffice.
  8. To coat the donuts, gently shake them in a bag with the cinnamon sugar. Make sure you do this while the donuts are still warm.
  9. Allow your batch of donuts to cool off before consuming and store any unused ones at room temperature on a covered plate for a few days. Do not consume after a week.


How many calories are in a pumpkin cake donut?

The calories in a pumpkin cake donut vary depending on the recipe and ingredients you use. For example, the fried recipe contains 400 calories per serving and the baked one contains 300 calories per serving.

If you are going to purchase a pumpkin cake donut from a chain then Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin recipe contains 200 calories per serving, while Dunkin’ Donuts’ recipe contains 360 calories. So, as you can see there isn’t a one size fits all answer.

Are pumpkin cake donuts available all year round?

As pumpkin cake donuts are usually wheeled out by dessert shops around Halloween, you will be hard pressed to find anywhere that sells them all year round. However, the recipes we have provided in this article will allow you to make them whenever you feel like it.

Are fried donuts nicer than baked ones?

This will be down to personal preference. If you like your treats to be high in fat content and then you are probably going to like fried donuts better. One thing for certain, though, is that baked donuts are the healthier of the two options.

What shape are pumpkin cake donuts?

In theory, pumpkin cake donuts can be any shape you want them to be if you are skilled enough. For standard bakers, they will typically come in the classic circular donut shape, however, some bakeries add ridges to the sides to create a pumpkin look.

Final Words

Pumpkin cake donuts are a seasonal treat that has gained in popularity over the years, leaving many of us wanting access to them for longer than just the weeks leading up to Halloween. We hope that the ingredients and recipes outlined in this article will allow you to create these tasty cakes whenever you get a craving for them.

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