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These light, baked chocolate cake donuts are deliciously moist thanks to a hazelnutty Nutella batter. The soft, creamy glaze is an espresso chocolate bourbon ganache made with heavy cream, butter, chocolate, vanilla extract, espresso powder and Bourbon.
Nutella does not only add its signature hazelnut flavor here but it also makes these donuts extra chocolatey as well as creamy and moist.
This post was originally published on Jan. 1, 2016.
- About the recipe
- How to make baked chocolate cake donuts step by step
- How to make the chocolate Bourbon glaze
About the recipe:
What are cake donuts?
Unlike yeast donuts, cake donuts are made from what is basically cake batter that is raised with baking powder and sometimes baking soda. (Yeast donuts, on the other hand, are made with a yeast dough and as a result have the yeast-typical fermented flavor.) Cake donuts have less chew than yeast donuts and are more crumbly, like an actual cake. Since cake batter is much faster and easier to make than yeast dough (no rise time is needed for the dough, etc.), cake donuts are super quick and easy to make and for the recipe here you don’t even need a mixer!
Can I make this recipe without Bourbon?
Absolutely. Because the Bourbon is only in the glaze, it’s very easy to turn this recipe into a non-alcoholic one. To make this a straight up baked chocolate donut recipe, simply do everything as instructed but leave out the Bourbon.
Can I store the donuts?
These donuts are definitely best served fresh on the day you make them but if you have any left over, you can cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let them sit on the kitchen counter for up to one day. (I don’t recommend refrigerating them because that will dry them out.)
How to make baked chocolate cake donuts step by step:
The actual donuts are made with all your usual ingredients plus one special ingredient and that is Nutella. Nutella does not only add its signature hazelnut flavor here but it also makes these donuts extra chocolatey and wonderfully moist.
The preparation of the batter is very easy, you don’t need a mixer or anything, you just whisk everything together by hand.
Step 1. Start by greasing two 6-cavity donut pans with melted vegetable shortening or non-stick spray. (The recipe makes 11 donuts.)
Step 2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F., then whisk together your dry ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt.
Step 3. Next, whisk 1/4 cup Nutella into the dry ingredients. You have to make sure the Nutella is at room temperature, it’s not soft enough when it comes straight out of the fridge. If you forgot to set it out, you can just warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds.
RECIPE TIP: The easiest way to mix the Nutella into the flour/cocoa blend is to press it in with the whisk, similar to cutting fat into flour. And it doesn’t have to be perfectly blended, it’s okay if it’s clumpy.
Step 4. Next, grab a second bowl and whisk together 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
Step 5. Whisk in 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter. (The melted butter will likely solidify when it hits the cold milk and that’s no problem.)
Step 6. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and with that your batter is done! (It will still be a little bit clumpy and that’s fine).
Step 7. Using two spoons, divide the batter into 11 cavities of the donut pans, filling each cavity about half full.
Step 8. Bake the donuts for 12 to 15 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once the donuts have cooled, make the glaze:
How to make the chocolate Bourbon glaze:
Step 9. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1.5 T unsalted butter, 1/4 t instant espresso powder, 1/4 t vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take the mix off the heat and add 1 T Bourbon.
Step 10. Pour the hot mix over 4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then whisk together until smooth.
RECIPE NOTE: If you still end up with chocolate pieces in the glaze, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to fully melt them.
Step 11. Spoon the glaze over the donuts and serve them with a glass of milk (or Bourbon)!
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Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts with Bourbon Glaze
For the donuts:
- non-stick spray or vegetable shortening for the donut pans
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Bourbon
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*
For the donuts:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray two 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick spray or grease well with vegetable shortening and set aside.
- Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
- Whisk in the Nutella. (This works best if you press the Nutella into the flour mix with the whisk. The mix will not be perfectly blended, it will stay a bit clumpy and that's fine.) Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg, vanilla and sugar together until well combined.
- Whisk milk and melted butter into the egg mix. (The butter will likely solidify into tiny pieces when it hits the cold milk mix and that’s fine.)
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the egg mix. (The batter will still be a bit clumpy from the Nutella, don’t worry about that.)
- Using two spoons, divide the batter into the donut pans, filling the individual cavities about half full, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Let the donuts cool in the pans, then unmold them carefully.
For the glaze:
- Add cream, butter, espresso powder, vanilla and salt to a saucepan, bring to a boil and stir until combined.
- Take off the heat and stir in the Bourbon.
- Pour the hot mix over the chocolate and let sit for a minute.
- Whisk until everything is well combined and no chocolate clumps remain. (You may need to heat the mixture over a pot of simmering water to melt the last clumps of chocolate).
- Spoon the glaze over the donuts.