Mini cake mix donuts that are simple and easy.
Let’s talk about donuts, shall we? Other than photos of Leonardo DiCaprio, or anything involving Channing Tatum with his shirt off, nothing makes our eyes light up quite like a pile of glorious donuts. Yes, you read that correctly, it said a pile. We mean business.
We firmly believe that donuts are a perfectly acceptable meal at all times of the day. They are breakfast disguised as dessert to make waking up in the morning a little less difficult. Besides, take away the frosting, sprinkles, cream filling, etc.., and a donut is basically just a circular muffin. With a hole in the center. Who cares. The moral of the story is don’t let anyone stop you from living your life. Eat them for lunch, eat them at midnight, juggle them in the air before you throw them in your mouth if that’s what you want to do.
We donut judge here.
We had never made donuts before, but the idea was always very appealing. However, considering the fact that we do not have a fryer, and aren’t really excited about playing with hot oil, we never really got anywhere other than Dunkin’ Donuts.
During a recent Pinterest binge (don’t judge, we all do it), we saw a lot of variations of donut recipes that use cake mix in which the donuts are baked instead of fried. Seeing as how we had never attempted to make donuts before, we figured this would be a good place to start.
To get started, you will need a dry cake mix. What is great about this recipe is that you can use any flavor cake mix you want. To keep it simple, we chose to do just chocolate and vanilla. But that red velvet mix was VERY tempting. Next, you will combine the cake mix, 1 egg, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of water in a large bowl and mix it all together.
After your ingredients are all mixed together, spray your pan with cooking oil before adding the batter. In order to make filling the pan as easy and mess-free as possible, put the batter in a plastic baggy and cut the tip off so that you can pipe the batter into the molds. Be careful not to overfill your donut pan. You want to fill them almost half way to get perfectly shaped donuts. If you fill them too much, they rise quite a bit and you get spheres of cake rather than what looks like a traditional donut.
What is better than donuts? Mini-donuts! Other than the obvious fact that they are tiny and adorable, mini donuts are great because you can eat large amounts at one time and be perfectly okay with it. After all, 50 mini donuts is basically the same as eating 2 regular size donuts. (Not even close, but this is what we like to tell ourselves). This recipe could easily be used to make regular sized donuts, but because we are suckers for everything tiny, we decided to make mini ones instead. We used a 12 count mini donut pan for this recipe, and we got about 60 donuts per box of cake. This proved to be very time consuming when working with only 1 donut pan. But, lesson learned- get another donut pan.
Now, once your pan is filled you are ready to bake them! Place them into a 400 degree oven and bake them for 5-7 minutes. Because they are so small, it is very easy to over bake them, so be careful. Once they are done baking, let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before you try to take them out. If you try and take them out of the pan too early, then they will fall apart. After they are removed from the pan, allow them to sit on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before you start to decorate!
** Keep in mind that if you are making regular size donuts, you will have to bake them for a couple minutes longer.
Now comes the fun part- decorating. This is one of our favorite parts of the baking process. We love taking something simple and plain and turning it into something beautiful and fun. We gathered a few of our favorite toppings and went to town.
Before you start adding your toppings, you will need something that they will adhere to. We decided to dip half of the donuts in chocolate ganache, and the other half in a simple glaze before we started adding the fun stuff.
Chocolate ganache is very easy to make, and it goes great with so many things. Microwave 1 cup of heavy cream in the microwave until it is boiling (about 2 minutes). After it is boiling, pour it over a bowl filled with 1 cup of chocolate chips. Cover the cream/chocolate chip mixture with plastic wrap and let it sit for 5 minutes. After everything is all melted together, stir it up and then you are ready to dip!
The glaze that we dipped half of them in is also very easy to make. Combine 2/3 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of warm water, and ¼ tsp of vanilla extract in a small bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t want the glaze to be too thick or else the donuts will be difficult to dip. You may need to add a little bit more water until you reach a good consistency.
Keep in mind that both the ganache and the glaze will harden pretty quickly. So make sure you add your dry toppings immediately after dipping to be sure that they actually stick. We used a variety of coconut, sprinkles, peanut butter cups, and chocolate chips to top our treats.
It is important to remember that because they are made with a cake mix, these donuts are not going to have quite the same texture and density as a traditional donut. However, they are still delicious!
After they are decorated you are done! Now, the hardest part is deciding which one you want to eat. Just do what we do, and pretend you’re on an episode of ‘The Bachelor’ and try one of each of the ridiculously, annoyingly attractive options before you decide which one is your favorite. Donut Bachelor is better because you don’t have to watch the un-eaten donuts cry in a limo on their way back home while they talk about how they are ‘giving up on love”.
Don’t worry, little donuts, we will never abandon you.