Old-Time Cake Doughnuts

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + chilling Cook: 5 min./batch


about 2 dozen

Updated: Aug. 30, 2023
This tender cake doughnut is a little piece of heaven at breakfast. For a variation, add 1 tablespoon dark rum for a richer flavor. —Alissa Stehr, Gau-Odernheim, Germany
Old-Time Cake Doughnuts Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • Oil for deep-fat frying


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
  3. Turn onto a heavily floured surface; pat dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. doughnut cutter. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°.
  4. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon; roll warm doughnuts in mixture.

Can you freeze cake doughnuts?

After frying, wrap doughnuts in foil and transfer to a resealable freezer container. May be frozen for up to 3 months. To use, remove foil. Thaw doughnuts at room temperature. Warm if desired. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; roll warm doughnuts in mixture.

Cake Doughnuts Tips

What kind of oil should you use to fry cake doughnuts?

The best oils for frying doughnuts have a high smoke point and neutral flavor to avoid imparting any unwanted tastes into the dough. Safflower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil are good options, because they can withstand the high temperatures required for frying without breaking down or smoking excessively. Peanut oil is a good option too, although it does impart a slight flavor into the doughnuts.

Can you bake cake doughnuts?

You can bake cake doughnuts instead of frying them, although they will have a different texture than a fried doughnut. Baked doughnuts will have more of a scone-like texture. If you don't want to fry doughnuts, it’s better to follow a specific recipe built for the oven instead of adapting a fried doughnut recipe. Both cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts cook better when they’re flash cooked in hot oil.

What toppings can you put on cake doughnuts?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to topping choices for cake doughnuts. Try mixing together a glaze with confectioners’ sugar (like this maple glaze) or go traditional with a rich chocolate glaze. Have some fun with colorful nonpareils or other types of edible cake decorations like sprinkles, or create visual appeal with drizzles of melted chocolate, caramel or flavored icing.

Lindsay Mattison, Taste of Home Contributing Writer

Nutrition Facts

1 doughnut: 198 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 112mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

Recommended Video

More from Taste of Home