Eating donuts has never been part of my regular routine but for whatever reasons lately, I can’t stop thinking about them.  My favourite has always been a simple, glazed donut. No filling, no sprinkles, just good ol’ fashioned cakey dough deep fried to perfection and dunked in an icing sugar glaze.

Stack of Donuts

There is no shortage of bakeries around town that can cater to your need for fresh made donuts. We, in Windsor and Essex County, love our donuts.  Love them in all flavours, shapes and sizes.

Over the years, donuts have taken on a life of their own, popping up on the front cover of food magazines, having entire books written about them and causing chefs, restaurants and foodies to create an endless array of flavour combinations.

Then of course there’s the trendy cronut that sparked a donut craze in 2013. Glazed, deep fried croissant dough.  Which, by the way, if you haven’t tried, I suggest running over to Blak’s Bakery immediately for their version of the infamous treat.

I may be a little late to the donut craze, but as they say: better late than never!

Donut and a glass of milk.

This recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Donuts is a cake donut (which are denser than their lighter, yeast based counterparts) and is baked, not fried, so you can convince yourself that they are a healthier alternative.

Baked or fried, Sean isn’t complaining. There are certain perks when you live with someone who owns a culinary guide and is constantly testing new recipes in her kitchen. He is more than happy to eat his way through any failed experiment.

Since fall is on the horizon, I decided to go with a pumpkin based recipe. I made both regular sized donuts and a mini version using donut pans. Not really a fan of the mini. They looked less like a donut and more like a mini bundt cake but that could be attributed to overfilling the tray.

Do they taste the same as fried? I think they taste better. They are moist, dense, delicious and coated in cinnamon sugar.

And they are best eaten right away. If left overnight, the sugar tends to get absorbed into the doughnut. This, of course, doesn’t make them any less delicious. You can simply re-coat them with the cinnamon sugar mix, but this tends to make them overly sweet.

The first batch didn’t even make it past a day. My real measure of success?  My picky eater 8 year old nephew, Evan, ate 3. He asked me to make more and I, of course, was more than willing to oblige, prompting a second batch which disappeared within hours.

Pumpkin Spiced Donut and a Glass of Milk

Pumpkin Spiced Baked Donuts

1 ¾ cup flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

1 ¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 ½ cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350. Use butter or spray to grease the doughnut pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. If you happen to have pumpkin spice on hand, you can use that in place of individually adding the nutmeg and ginger.

Mixing dry ingredients

In a large bowl, add sugar and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps.  Add oil, eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Using a mixer, blend ingredients until well incorporated and smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Combining wet and dry ingredients.

Spoon or pipe the batter into the doughnut pan wells. Fill to only about ¾ of the way. The dough rises while it bakes. Once you’ve filled a tray, give it a couple good hard taps on the counter to even out the batter.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. You don’t want to over bake as the doughnut will dry out easily.

Let the doughnuts cool slightly on a wired baking rack.  Combine sugar and cinnamon into a re-sealable freezer bag. Drop in 1 doughnut at a time and shake until the doughnut is coated. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

Ready to eat pumpkin spiced donuts!

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.