Moist and chewy baked carrot cake donuts are perfectly spiced and topped with plenty of tangy cream cheese icing – and they’ll be ready in less than 30 minutes! Eat these for breakfast, then make my irresistible paleo carrot cake for dessert.
It’s April Fools’ Day. You know who is not a fan of April Fools’ Day? [points two thumbs at self] This guy.
I’m not a fan of pranks or hoaxes. I love joking around, and I like surprised, but I just don’t like pranks. Don’t like executing them, don’t like being a recipient of them. Obviously plenty of people enjoy them because there are entire TV shows and YouTube channels dedicated to it, but… I just don’t get it. Too much of what’s happening in the world today feels like it just has to be a joke, yet it’s all real. So, I really don’t need a day dedicated to fooling people.
Suggestion: Let’s rename it April Pleasant Surprise Day, and just surprise people with lovely and wonderful things.
I spend the whole day paranoid that someone is going to do something to me! Does anyone else feel that way? Luckily, I work from home now and I don’t have to physically encounter anyone except my husband and the animals – none of which are really ones for pulling pranks.
There’s still the possibility that one of my remote coworkers could try something, but I’m determined to remain optimistic. Thoughts and prayers to those of you who work/live/commute with people who thrive on this day.
While I remain diligent in my fortress of solitude, I’m going to finish off these baked carrot cake donuts I made over the weekend. I had originally planned to make my paleo carrot cake into cupcakes, but realized I didn’t have the right ingredients for it. Sooooo, I opted to tweak the recipe to make it non-paleo (sorry) and for some tasty, tasty, donuts.
Making baked carrot cake donuts
First of all, we’re using freshly grated carrots. I’ve talked about this before, and I’m serious about it. Those bagged shredded carrots at the store are dry and terrible. They’re going to make your donuts SUCK. End of story.
Spend the little bit of time to clean your carrots, peel them, and grate them. Just be careful with your hands because I love you and I don’t want you to get hurt. If you don’t have a grater, you just want to get one like this (affiliate link) and use the larger holes like you see in the picture below.
Secondly, they’re baked and not fried. I almost never fry donuts at home (these maple bacon donuts were an exception), so they’re, moist and chewy with a cakey texture.
Frankly, that’s how I like my donuts. I prefer a cakey donut over those melt-in-your-mouth Krispy Kreme kind – although, those are fricking delicious once in a while.
They just make me feel terrible after I’m done eating. Maybe it’s because I eat 12 of them in one sitting? Nah… that can’t be it.
They’re dipped in a cream cheese icing that’s just sweet and tangy enough to complement the donuts without being overwhelming. The worst thing for me is to bite into a donut and it’s so overwhelmed with a sweet frosting that I can’t taste the donut itself.
If you’re not down with the icing, you could definitely eat them without it. Maybe add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or cinnamon on top for a lil somethin’ somethin’.
I like to top mine with a mix of chopped walnuts and pecans. You could leave them off, or just do one nut or the other.
It adds a little crunch, which I love, but it also adds a little pizzazz to the donuts’ appearance. The donuts want to look fancy, okay?
Can’t you just see the confidence that donut is emanating? Can’t you feel how pulled-together it feels?
Because you know if you look good, you feel good. And these donuts feel good.
Some need more flair than others, and it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not someone accidentally dropped a utensil on top of them, giving them a big dent that icing only mostly covered.
Definitely doesn’t have anything to do with that. We’re just going to say that those donuts are a little extra.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
Carrot cake donuts:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup milk of choice
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup carrots, peeled and grated (around 3 carrots, depending on size)
Cream cheese icing:
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1-2 teaspoons milk of choice
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup walnuts and/or pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)
Carrot cake donuts:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together egg and brown sugar until combined and caramel in color. Add milk, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add bowl of dry ingredients to bowl of wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add grated carrots and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each ⅔ full. The easiest way to fill them is to use a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with a hole cut into the corner). Bake for 13-15 minutes (14 minutes is perfect for me), until set and golden. Let set in pan for a minute or two, and then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire racks.
Cream cheese icing:
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Use a hand mixer to beat on high speed until combined and smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, and beat again start on low speed then increasing to high speed to thoroughly combine.
- Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time, beating to combine after each addition, until you've reached a consistency that will be good for dipping (but not so thin that's it's liquidy).
- Dip the top of each donut in the icing, twisting as you remove it. Use a small spatula or knife to smooth out the tops.
- Top with chopped nuts, serve and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container for no more than 2, maybe 3 days.
- I have this Wilton donut pan (affiliate link), and I highly recommend getting two of them so you don't have to wait for the pan to cool, clean it, and respray before you can bake the next batch.
- If you don't want to add the cream cheese icing, you could definitely eat them without it. Maybe add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or cinnamon on top.
In need of more carrot cake flavor?
- Paleo Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Pancakes from Imagelicious
- Ginger Coconut Carrot Cake from Tara Teaspoon
- Keto Carrot Cake Ice Cream from Better Than Bread Keto
- Gluten Free Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Clean Eating Kitchen
- Mini Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen
- Gluten Free Carrot Muffins from Yummy Mummy Kitchen