Don’t just save these carrot cake donuts for Easter, they’re perfect anytime you want an easy carrot cake treat. Already perfectly portioned, all you need is a mixing bowl and a donut pan and you’re set.
Want to try more baked donuts? How about these chocolate sprinkle donuts?
Why you’ll love it
Sweet, spiced, cream cheese covered carrot cake donuts. These are such a delicious treat and so simple to make. They’re perfect for parties, picnics or even afternoon tea.
As much as I love traditional fried yeasted donuts, I love the ease and convenience of the baked un-yeasted variety. They take a fraction of the time and are just as delicious. Being more of a cakey texture the only thing a traditional donut has on these is their chewy texture.
Being baked, not fried, these carrot cake donuts are arguably healthier than their fried counterparts. They do have a sweet cream cheese frosting which is delectable and admittedly this recipe makes for a good thick layer of it. Still we are talking dessert, right? Or maybe breakfast – I mean carrots and nuts are a great start to the day, right?!
Table of contents
Carrot cake donut ingredients
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Carrot: Can’t have carrot cake without carrot.
- Pistachios: Technically you could use the more traditional walnuts but I love pistachios so much, they’re always in my carrot cake.
- Flour: I just use regular plain flour / all-purpose flour is all you need.
- Sugar: I use brown sugar in the donuts and icing sugar in the frosting.
- Baking powder: A little baking powder gives these donuts their lift.
- Spices: I use a combination of spices in these – ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And of course a little salt for balance.
- Milk: Full cream milk will give the best flavour.
- Oil: Use a neutral-flavoured vegetable oil in these, like rice bran oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil.
- Egg: I use large eggs in all my bakes.
- Maple syrup: There’s just a touch of maple syrup but honey works too.
- Cream cheese: The classic carrot cake frosting is made with cream cheese and so is this one.
- Vanilla: Use a pure vanilla extract for the best flavour rather than vanilla essence which is synthetic.
Tools you’ll need
- A mixing bowl
- A donut pan – these are available in 6 or 12 hole tins and some have larger holes than others. The size will affect the number of donuts you get from one batch and the baking time.
- Or a mini muffin tin – if you don’t have a donut pan, you can make these into mini muffins too.
How to make them
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Dry ingredients: Start by whisking together flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk adds air to the mix and helps get rid of lumps.
- Wet ingredients: Now add milk, oil, egg and maple syrup and stir well to combine.
- The add-ins: Now add finely grated carrot and chopped pistachios and give it one more mix up.
- Portion and bake: Divide the mixture up between the holes of a well-greased donut pan and bake for around 11 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two attached.
- The frosting: Finally, add the frosting ingredients to a bowl and beat together to a smooth frosting. Spread it over the cooled donuts, sprinkle over some more pistachios and you’re done. Devour at will.
Tips and tricks
- Weigh the flour: You’ll always get best results in baking by weighing ingredients. If you don’t have kitchen scales go order one but, in the meantime, fluff up your flour, then spoon it into the cup measure before using a knife to scrape off the excess.
- Cream cheese should be soft: Make sure the cream cheese is softened and you’ll be able to mix the frosting up in a bowl with a spatula.
- Don’t buy pre-shredded carrots: Pre-shredded carrots are so dry and you’ll lose some of the amazing moisture that these donuts have. Shred yourself – it only takes a minute or so. Use the fine-shred size on a box grater.
- Use butter to grease the pan: Maybe a non-stick spray would work but I don’t know, since I can’t get them here but for sure oil spray does not work. Oil spray doesn’t coat evenly and instead forms small droplets of oil that in turn create a weird funnel texture to the underside of the donuts. Butter sticks where you put it so I always find it works best – you don’t need a lot, plus it’s only going to add a nice flavour.
- The donuts must cool completely before frosting, or the frosting will melt and slide right off.
Your carrot cake donuts need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Let them come to room temperature before serving for best flavour.
You can freeze leftover frosted donuts too. Again, make sure they’re in an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw in the fridge overnight.
If you try this carrot cake donuts recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!
More baked donuts you’ll love
- Biscoff donuts
- Orange donuts with pomegranate icing
- Cinnamon baked donuts
- Baked strawberry douhgnuts
- Red velvet doughnuts
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FOR THE CARROT CAKE DONUTS
- 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)
- ½ cup light brown sugar (100g / 3.5oz)
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon each of salt, ground nutmeg and ground cloves
- ¼ cup whole milk (60ml)
- ¼ cup flavourless vegetable oil (60ml)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey) (4 teaspoons, notes)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated (roughly ¾ cup, not packed)
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, finely chopped (32g / oz)
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 125 g cream cheese
- ½ cup icing (powdered) sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- Extra chopped pistachios for topping
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease a 6 hole donut pan (and 1 hole of a second one if have it) or if you have a 12 hole donut pan, grease 8 holes.
- FOR THE DONUTS: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cloves until well mixed.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, oil, egg and maple syrup. Mix with a spatula until just combined.
- Stir through the carrot and pistachios.
- Spoon or pipe the batter into the donut pan holes to about ¾ full. This recipe will make 8 donuts. See notes if you only have a 6 hole pan.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes A toothpick inserted should come out with just a crumb or two attached.
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently turn out onto a wire rack – turn them so the roundest side is pointing upward. Let them cool completely before frosting.
- FOR THE FROSTING: Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, salt and 1 teaspoon of milk to a medium bowl and beat until smooth. You can use an electric beater or just a spatula. Add more milk if it's too thick.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled donuts then sprinkle the tops with chopped pistachios.
- Don't forget to leave a review below. It helps to keep me creating more recipes.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons).
- Butter for greasing: I prefer to lightly grease the pan with butter. Spray oil tends to form droplets that then create weird funnels in the base of your donuts. If you use spray oil, rub it around immediately before you add the batter to the hole.
- This batter will make 8 donuts, if you only have one 6 hole pan, you can bake one batch, then once you’ve removed the donuts, wash and re-grease one holes, then pipe and bake the last two.
- Donut pan hole sizes vary – larger ones will make larger but fewer donuts and will take longer to cook. Mine are a width of 7.5cm / 3 inches.
- You can make the donuts in a muffin pan but you won’t have a donut shape.
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