Some days I crave a rich, chocolatey dessert that is both comforting and quick, and these chocolate donuts with sprinkles are the perfect remedy. Chocolate cake donuts are iced with a delicious chocolate glaze and topped with your favorite sprinkles for the perfect combination of indulgence and nostalgia.
For an Oreo version of these cake donuts, check out my Cookies and Cream Donuts with Chocolate Ganache! You'll also love my Red Velvet Cake Donuts!
Why We Love This Recipe
- It's a rich donut topped with an easy chocolate glaze with a pop of fun and whimsy from the sprinkles.
- My favorite part is that these homemade donuts are baked instead of fried, so you won't have to worry about letting the batter rest or the messy pot full of oil for frying.
- You won't need to make the trip to your local donut shop on Saturday mornings because you can whip up this chocolate donut recipe at home in no time!
- This recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, dessert or a snack any time of day!
- It's a fun, beautiful treat using sprinkles, like my Sprinkle Sugar Cookies!
Looking for more delicious donut recipes?
- All purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil (or other neutral)
- Buttermilk or plain whole milk kefir
- Hot water
- Heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate chips: Use high quality chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate bar - it should be at least 60% cocoa.
- Sprinkles: I use my favorite rainbow decorating sprinkles!
See recipe card below for quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Next time, try substituting chopped nuts or crushed sandwich cookies for the sprinkles on top of these frosted donuts.
- Mix up the chocolate icing by using white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, or semi-sweet chocolate chips in place of your chocolate chips.
- Make a Mexican hot chocolate version by adding a little bit of cinnamon and cayenne pepper to both the batter with the dry ingredients and to the chocolate ganache!
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you do replace any ingredients, please let us know how they turned out in the comments below!
These donuts are so simple, you won't need much special equipment!
- This recipe requires a donut pan. I recommend using a non-stick or silicone donut pan to make sure they come out of the pan nice and clean.
- A reusable piping bag or disposable piping bag makes filling the pan a cleaner process, but you can also simply use a spoon to fill the donut molds!
Step by Step Instructions
Step One (Picture 1 above) - In a medium bowl, add the sugar & oil and whisk. Next mix the egg into the oil and sugar mixture, followed by the buttermilk or plain kefir, until fully combined.
Step Two (Picture 2 above) - In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Step Three (Picture 3 above) - Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then add hot water and mix until just combined - the batter will be slightly runny.
Step Four (Picture 4 above) - Fill a piping bag with the donut batter, cut off the tip, and pipe into a greased donut pan about ⅔ of the way full (this recipe makes 8-9 donuts).
Bake donuts at 350°F/177°C until they have a cakey texture and spring back when lightly pressed (about 13-17 min). Let them cool in the pan until they're just warm to the touch, then transfer them to a wire rack.
Step Five (Picture 5 above) - While the donuts cool completely, make the chocolate ganache. Heat cream in a small saucepan on medium heat or in the microwave (stirring every 20 seconds) until it just begins to simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl, and then place a plate over top to trap the heat for 5 minutes. Remove the plate and stir in a circular motion with a rubber spatula until it’s a smooth, homogenous ganache.
Step Six (Picture 6 above) - One at a time, dip the top of the donut into the ganache.
Step Seven (Picture 7 above) - Cover the top of each donut with sprinkles and let them dry on a cooling rack.
Expert Baking Tips
Tip #1 - Don't have a piping bag? No problem! You can use a large resealable plastic bag. Simply pour the batter into the bag, twist the top to seal it, and cut a small opening at the tip. You can also carefully pour or spoon the batter directly into the pan.
Tip #2 - For best results, don't over mix your batter! Over mixing can lead to a tough donut. To make sure the donuts are nice and fluffy, mix the batter just until you don't see anymore flour streaks.
Tip #3 - Using a flexible silicone pan? Place it on top of a metal baking sheet while they’re in the oven so that it doesn’t flop around at all.
You can make your own version at home by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to your milk a few minutes before you are ready to make your batter.
A cake donut uses a chemical leavener such as baking soda or baking powder, similar to the batter used to make cake, where a traditional yeasted donut uses yeast to help the dough rise. Cake donuts have a fluffier texture and are quicker to make because they don’t require time to rise or frying in oil.
Yes, feel free to use your favorite icing in place of the chocolate ganache!
Low quality chocolate does not combine and set well with heavy whipping cream, so the ganache may not turn out smooth and consistent.
Room Temperature: These chocolate donuts with sprinkles can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Unglazed donuts can be stored here for 3-5 days.
Refrigerator: Store chocolate sprinkle donuts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezing Instructions: Once the chocolate donuts are completely cooled but before glazing, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw the donuts at room temperature or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Make the ganache, dip them in it and top them with sprinkles.
Did you try this recipe? I'd love to see it!
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Chocolate Donuts with Sprinkles
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Piping bag optional
- Donut pan
- Wire cooling rack
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ⅓ cup buttermilk or plain whole milk kefir room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour weighed in grams or spooned and leveled
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup hot water
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar high quality (>60% cocoa)
- ¼ cup sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C and grease a donut pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Stir in the egg and then the buttermilk/kefir.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a few streaks of flour are left. Then gradually mix in the hot water just until combined. The batter will be slightly runny.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag, cut off the tip, and fill each donut mold about ⅔ full. It should make 8-9 donuts depending on the pan's depth.
- Bake donuts on the middle rack of the oven until the tops are puffed up and spring back lightly when you gently press on them (about 13-17 minutes).Note: If you're using a flexible silicone donut pan, I recommend placing it on top of a metal baking sheet while in the oven.
- Let the donuts cool in the pan until they're just warm to the touch, then transfer them to a wire rack. While they're cooling, make the chocolate ganache.
- Place the chocolate chips in the bottom of a small/medium bowl.
- Heat the heavy whipping cream in the microwave or over the stove (stirring every 20 seconds) just until it starts to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips so they're covered completely, then place a plate over top to trap the steam for 5 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate/cream in a circular motion starting in the center. Continue to stir until it's a smooth chocolate ganache.
Assemble the Donuts
- Dunk the donuts in the ganache and top with sprinkles, one at a time. Let them dry a wire rack.
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