Fluffy, baked pumpkin cake donuts are the easy dessert you didn't know you needed to make this fall. Enjoy them plain or with a variety of toppings, including my scratch-made cream cheese frosting, which pairs perfectly. Originally posted October 2016. Last updated September 2021.
It seems like everyone is ready to break out everything pumpkin before we've even felt the slightest hint of a fall breeze this year. And I get it. Life is more than a bit weird right now and looking ahead to good things can be a comfort. In that spirit, I present my pumpkin cake donuts recipe to you. They are easy, baked donuts filled with complementary pumpkin and spice flavors then finished with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. Simply put, this is the perfect fall donut recipe. Let's get into the details.
And if you like unique donut recipe ideas, try these next!
Pumpkin Cake Donut Ingredients
- Brown Sugar
- Pumpkin Puree
- Sea Salt
- Vanilla Extract
Canned pumpkin puree is a pantry staple for me this time of year. And it adds the pumpkin flavor and beautiful orange color to the donuts. And I love baking with pumpkin and warm spices in the fall. The whole house smells wonderful and the outcome is like something from a professional bakery--just scrumptious. These pumpkin-flavored donuts come out perfectly cakey and sweet and you could definitely enjoy them as is but I highly recommend you make the cream cheese frosting. It's easy and adds the perfect touches of creaminess and tanginess to complement the donuts.
Tips for this Recipe
- What can I do with leftover pumpkin puree? This recipe calls for one cup of pumpkin puree, which isn't quite a full can that you'd find at the grocery store. I suggest using the extra in a batch of baked oatmeal muffins, making sweet and salty pumpkin kitchen sink cookies, or my chai pumpkin cookies. You can't go wrong with any of these options.
- What kind of pan to use to bake donuts? I use a nonstick donut pan--six count for smaller batches and either 20-count pan for when I'm baking for parties. These have given me beautiful results for all kinds of baked donuts.
- How to pipe donuts for baking? Transfer your spiced pumpkin cake batter into a pastry bag or (my personal favorite) a ziploc bag with one corner snipped off. Gently squeeze the bag to express batter into each cavity of the donut pan, using a swooping motion to make a circle. Fill the pan so that the batter just slightly domes over the top of each cavity.
- How to bake donuts in the oven? Bake your donuts in a prepared nonstick pan at 350 degrees and be sure to place the pan on the middle oven rack. This helps keep the donuts from browning unevenly and prematurely. I also recommend placing a pan on the rack below to catch any drips. This shouldn't be an issue as long as you don't overfill the donut pan but better safe than sorry.
- How to remove baked donuts from pan? Even though I use a nonstick donut pan, I still spray it down with oil, just in case. To remove your baked donuts from the pan, let them cool slightly in order to be able to handle them safely. Place the cooling rack on top of the donut pan and the donuts hey should practically fall out of the pan once you flip it over but if they need a nudge, use a butter knife to gently tilt each one out of the pan then place them onto the cooling rack.
- What other tools will I need for this recipe? You'll need a mixing bowl, a silicone spatula for scraping down the bowl and transferring batter into the piping bag, and lastly, a cooling rack for your finished donuts.
How to Frost Cake Donuts Easily
While you could certainly pipe the cream cheese frosting onto your finished pumpkin babies, there's a much quicker and simpler way to get the job done. Place one donut upside-down into the bowl of frosting and gently press until it's about halfway submerged then twist it horizontally and pull it straight up to remove. This trick cuts down on cleanup, too, because you keep the frosting in the same bowl where you mixed it. And I love that simplicity for you. I really do. After frosting, I like to adorn some of the donuts with cinnamon sugar, sliced almonds. Mini chocolate chips are also good. Feel free to get creative with it!
I hope you enjoy this fall donut recipe and share it with everyone you love. It is a winner in ease and taste. And sharing is caring on the internet, too, so go pin this pumpkin cream cheese donuts recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Baked Pumpkin Donut Recipe
Pumpkin Donuts with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter melted (you can also use oil)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- ⅛ cup butter softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a nonstick donut pan with oil and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined and you have a uniform batter with no dry pockets.
- Transfer batter into a pastry bag or ziploc bag with one corner snipped off and pipe into prepared donut pan.
- Place pan onto middle oven rack and bake for about 12 minutes or until tops of donuts are very slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center donut comes out clean. Place donuts onto cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add all frosting ingredients to a bowl and beat with a hand or stand mixer until and smooth. Frosting should be thick but spreadable.
- Place one donut, upside down, into bowl of frosting and gently press until halfway submerged. Twist the donut horizontally then lift it straight up out of the bowl. Repeat with remaining donuts until all are frosted.