Whole Wheat Espresso Gazed Mini Doughnuts (baked, not fried)

I bought one of those mini doughnut pans, can you tell? I got it on a whim, but the truth is, I’ve always turned up my nose at the thought of baked doughnuts, mini or otherwise. I’m a native East Coaster, and we take our doughnuts very, very seriously. I mean, why mess with an already perfect food? I imagined them tough, dry, and not doughnut-like at all. But hey, we all make mistakes, and in fact, I can’t tell the difference at all between these and regular fried doughnuts. If anything, I like these better. Soft and pillowy, not too sweet, with a subtle hint of nutmeg and cardamom. I love them!

I finished my first batch of soft, whole wheat doughnuts in two ways because I couldn’t make up my mind. First I popped the warm doughnuts, fresh out of the pan, into a bag filled with confectioner’s sugar and gave them a good shake.

The whole wheat flour and brown sugar gives the interior a warm toffee color. The fresh nutmeg gives them that unmistakable ‘doughnut’ taste. These are classic, and they beg to be dunked in a cup of good strong coffee.

I went a different route with the second batch. I made a thick espresso glaze and dipped the doughnuts in head first. The result was the perfect mid morning bite.

I do have a definite competitive streak, and sometimes it flares up when I go into a Starbucks. Their mini doughnuts always tempt me, but I know if I order them I’ll be disappointed. They’re dry, and don’t taste anywhere near as good as they look. That’s a sin in my book, and tantamount to throwing down the gauntlet.

This is the way mini doughnuts should taste, and my espresso glaze is so much better than pink frosting with sprinkles.

Whole Wheat Mini Baked Doughnuts
makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen mini doughnuts
oven to 325F
dry ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups light brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom (you can substitute cinnamon, or leave it out)
wet ingredients:
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk, cream, or half and half
1 Tbsp vanilla paste (or regular vanilla extract)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure the brown sugar is completely dispersed and there are no lumps.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  • The easiest way to fill the little doughnut wells in the pan is to pipe it. Spoon the batter into a large baggie and cut a hole in one corner.
  • Lightly spray the doughnut pan with cooking spray, and then pipe the batter into the doughnut wells, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. (or according to the instructions that came with your particular pan)
  • Bake for 9 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when touched.
  • Cool briefly and then remove the doughnuts from the pan.
  • Shake the warm doughnuts in a bag filled with confectioner’s sugar, or glaze with Espresso Glaze.

Espresso Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp instant espresso powder
several Tbsp milk or heavy cream

  • Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 Tbsp of the milk or cream. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the powder to dissolve. Mix in the sugar, and enough additional milk or cream to get a glaze consistency. There is no right or wrong to this— go thicker if you want a heavier, frosted look, go thinner for a more translucent glaze effect.

Notes:  Don’t forget the nutmeg, it’s the flavor that makes a doughnut taste like a doughnut. Trust me.

These were very very good. I’m a baked mini doughnut convert.

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    October 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Awesome recipe – these came out great!

  • Reply
    Brooke Schweers
    May 7, 2013 at 4:27 am

    These are adorable! I need to buy a donut pan NOW so i can make them!

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    May 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I’ve missed so many awesome posts! You’d never guess how many times I was on your site this week though. Ha. Thanks for the inspiration, once again. I soooo wish I had a couple of these with my latte this morning!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Beautiful Sue, I often wish I was your neighbor but I think it’s best not. I would be fat as a you-know-what. It would be fun but, oh my, I could never resist the aromas that must emanate from you kitchen 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol | a cup of mascarpone
    May 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I have a major doughnut weakness…but I can convince myself that these are fairly healthy, so I can eat a whole batch! ;} Lovely flavors, Sue! They look scrumptious!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    May 1, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I must be on the look our for a doughnut tin – I so love the way they are baked and not fried and the taste is very similar – ooh they look good enough to tempt me from my diet.

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    May 1, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I’ve never made doughnuts before, either baked or fried and I know if I had a mini pan like this it would be very dangerous for my waste line. Yours look so lovely though. I am very tempted!

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    May 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve had a recipe for chocolate donuts sitting on my stack for the longest time but still haven’t bought a pan. I love the idea of baked vs. fried. I think your donuts sound and look wonderful! Another great post – you’ve been a busy lady!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      May 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks, Tricia. I thought the pan was a total gimmick, but truly, it’s great. Wish I’d had it when my kids were young.

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    May 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I can’t wait to try these. I have to buy a mini pan first. I love that these are whole wheat and baked.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    They look wonderful and glad you’re on board with baked donuts! Baked will never be a fried Krispy Kreme but once you get that sorted out mentally, baked can be darn good. I’m a big fan! And I love that Espresso Glaze. Just the color…I want to dive in head first!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Yum…..just yum…..everything on your site is well just yum!!!! Bad day to give up carbs!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Good to know that baked doughnuts taste good, like you I’ve always been a bit sceptical. I think I might be giving these a try now you’ve given them the thumbs up.

  • Reply
    Sulpicia (III)
    April 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I’ve been considering making doughnuts recently (having seen a few really interesting recipes), but I haven’t quite had the will to try them. However, this has given me extra impetus– these look great!

  • Reply
    Abbe Odenwalder
    April 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I am so happy to hear this. I never liked baked doughnuts either. I figured if you are going to eat a doughnut make it a ‘real’ doughnut. So happy to see you have tested this!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      April 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I know, I felt the same way, but now we can enjoy doughnuts and not feel like we have to eat salad for the rest of the day as penance.

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