This is for all the orange lovers – you’ll definitley love how simple these orange donuts are to make. With both orange zest and juice in the mix, these sweet treats have an unmistakeable orange flavour and that sweet pomegranate icing is totally delectable.

Love a simple cake donut recipe? Try these strawberry donuts or cinnamon donuts with caramel icing.

6 donuts with pink frosting, surrounded by orange slices and pomegranate seeds.

Why you’ll love these orange donuts

  • So quick and easy to make
  • No electric mixer needed
  • Bursting with vibrant flavour
  • Baked, not fried
  • A 2 ingredient colourful pomegranate icing

The two parts

  • The donuts: These orange donuts are an adaptation of my strawberry donuts (which in turn were an adaptation of my cinnamon baked donuts). They are a cake style donut (as opposed to a yeasted donut and the batter is extremely easy to make, requiring just a couple of bowls and a balloon whisk.
  • The icing: This pomegranate icing is the stuff of dreams. Reducing the juice from a pomegranate on the stove first means adding more flavour to the icing without adding more liquid. The pomegranate gives it a gorgeous colour too.

Ingredients

Just like baking a cake, cake donuts like these have regular ingredients like sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, egg, milk and butter.

Ingredients for orange donuts on a marble benchtop.

In addition, these orange donuts have;

  • Orange: 1 small to medium orange is enough. You’ll need 3 teaspoons of zest and ¼ cup of juice.
  • Pomegranate: If you can’t get these fresh, some grocery stores carry the seeds in the freezer section. Blood orange juice would also make a wonderful icing.
  • Icing sugar (powdered sugar): This is used for the 2 ingredient icing.
  • Cardamom: There is the slightest bit of spice to these donuts. Cardamom goes so well with both orange and pomegranate but feel free to leave it out if you don’t have it or like it.

How to make them

A collage of 4 images showing how to mix together the orange donut batter.
  1. The donut batter: Combine the wet ingredients first (photo 1), then sift in the dry ingredients (photo 2) and add the sugar (photo 3). Mix it all together and pipe into a donut tin (photo 4). Bake for 9 minutes.
2 images showing how to open a pomegranate.
  1. How to open a pomegranate: Opening a pomegranate without damaging all the seeds is very simple.Remove the seeds of the pomegranate by cutting the flower top out (photo 5), then use your thumbs to pry it open (photo 6).
A collage of 4 images showing how to make pomegranate icing.
  1. The pomegranate icing: Place the seeds in a strainer and crush them to release the juice (photo 7). Reduce the juice in a small saucepan on the stove, then pour it into the icing sugar (photo 8). Dunk the donuts in the icing (photo 10).

Photo 9 shows 2 different versions of the icing. The one on the left uses the reduced pomegranate syrup. It’s not so easy to see in this photo but it is a more vibrant pink colour and the flavour is much better than the right image which uses juice without reducing it first. You can see the two colours more obviously in the image below.

A stack of 4 donuts covered with pink icing. Pomegranate seeds are strewn around.

While it always seems to play second fiddle to lemon, orange desserts are just as bright and refreshing in flavour. The flavour in these is bold and rich and if you’re an orange lover, you’ll definitely love these orange donuts.

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Donuts on a sheet of baking paper with pink icing. One has been broken open showing the inside.

If you try these baked orange donuts and pomegranate icing, make sure to come back and leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you.

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A stack of donuts with pink frosting surrounded by orange slices and pomegranate seeds.

Orange Donuts with Pomegrante Icing

5 from 1 vote
These homemade orange donuts are so easy to make, baked not fried and full of vibrant orange flavour. With their bright pomegranate icing, these baked donuts are as fun, sweet, tangy and will bring a burst of sunshine to your day.

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGHNUTS

  • ¼ cup whole milk, room temp (60ml)
  • ¼ cup orange juice (60ml)
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (30g / 1oz) (notes 1)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 teaspoons orange zest
  • 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼⅓ cup white granulated sugar (65g / 2.3oz)

FOR THE POMEGRANATE ICING

  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Instructions
 

FOR THE ORANGE DONUTS

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Spray a doughnut pan with oil spray. Have a piping bag at the ready (see notes).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, orange juice, egg, melted butter, vanilla and zest until completely combined
  • Place a sieve over the top and sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Add the sugar, then gently whisk until it all comes together into a smoother batter.
  • Rub the oil around in the doughnut tin so each hole is nicely coated. Spoon the batter into your piping bag and pipe into the tin holes, to about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 9-10 minutes – a toothpick should come out clean. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can use the empty doughnut pan to pipe and bake the last one.

FOR THE POMEGRANATE ICING

  • Cut a circle around the top flower end of the pomegranate and pull it out. Insert your thumbs into the hole and gently lever apart.
  • In a strainer over a bowl, flick out the seeds (it’s ok if some of the skin gets in. You can use a spoon but I find a hand easier to press the seeds (you’ll only need about half of them) to release the juice through the strainer. Keep your other hand or a tea towel over the top so the juice doesn’t spray around.
  • Optional but recommended: Heat the juice in a small saucepan over low-medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer and reduce by half (see note 3).
  • In a small bowl, combine the icing sugar and 5 teaspoons of the pomegranate syrup. Stir to combine. You don’t want it too thin or too thick. When you mix it should settle back into itself in about 5 seconds (note 4). Add more juice to thin it or more sugar to thicken it.
  • Place your donuts, on a rack over a sheet of baking paper (to catch any drips). Dip the tops of the donut into the icing, let a little drip off then turn them icing side up on the rack. Allow to set before serving (about 1 hour).

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. You can use the pomegranate juice without reducing it but the flavour and colour won’t be so strong.
  4. When making the icing, you want it to be thick enough that it holds a trail for a few seconds so that it doesn’t all run straight off your doughnuts or soak in. If it seems too thin, add more icing sugar.
  5. If not adding the icing, use 1/3 cup of sugar in the donut batter.
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