Enjoy classic carrot cake flavor in donut form with this easy to make cake donut recipe! These portable treats are unbelievably tender and moist, and pack a strong carroty flavor. Cream cheese icing is the perfect finishing touch for this easy donut recipe.
I've been on a major donut kick lately, especially baked donuts! And one of my favorite things to do is take a classic cake recipe and "donut" it.
Todaaay, we're taking carrot cake and putting all that classic and amazing flavor into portable donut form!! There's seriously no way for me to put into words how soft and pillowy and moist and delicious these donuts are. But trust me, they're a must try!
Annnnd these donuts could NOT be any easier to make! The hardest part is probably grating the carrots, but it's really just extra justification for eating more donuts - because, hey? You worked for it.
P.s. for some reason my fingers keep wanting to type carrot "muffins" instead of donuts, so if you see me type muffins in this post...... just ignore me.
carrot donuts ingredients:
• baking powder + baking soda
• ground cinnamon + nutmeg: my favorite spices for carrot anything! You can leave them out if you prefer, or use one or the other. Some other delicious spices you can also add to this donut batter include ground cloves, ginger, and/or all-spice.
• sugar: brown sugar for the carrot muffins and powdered sugar for the icing. You can use granulated sugar in a pinch, but brown sugar really makes for an all around moister donut!
• oil: makes for an ultra soft donut! Like pillow-level soft.
• milk: for the donuts and icing
• vanilla extract
• carrots: the staaaaaar of the show! I recommend grating the carrots on the smallest side of the grater - sure, it's some extra elbow grease, but the flavor and texture is a lot better, and they add way more moisture. Don't, don't, dooooon't use pre-grated carrots. They don't taste quite as good as the real deal and they're usually drier than fresh.
• cream cheese: for the icing. And no worries, the cheese flavor is NOT overpowering at all. 2 tablespoons is the perfect amount to add the slightest hint of flavor, without tasting like an everything bagel... I love bagels, just not when I'm trying to make donuts.
• butter: also for the icing
• pecans or walnuts: optional - for topping
how to make carrot donuts:
Start by making the carrot donuts:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Whisk together wet ingredients.
3. Add grated carrots to the wet ingredients. Mix to combine.
4. Add dry ingredients and mix to form batter.
5. Spoon batter into greased donut pan & bake. You can also portion the batter using a piping bag. Fill each donut mold about ¾ of the way full.
6. Cool the donuts for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely. Don't let the donuts cool for more than 5 minutes in the pan or it'll become difficult to get them out!
Make the icing:
1. Whisk together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
2. Add powdered sugar, and whisk until dissolved.
3. Add just enough milk to thin to your desired consistency. Start with 1 tablespoon, and gradually add more if needed.
4. Ice the donuts and top with chopped pecans or walnuts if desired!
carrot donut storage:
These donuts will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature, or 1 week in the fridge. Keep stored in an airtight container for maximum freshness. These donuts are best served at room temperature. If you store them in the fridge, let them sit out for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed slightly before serving!
You can also freeze the plain donuts (without icing). To freeze, store your donuts in an airtight freezer container or plastic bag (with the air pressed out and sealed well). The donuts will keep for up to 3 months frozen.
To defrost, set out at room temperature for a few hours until thawed before icing.
Check out these other recipes!
Baked Carrot Donuts Recipe
For the carrot donuts:
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour, spoon and levelled
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (60mL) milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (95g) fresh finely grated carrots lightly packed *see notes
Cream cheese icing:
- 2 ounces (55g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- chopped pecans or walnuts optional - for topping
- Make the carrot donuts:Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease 2 (6 count) donut pans, and set aside. *Note: This recipe makes about 10 donuts, so start by greasing 10 of the donut molds. If you have extra batter left over, grease the other 2 molds if needed.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Fold in your grated carrots.
- Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix together until just combined. Take care not to over mix or the donuts will end up tough!
- Spoon or pipe the batter into your greased donut pans, filling each donut cup about ¾ of the way full. Bake the donuts in the center of your preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a donut comes out clean.
- Cool the donuts for no more than 5 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature before icing.
- Make the cream cheese icing: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Whisk together until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in one tablespoon of milk until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add in more milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Dip the cooled donuts in the icing, and allow any excess to drip off. (Optional) top with chopped pecans or walnuts before serving!