It’s October and there are pumpkins everywhere! What better way to enjoy them than in baked pumpkin donuts? Moist from the pumpkin puree and tender with plenty of warm spices for that fall feeling. And I have two toppings! Either cover the donuts with cinnamon brown sugar or dip them in a maple butterscotch glaze.
It was months ago that I shared my recipe for baked churro donuts (with spicy chocolate ganache!) and I’ve had so many other great recipes to work on since that my donut pans have languished. No more though!
As soon as I saw all the tasty winter squash varieties showing up at the farm stand and supermarket, I knew I needed to make some donuts. Actually, first I thought about a pumpkin quick bread, but then I realized everyone has made a pumpkin quick bread* and donuts would be a lot more interesting.
And not only more interesting, but they would provide me with my favorite form of dessert. The kind you don’t have to share. 🙂 I love single serving desserts and I’m always happy to make another one.
*Noting that I reserve the right to make a pumpkin bread if I can come up with a good (and yummy) twist.
Once I decided on baked donuts, I went out and got myself a red kabocha squash, since it is one of my favorite winter squashes/pumpkins around. That’s the same squash I used to develop my Spicy Pumpkin Soup (which I just made again last week – so good!) so I knew it would make yummy donuts as well.
Can’t find a kabocha squash? No worries! Luckily there are a number of other choices – red kuri, cheese pumpkins, butternut squash (I know you can find that one!), and sunshine squash are a few of the winter squashes out there which are great for desserts. While my favorite is kabocha, you can’t go wrong with any of these. Especially the butternut, since that pumpkin puree you’re already familiar with is made from a cousin of butternut.
Because guess what?
Pumpkins are some of the least tasty of the winter squashes. I know! It’s crazy, but true.
Once I had that yummy squash in hand, I popped in the oven to roast and then whipped it into a smooth puree in the food processor. Now the fun could start. 🙂
It was time to make some donuts.
As with the churro donuts, this is a simple dough. Here the pumpkin puree provides the moisture, brown sugar gives it some molasses/caramel flavor, and I used plenty of spices for that pumpkin pie feeling.
One thing that’s important with baked donuts, is that you use a fairly thick dough. Not stiff, but thick enough to pipe into the donut wells and have it keep its shape. If you scroll up, you’ll see that the batter looks like it was when it was piped in and how hasn’t smoothed out even in the time it took me to take a picture.
Now that I had yummy, moist baked pumpkin donuts with a beautiful deep orange color, it was time for even more fun. The toppings!
My two ideas for toppings were a sugar topping with plenty of spice and brown sugar or a super thick glaze made from maple butterscotch.
What to choose? I couldn’t decide, so I did both.
Both is good, right? Of course it is!
If you’re traveling with the donuts or want to keep things simple, go with the sugar coating. It’s super easy – just brush the donuts with butter and roll them in the sugar, and you can stack up the donuts in a carrying case without having to worry what they’ll look like when you arrive.
However, if you want to really go for it, my super thick butterscotch maple icing is totally amazing. And seriously impressive. Yes, you can tell my favorite. 🙂 But then I love butterscotch, in butterscotch sauce and in chocolate butterscotch bars and in apple butterscotch bars!
(Full disclosure: the sugar coating is the daughter’s favorite. There is room for different tastes here!)
Whichever topping you choose, you will have yummy, easy baked pumpkin donuts. And you can’t go wrong with that!
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
These easy and tasty baked pumpkin donuts are full of pumpkin puree and warming spices for a great fall breakfast or dessert. Either top them with a maple butterscotch glaze or roll them in cinnamon sugar.
- 2 cups (8.5 oz) cake flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2-3 tbsp heavy cream, if needed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus up to 1/2 cup more if needed
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 6 well donuts pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a large silicone spatula to mix them together. If the batter seems too stiff, add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time until the batter is thick but not stiff.
Scoop the batter into a gallon sized resealable bag. Lay the bottom of the bag flat on counter and scoop the batter directly to the bottom. Close the bag and cut a 3/4 inch piece of off the bottom corner. Pipe the batter into each well, filling the cavities 3/4 full. Bake the donuts for 9-11 minutes, testing to see if they are firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. Turn out the donuts onto a cooling rack and cool until completely cooled.
Coat the donuts in either one of the two toppings.
In a shallow bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients except the butter.
Brush each donut in some of the butter and then roll it in the brown sugar mixture until coated on all sides.
In a medium saucepan, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and let bubble for 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and let cool for 3-4 minutes.
Add the butter mixture, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar to a large bowl. With a hand mixture, beat the icing until smooth. The icing should flow but be able to cover the donuts with thick coating. Dip a spoon in the icing and see if it coats the spoon. Add more confectioners' to the icing if it's not thick enough.
Dip the top of each donut into the icing, giving it a twist as you pull it out and then set them aside for the icing to harden.
- If you do the 'scoop and sweep' method of measuring flour, you will have too much. Fluff up the flour and spoon it into the cup. Or use a digital scale. I have a Salter scale which I always use for baking.
- You can used canned pumpkin puree or puree roasted winter squash in the food processor until smooth. Either way your puree should be thick and not watery. If it seems too thin, let it drain in a mesh strainer until thick.
- You will need at least one 6-well donut pan. They are inexpensive and you can buy them online if you don't have a store with a kitchen section nearby.
- Do not forget to grease the donut pans!! You can get the donuts out, but it's annoying and they will stick.
- The donuts are tender and can crumble when they are warm. Let them cool completely before coating them.
- If you go too far with the confectioners' and now the icing is too thick, add cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is the right consistency. Also, this icing has a short shelf life before it cools. Use it while it is warm, that way it can harden up on the donuts.