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Baked Carrot Cake Donuts

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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 carrot cake for dessert.

Carrot cake donuts topped with cream cheese icing and chopped nuts on a gold wire rack

Stefanie said: “Eat with our eyes? Straight up! I ordered more donut pans because of your recipe. I love how the end results look and had to try them. A total winner. My picky youngest gobbles one up each day.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

Side shot of carrot cake donuts topped with cream cheese icing and chopped nuts on a gold wire rack

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.

Carrot cake donuts on a gold wire rack

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.

A photo of freshly grated carrots next to carrot cake donut batter in a donut pan

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.

Four photo collage of dipping donuts in cream cheese frosting and topping with nuts

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'.

Overhead shot of carrot cake donuts topped with cream cheese icing and chopped nuts on a gold wire rack

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?

Carrot cake donuts topped with cream cheese icing and chopped nuts on a gold wire rack

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.

Overhead shot of carrot cake donuts topped with cream cheese icing and chopped nuts on a gold wire rack

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.

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Baked Carrot Cake Donuts

5 from 7 votes
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 donuts

Ingredients
 

Carrot cake donuts:

Cream cheese icing:

Instructions

Carrot cake donuts:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 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.
    1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) salt
    1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) ground cloves
  • 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.
    1 egg
    1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
    1/2 cup (122 g) milk of choice
    2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Add bowl of dry ingredients to bowl of wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add grated carrots and stir until thoroughly combined.
    1/2 cup (64 g) carrot
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each 2/3 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.
    2 ounces (56 ⅔ g) cream cheese (block, not spread)
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Add powdered sugar, and beat again start on low speed then increasing to high speed to thoroughly combine.
    1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 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). Add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness, if needed.
    1-2 teaspoons (1 teaspoons) milk of choice
    Pinch salt
  • 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!
    1/3 cup (33 g) walnuts and/or pecans

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 288mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 1576IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

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13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Eat with our eyes? Straight up! I ordered more donut pans because of your recipe. I love how the end results look and had to try them. A total winner. My picky youngest gobbles one up each day.

  2. I’m eating one of the warm donuts straight from the pan (so this review is just the donut sans frosting). These are sooo yummy. I was looking for a recipe that did not call for a ton of oil and this one fit the bill. I used almond milk and added 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and 1/4 cup chopped pecans to the batter to fit the texture I remember of carrot cake growing up. The donuts baked tender and well spiced. I may go only about 1/8 tsp on the clove and nutmeg next time – but that’s just a personal preference of mine. The recipe was the perfect portion for my donut pan that makes 12 donuts. Thank you for a “keeper” recipe, Leslie!