Doughnuts fit into two major categories: fried and baked. And while fried doughnuts are a real treat, the baked variety can be pretty special, too. Yes, a specific pan is required, but they're fairly affordable and can be easily purchased online or in a cooking equipment store. Moreover, baked doughnuts are unbelievably easy to prepare with very little cleanup (not hot oil splashing everywhere!) and—at least in the case of these pumpkin ones—super moist.
The batter is oil-based and quickly assembled with a whisk and a spatula. The finished cake doughnuts are springy with a tight crumb and flavored with just enough spice to help make the pumpkin flavor really sing. They hardly need any embellishments, but a coating of cinnamon sugar is lovely for both sparkle and crunch. These doughnuts make for an indulgent, yet easy Thanksgiving morning treat. They're also a great way to use up leftover canned pumpkin.
- For the Doughnuts:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin purée (about 2/3 of a 15-ounce can)
- For the Cinnamon Sugar:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a doughnut pan with cooking spray or softened butter.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the pumpkin and whisk again.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a rubber spatula to gently fold to combine. Do not over mix.
Fill each doughnut mold about 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a toothpick comes out with a moist crumb or two.
While the doughnuts bake, prepare the cinnamon sugar coating. Place in a small shallow bowl and whisk to combine.
Let the doughnut pan cool on a rack until easy to handle, then remove the doughnuts from the pan. While still warm, coat them in the cinnamon sugar. Refill the pan with batter and bake the remaining doughnuts.
Eat immediately or store them loosely covered on the counter for up to one day.
- For tender doughnuts, do not over-mix the dough. Finish folding the batter when you can still see a streak or two of flour.
- The cinnamon sugar coating does not adhere very well to the side of the doughnut that is exposed to the oven while baking. They are sweet enough with only one side coated, so this should not be a problem, but if you are a cinnamon sugar fanatic, try dipping the warm doughnuts in melted butter before coating both sides in the cinnamon sugar.
- The doughnuts should come out of the pan fairly easily, but since they will still be warm while you do this, be gentle with them, and perhaps use a butter knife to release any bits that offer up resistance.
- Pumpkin and chocolate is a great flavor combo. These would be delicious dipped in a chocolate glaze or you might consider throwing a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter.
- If you’re not crazy about cinnamon, these can be tossed in plain granulated sugar or even dusted with confectioners’ sugar.