I know this to be true: There is nothing better than a warm, cinnamon sugar donut, except maybe a warm, cinnamon sugar donut on a cold November afternoon. Or, on a cold November morning. Or anytime, really. These homemade Oven Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts are better than any donut you’d buy in a bakery (a bold statement, I know), and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, with ingredients you likely already have on hand. Less than half an hour stands between you and these tender, cakey donuts rolled in a sweet, warming, cinnamon sugar coating. And while I love a fluffy yeasted donut, these donuts are the old fashioned kind that are baked not fried, which makes them just a little bit healthier. So maybe you could eat two of them, because I know you’re going to want to. In fact, these donuts are so good, I recommend you make a double batch if you’re having a crowd, because they disappear quickly!
OLD FASHIONED VS YEASTED DONUTS
There are two main types of donuts: yeasted donuts and old-fashioned donuts (sometimes called cake donuts). I know some people might argue that there are also fritters, crullers and the like, but most of those types in fact fall under the category of yeasted donuts. So what is a yeasted donut? As a starting point, it’s a donut that contains yeast and requires rising time (sometimes multiple risings), resulting in an airy, light and soft interior texture. Usually yeasted donuts are also deep fried for a golden, slightly crisp exterior. Unlike yeasted donuts, old fashioned donuts puff up with the help of leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda, meaning they don’t need any rising time. While they can be fried, the beauty of old fashioned donuts is that they can be oven-baked, eliminating the mess and extra fat of deep-frying. The result is a rustic and crackly exterior containing a cakey, moist and tender interior.
These donuts are baked in a donut pan. You can find donut pans in the baking section of home goods stores, sold as a single pan with 12 cavities, or more frequently as a set of 2 pans of 6 donut cavities. If you don’t own a donut pan yet, I recommend running out and getting one immediately (or order one here and have it delivered to your door in time for the weekend) because this recipe is worth owning a special pan for! I’ve made many types of donuts over the years, but this is the recipe I come back to again and again because they’re so simple and quick to make, and so, so delicious!
Less than half an hour of time and a just a handful of pantry ingredients stand between you and these delicious baked donuts, so they are the perfect anytime treat. They’re baked, not fried, and contain some nutritious ingredients, such as Greek yogurt, egg and milk, so I don’t feel terrible about serving them to my kids as an after school snack on a cold, snowy day. Donuts fall into the same category as pancakes, waffles and cinnamon buns as desserts that are somehow justifiable for breakfast – a point I definitely won’t argue. They make the house smell like a bakery, so go ahead and put them together just before guests arrive for brunch. Stack them high on a pedestal cake plate and place them in the centre of the table for an edible centrepiece with major wow-factor. These donuts travel well, so pack them in an air tight container and take them on your next picnic, or pop them into your brown-bag lunch for your next ski day!
These cinnamon sugar donuts pair beautifully with a cold glass of milk, a hot chocolate, a big mug of coffee or a cup of tea. The warm vanilla flavours of a London Fog compliment the sweet cinnamon topping on these donuts perfectly!
For a fun and unexpected dessert at an adult dinner party, serve these Oven Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts alongside cups of spiked coffee. Bring a selection of liqueurs and a bowl of whipped cream to the table. Ask each guest for their liqueur preference, then spike the individual cups of coffee with a shot of the guest’s selected liqueur. Top each cup with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Serve the boozy coffees with a big platter of these donuts for dipping, dunking and scooping up the whipped cream. This dessert idea is quick and simple to prepare, yet full of style. Your guests will no doubt be talking about it, and your dinner party genius, for months to come!
Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter
- Place rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease a standard size, 12 cavity donut pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, milk, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Be careful not to over mix to ensure tender results. The batter will be very thick.
- Spoon the batter into the donut pan, filling each cavity 3/4 of the way full. (You can also spoon the batter into a large resealable bag and snip a corner of the bag to make a pastry bag. Squeeze the bag to pipe batter into each donut pan cavity.)
- Bake for 9-10 minutes, until batter is set and edges are lightly browned. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes while you prepare the cinnamon sugar coating.
- To make the cinnamon sugar coating: Place a cooling rack over top of a baking sheet and set aside (the baking sheet will catch the excess cinnamon sugar, making clean up easier). In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. In a separate small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Working with one donut at a time, dip the donut into the butter and roll it around to coat evenly. Immediately dunk the donut into bowl of cinnamon sugar and turn it to coat the donut all over. Transfer the donut to the prepared cooling rack. Repeat with the other donuts until all donuts are coated in the cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.
- Higher and lower fat plain Greek yogurts work well in this recipe, but avoid non-fat (0% milk fat) yogurt as it often contains thickeners that can do strange things when baked. I typically use 2% plain Greek yogurt with excellent results, but 3% and 5% yogurts have worked just as well.
- These are best served immediately, but will keep nicely in a covered container for up to 2 days. To make them further in advance, cool completely, wrap them well and freeze for up to a month.