Homemade Plain Cake Doughnuts

Homemade Plain Cake Doughnut Recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
370 Calories
23g Fat
38g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 370
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 486mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 67mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The vintage cake doughnut harkens back to the days of simple pleasures, and you can easily recreate this classic at home. But if you prefer a more modern approach, feel free to embellish as you wish.

Before you begin the recipe, prepare a spot with either newspapers or a brown paper bag covered with several layers of paper towels to drain the cooked doughnuts. Dust a clean kitchen counter or breadboard lightly with flour for kneading the dough. Place about an inch of flour in a shallow bowl or on a plate for flouring your fingers and biscuit cutters.


  • 1 quart neutral oil, such as canola or safflower

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Cinnamon sugar, confectioners' sugar, or glaze, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Doughnuts recipe
    The Spruce 
  2. Heat oil in deep fryer or tall stock pot to 360 F.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Sift flour into a large bowl. Resift flour with sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg to combine.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Crumble butter into flour mixture with your fingers, then stir in milk and egg.

    Doughnuts recipe
    The Spruce 
  5. With floured hands, lightly work dough just to moisten. Turn onto area prepared with flour and knead two or three times so the dough comes together. Pat dough with your fingertips into 1/4-inch thickness.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Dip either a doughnut cutter or two biscuit cutters (one 1-inch and one 3- or 4-inch) in flour. Cut doughnuts, gathering dough scraps to rework.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Use a slotted spoon to lower doughnuts into hot oil, cooking them 2 to 3 at a time and allowing the oil to return to temperature between batches.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Fry on the first side for 2 minutes, flip, and fry the remaining side an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Then remove with a slotted spoon.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Drain on prepared paper towels or a baking rack.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Sprinkle warm doughnuts with powdered sugar or a cinnamon-sugar mixture or drizzle with a prepared glaze, if desired.

    Doughnuts recipe
     The Spruce


  • You can adjust the sugar amount according to your personal taste preference.
  • The doughnuts need space to float in the hot oil, so don't add more than your fryer or pan can handle at once. They should not be touching as they cook.

Recipe Variations

  • You can substitute 2 1/4 cups of cake flour, which produces a lighter, more tender doughnut.
  • If you don't have a doughnut ring or biscuit cutters, you can make doughnut "holes" instead. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and gently roll it into a ball. Fry the holes 5 to 6 at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes or until evenly browned. You can also turn the scraps of dough into holes or fry the cutout pieces. Just be sure to handle the dough gently and sparingly to keep the doughnuts tender.