Best-Ever Baked Doughnuts

Life’s little successes.

Life is all about celebrating them — the little yet huge milestones in life that most often pass unnoticed without a single “woot!”

We often think that successes are all massive ones, like when we:

  • Find “The One”
  • Get That Promotion
  • Buy That Dream House

But it’s the little successes that add up to a whole tanker-full and that often matter the most.

Let me elaborate.

I used to spend most of my life waiting for things to “happen” before I allowed myself to be happy.

I used to think that once I finally got ______, then everything would be perfect.

It was an endless series of “waiting to arrives” — on a train, just enduring the ride — “can’t-waiting” to arrive at my destination(s).

Photo from Oli.Org

While I was busy doing that, I graduated from a Master’s-level conservatory program in acting, was cast and acted in dozens of theater productions, recorded and released a full-length album with LOLA’S CRUSH,  placed Top Ten in the nation in Sports and Entertainment Marketing in Collegiate DECA, and directed a full-length play that played to great reviews.  And that’s just for starters.

Did I notice?


Did I celebrate these obvious, huge successes?

No, not really.

Did they even fully register on my Joy-O-Meter?

Image from AllThingsD.Com

Nope, I’m afraid not.


Because I had spent most of my life failing to celebrate — really celebrate — the little ones.

Little successes like:

Not blowing up my small kitchen on a regular basis.

Always doing my best, even if the best I could do that day was just getting out of bed in the morning.

Not killing my tiny potted garden but actually making it grow.

Noticing the beauty around me and applauding the little successes of others…

or just choosing to be kind to myself, instead of the self-defeating alternatives.  Things like that.

Image from TheDayBrightener.Wordpress.Com

Why do these little things matter?

Because when we make it a habit to never see or celebrate them, the big successes are never enough.  We fail to enjoy life.  We fail to celebrate ourselves and the wonder of “You”.

Because that’s what your successes are — a part of you.

So, throw yourselves a party and a heartfelt “woot!”  And get it all started by baking those guys and yourself these doughnuts.

Warm and chewy and wholly delicious — I won’t lie — they take a bit of effort.  But little successes in life are about celebrating them big, and it all starts with you.

Best-Ever Baked Doughnuts

Inspired from Mel’s Kitchen Café

Makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen doughnuts + doughnut holes

For Doughnuts
1 1/3 cups milk, warmed to 95 to 105 degrees F
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one package)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
two pinches ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

For Serving
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar

Place warm milk in a large bowl and, with a wire whisk, whisk in the yeast and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside for approximately 5 minutes to let it proof.

In the meantime, in a separate small bowl, mush and mix together the eggs and butter.  Pour egg mixture into milk mixture and mix well.

In another large bowl, mix all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, nutmeg, and salt together until well combined.

With large wooden spoon or spatula, begin pouring flour mixture a little at a time into the wet ingredients mixture, folding as you go and combining well each time, before adding in more of the flour mixture.

Keep adding a few tablespoons at a time, repeating step above until dough starts to pull away from side of bowl and is soft and smooth, but still slightly sticky to the touch.  Begin using your hands once dough starts to come together, and knead in bowl until dough is the right consistency.

Important:  Make sure not to over-flour dough.  You may not even use the entire flour mixture; just go by texture and feel.  In other words, if dough is soft, smooth, and slightly sticky, it doesn’t need any more flour – i.e. toss the remaining flour, and you’re good!

Next, transfer dough to a large greased pot with lid, cover, and put in a warm, draft-free place and let rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Remove dough from pot onto lightly floured counter.  Punch down dough and with lightly floured rolling-pin; roll out to approximately 1/2-inch thickness.

Using a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter, dusted with flour, stamp out circles in the dough — i.e. your doughnuts.  Then, with a smaller cookie cutter, also dusted with flour, stamp out the inner circles – i.e. your doughnut holes.

Important:  Make sure that the inner circles are large enough so that when the doughnuts rise again and bake, they won’t fill in those inner holes as they do.

Carefully lift the big circles and remove the inner circles, by “popping” them out with your fingers.

Transfer the doughnuts and holes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between them.  Cover the tray lightly with plastic wrap.

Let doughnuts rise a second time, for approximately another 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, remove plastic wrap, and bake doughnuts in middle rack until bottoms just barely begin to golden, 8 to 9 minutes.

Important:  Start checking the doughnuts at around 8 minutes.  It’s really important not to overcook them.  They should still be pale on top — just slightly golden — and just barely baked through.

While doughnuts are baking, prepare the spiced sugar and topping fixings.  Combine turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in small bowl.  This will be your spiced sugar.  Mix well and set aside.

When doughnuts are done, remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack for 2-3 minutes.

