Baked Gingerbread Donuts
Sweet, cake-like and perfectly spiced, these baked gingerbread donuts will be a new favorite in your kitchen this holiday season! The flavors of ginger and molasses will remind you of gingerbread Christmas cookies!
Gingerbread: the classic holiday flavor that is so controversial. Some love it, while others hate it. Or maybe you’re in the “meh” crowd. If that’s the case, then this baked donut recipe might just change your mind, hopefully for the better. Although I am always impartial to chocolate desserts, around the holidays I fall in love with anything gingerbread flavored, whether it’s muffins, cookies, or these gingerbread donuts. Warm spices paired with molasses, topped with a vanilla glaze… all perfectly reminiscent flavors of the holiday season.
Contrary to traditional donuts, these donuts are baked, not fried. Which gives them healthy points, right? 😉 Okay, maybe these aren’t exactly a health food, but it’s the holidays. Definitely time to relax the clean eating standards and take an extra dose or two of sugar. But, enough talk; let’s get baking!
All-Purpose Flour~ White flour lends the donuts a soft, cake-like texture. No whole wheat flour today!
Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt~ Without these key ingredients, your donuts would be flat, dense and lacking in flavor. In other words, it’s best not to leave them out!
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Clove~ These spices are key to creating that iconic gingerbread flavor. If you omit any of these spices, you will have a flavorless donut, which is definitely not ideal.
Molasses~ Another key ingredient in gingerbread, this liquid sweetener adds a deep, rich flavor to the donuts. I use and recommend either light or dark molasses. Although blackstrap molasses has many health benefits, it can be a slightly bitter, which is why it is best not to use it in this recipe.
Brown Sugar~ Brown sugar is another key component for sweetening and adding flavor to the donuts. You could use white sugar instead, but I don’t suggest substituting another liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup or honey because the batter will be too wet.
Eggs~ Eggs help leaven the donuts, giving them a soft, fluffy texture.
Oil~ I use canola oil, but vegetable, olive or melted coconut oil could work too. You could also try melted butter, but I have found that cake recipes using melted butter tend to be a bit dry, which is why I prefer oil instead.
Powdered Sugar~ To make a smooth, thick glaze, use powdered sugar, not granulated sugar. Powdered sugar has a very fine consistency and includes a small amount of cornstarch as well, which makes it perfect for thickening glazes and frostings.
Milk~Any dairy or nondairy milk will work here.
Vanilla Extract~ This is key to a strong vanilla flavor in the glaze, which complements the spiced donuts wonderfully.
Baked donuts are so easy to make! Start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Sift the flour mixture into the wet mixture and gently fold together until just combined.
Pour your batter into a large piping bag or plastic ziploc bag and snip off the end. Because the batter is quite wet, you will need to work quickly as you pipe the batter into your greased donut pans. If you wish, you can spoon the batter into the pans, but I have found that this takes more time. Don’t have a donut pan? Use a mini or regular muffin tin to make cupcakes instead! You can glaze the cupcakes or ice with your favorite vanilla frosting recipe, like this Brown Butter Vanilla Frosting.
While the donuts bake, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract to make the glaze.
Once the donuts are done baking, flip them onto a wire cooling rack and place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat underneath the rack. One by one, dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze and then place them back on the rack so that the icing can harden.
To be extra festive, garnish donuts with red and green sprinkles or sanding sugar, and you’re done! These donuts are great for holiday parties, wrapped as a gift, or just enjoyed by you and you alone. Yes, Christmas is the time of year to be thinking of others, but when it comes to these donuts….well, I think there’s no shame in keeping them to yourself. 🙂 Happy Holidays!
Baked Gingerbread Donuts
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F and grease two 6-count donut pans with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the molasses, brown sugar, eggs and oil. Sift the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and gently stir together until just combined.
- Either pipe or spoon the batter into the donut pans until each cavity is about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean. Allow to cool a few minutes on a wire rack while you make the glaze.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Dip the top of each donut in the glaze and place back onto the wire rack so any excess glaze will run off the sides of the donut. Allow the glaze to harden before enjoying.