Baked Carrot Cake Donuts Recipe

When you're craving carrot cake but don't actually want to whip up a whole extravagant dessert, these baked donuts are the perfect solution. Of course, these aren't just any donuts — these are carrot cake donuts, so you can count on all of that warming goodness, topped off with a nice layer of cream cheese frosting. If that description isn't tempting enough, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how quick it is to whip up these delightful pastries, something of which recipe developer Jessica Morone is a big fan. "I love that these are ready in less than 30 minutes, and they are so easy to make," she describes. "The spices in the donuts go so well with the tangy cream cheese frosting." 

While donuts typically get a deep-fried treatment, these carrot cake donuts opt for a lighter, oven-baked approach. Not only does this mean that your donuts will be ready to go in record time, but you also won't have to worry about fussing with hot oil. "I tried making fried carrot cake donuts recently and they were so much work! Baking these is so much easier — there's really not much that can go wrong," Morone assures us.

Gather the ingredients for baked carrot cake donuts

For the donuts themselves, you'll need flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar, vanilla extract, melted butter, an egg, shredded carrots, and a somewhat unexpected inclusion: orange juice. "The special ingredient in these is the orange juice," Morone explains. "It seems like a lot of juice to add, but the orange flavor is actually very subtle, and it really brings out the flavor of the carrots. These don't taste like you are eating orange donuts at all."

Of course, no carrot cake (donut) would be complete without cream cheese frosting, so for the glaze, you'll need room-temperature cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, melted butter, and milk. And if you're the type of person who prefers carrot cake with nuts, then be sure to have some chopped walnuts on hand to top off your donuts.

Make the donut batter

Get your oven preheating to 350 F and spray a couple of 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick spray. "Make sure you grease the pans enough so the donuts come out easily after they are baked," Morone advises.

Then, turn your attention to making the donut batter. Start by whisking together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. In a separate large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, orange juice, melted butter, and egg. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ones and mix to combine, then add in the shredded carrots, mixing once more until just combined.

Pipe the donut batter into the prepared pans, and bake

While you could simply spoon the batter into your prepared donut pans, it's easier to pipe it in instead. "Piping the batter is a mess-free way to get the batter into the pans," Morone explains, adding, "If you don't have a piping bag, just use a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off." Fill each cavity about ¾ of the way — you should have enough batter to make 12 donuts.

Once you've filled up your donut pans, go ahead and pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes. You'll know the donuts are done baking when they bounce back when you press into them. Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish the cooling process.

Mix up the cream cheese glaze and dip the donuts

While the donuts cool down, make the cream cheese icing. Start by microwaving the cream cheese for about 20 seconds, or until it's warm and soft but not melting. Then add in the confectioners' sugar, melted butter, and milk, whisking to form a smooth glaze. If the glaze is a bit too thick, add ½ teaspoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. "If you add too much milk and it gets too thin, the glaze won't set hard, but it will still taste delicious," Morone advises.

Once the donuts have fully cooled, you're free to ice them. Simply dunk one side of each donut into the bowl of glaze, then place it dry side-down onto the wire rack. If you want to top your donuts off with walnuts, be sure to sprinkle those on while the glaze is still wet and sticky.

Enjoy your warm, spiced carrot cake donuts

Once the glaze on the donuts has set (or even before it's set, if you can't resist), it's finally time to enjoy your baked carrot cake creation. "With their warm spices like cinnamon and allspice, these are a great autumn breakfast or dessert," Morone says, adding, "I like to eat these with a cup of coffee or tea on the side."

Baked Carrot Cake Donuts Recipe
5 from 54 ratings
When you're craving the flavors of carrot cake and the portability of a donut (minus the fuss of frying), these baked, warmly spiced treats are the solution.
Prep Time
Cook Time
carrot cake donuts on rack
Total time: 25 minutes
  • For the donuts
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • For the glaze
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon milk, or as needed
Optional Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick spray, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, orange juice, ¼ cup melted butter, and egg until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients, and whisk to mix.
  5. Add the shredded carrots to the batter and mix until just combined.
  6. Spoon or pipe the donut batter into the prepared donut pans, filling each donut cavity about ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the donuts bounce back when you touch them.
  8. Cool donuts in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Add the cream cheese to a medium bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds until warm and soft.
  10. Add the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thick or dry, add another ½ teaspoon milk at a time until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.
  11. Dip the cooled donuts into the glaze on one side, then top with chopped walnuts if desired.
  12. Let the glaze set before serving.
Calories per Serving 193
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 4.7 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 33.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 28.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 14.8 g
Sodium 134.5 mg
Protein 2.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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