Dip the top of each doughnut and doughnut hole in the melted butter and sprinkle with either the spiced sugar or plain powdered confectioners’ sugar – whichever one you prefer.  Or just enjoy plain.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Doughnuts last 4-5 days stored covered in a Tupperware container.  Leftover doughnuts are delicious heated up in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Those still plain and without any sugar on them, are wonderful as sweet toast — just split in half and toast.  Top with jam, butter, Nutella, or your favorite topping.  Just don’t forget to share.


25 thoughts on “Best-Ever Baked Doughnuts

  1. I think I’m going to make these this weekend! Or if not, maybe next weekend. The only reason I might wait is that we’re going to a street fair in this little town nearby on Saturday, where we’re going to sit around and eat kettle corn and funnel cakes all day (I know because we did this last year.) These donuts look awesome. I love the photo–it really shows you how awesome they look inside. Yum!

    • Well, hello, Man Fuel, thanks for stopping by!

      You know, don’t feel bad, I never heard about them before either, but what a great day it was when I finally did!

      So, my pleasure; you’re most welcome! Let me know how you like ’em!


    • Hey, Ms. Perky Poppy Seed,

      Thanks for stopping by! I know, kind of hard to resist, right? … I think you’ll really enjoy them.

      They are at their absolute best right out of the oven, but quite lovely toasted a few days later too.

      Stop back on by and let me know how you liked ’em.


  2. So very true… looks most of us do same ‘mistakes’ about waiting for the ‘big moments’ Some years ago I realized I am going so much for big things that I no longer see little – important one. I had to stop myself for a little while…
    Not to forget, doughnuts looks yummy!

    • Hi Irena,

      So nice to have you stop by!

      You know, I think we all do this to some extent … good for you for recognizing it and choosing to do things differently =) That’s how we learn and grow, so you go, girl!

      Thank you so much for the doughnut love as well!


      • Was my pleasure 😉 Thanks for your kind words. Keep working and writing same way! It is nice to read like posts at least from time to time… All the best to you!

  3. Could you make these the night before, let them proof slowly overnight in the fridge (for the second time) and bake them first thing in the morning?

    • Hi Tori,

      You know, re: whether you can make these the night before and proof overnight in the fridge, I don’t know! Feel free to try it and let me know how they turn out =)

      I can definitely tell you though and do highly, highly recommend making and serving these doughnuts immediately — i.e. much like pancakes and quick breads of that nature, these taste best served immediately and straight out of the oven.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


  4. Im thinking about making these heart shaped (no hole) and decorating them like conversation hearts for valentines day. Any idea how i would adjust baking time?

    • What a great idea for Valentine’s Day, Kristi!

      Re: that baking time, however, hmm, I am not quite sure. My recommendation is to go by how they look and “feel”. My general rule of thumb when experimenting with recipes is to minus 5-10 off the recommended cooking/baking time and checking them then. If they look golden and feel ready (i.e. they don’t easily “give” to the touch) then they should be ready.

      Or, my other possible suggestion for you is to lower the oven temp by 25 degrees (i.e. to 350 degrees F) and baking them a few minutes longer (which is probably the best way to go for what you are trying to do, shape-wise). That way they don’t brown too quickly before baking all the way through. If I were a betting woman, Kristi, I would go with my second suggestion =)

      Hope that helps and please let me know how it goes!



  5. So, let me start by saying that I’m 8mos pregnant and my sweets craving is very serious these days 🙂 I’ve been attempting baked doughnuts for weeks, and every single recipe failed miserably. I was so discouraged. I found this recipe and decided to give it one last shot, since I NEEDED a doughnut today. Well this recipe hit the spot! It was easy, your directions were clear, and though mine definitely aren’t as pretty as yours, they are delicious, and I love knowing exactly what’s in them and that they’re baked! I’m a beginner with yeast so I’m beyond proud of these doughnuts. Thank you for sharing. Do you think I could swap the milk for buttermilk or a non dairy milk such as almond? Would they work just as well?

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I am so pleased to hear that my recipe did the trick! I know what it’s like to go through recipes and things not turning out successfully. It IS discouraging! So, I make it a point — when writing recipes — to be as specific as possible, and I think that makes all the difference! And, yes, you should be very proud of those doughnuts, lovely, ’cause working with yeast can be tricky!

      To answer your question, my first answer is, “I don’t know,” as I’ve never personally tried making these doughnuts with buttermilk or a non-dairy milk. That said, I don’t see why not, but it may very well change the consistency of the dough and ultimate flavor — especially using the buttermilk. But, I have heard about buttermilk starter, which may be something you could begin playing around with (being “new: to this yeast thing), that I think may be fun for you. Here is a link:

      Let me know how it goes, and again, congratulations, Stephanie, my dear! You are now officially a baker =)



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