Crumb Cake Donuts

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Crumb cake donuts, baked not fried, and HEAVY on the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Juuuuuust in case you need one more thing to bake this weekend, here are buttery cake donuts topped with brown sugar cinnamon crumbs. Bake them in your donut pan. If you don’t have a donut pan, here’s another reason to get one.

Our ovens aren’t catching a break anytime soon, are they.

Crumb cake donuts, baked not fried, and HEAVY on the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m sharing a sweet and kid-friendly recipe on my blog today for 2 reasons: (1) maybe you need something small and special to add to your Christmas morning brunch? and (2) maybe you need something fun to bake (that’s not cookies!!!!) during winter break. And, well, here’s a 3rd reason and say it with me:

CRUMB CAKE TOPPING!!!

This is my basic standard donut recipe. It’s a very thick batter that produces tight-crumbed and cakey donuts. Light and airy? These are not. The recipe uses all very basic ingredients that I know you stock in your kitchen. Flour, baking powder + soda, eggs, and milk. I like to add a little Greek yogurt to the donut batter for a moisture punch and I prefer sweetening them with brown sugar because, well, you know my stance on brown sugar. I like to use melted butter. Why? Melted butter, as opposed to creamed, lends a denser and more buttery tasting foundation. Even plain, these donuts are fantastic.

But plain isn’t in our vocabulary, especially this time of year. So let’s talk flavor. Add cinnamon to the batter as well as a pinch of nutmeg. Nutmeg leaves the donuts with a familiar bakery-donut flavor. After you mix this donut batter together, the aroma alone will remind you of a donut shop. It’s the nutmeg.

The crumbs are made with the same ingredients you’ll use in the donut batter, plus a little granulated sugar. You’ll use melted butter in the crumb topping too.

How to make crumb cake donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

3 bowls: dry ingredients, wet ingredients, crumb topping.

While our ovens aren’t getting a break right now, at least our mixers can take the morning off. You don’t need one for this recipe!

Don’t Overfill!

Avoid over-filling the donut pan. You’ll need less donut batter than you think for each donut. If you fill the donut pan too high, the donuts will overflow and all the crumb topping will spill off. Just fill about halfway – 2/3 full with batter.

Speaking of filling the donut pan. Transferring donut batter into the donut pan can be tricky, so I always suggest using a zipped-top bag to pipe the batter. Here’s a picture of that in this lemon donut recipe post. Just spoon the batter into a large zipped-top bag, trim off a bottom corner, and squeeze the batter into the pan. The donut batter is thicker than you’d expect, so it pipes pretty neatly.

The crumbs go on top of each donut before baking. The KEY is to really press the crumbs down into the donut batter. And add them with wild abandon, please. Squeeze as many crumbs as you can on top because while the donuts themselves are great, extra crumb topping is never a bad idea!!

How to make crumb cake donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Crumb cake donuts, baked not fried, and HEAVY on the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

After baked, the crumbs take on a wild array of textures. These little guys have lots of personality! Some crumbs are super soft and melty; other crumbs– the ones at the tippy top of the donut– are slightly crunchy and crisp. All this on top of a warm soft cinnamon-spiced donut. The varying textures in each bite is everything a sweet treat should be.

A flurry of confectioners’ sugar finishes each crumb cake donut off. You can totally leave it off because there’s sugar in the crumb topping, too. And because our bellies are already happy and full of Christmas cookies.

Crumb cake donuts, baked not fried, and HEAVY on the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

And if baked donuts, layers of crumb topping, and a snowfall of confectioners’ sugar doesn’t convince you– these are simple. Trust me. My productivity level is low at the moment and I still managed to bake these twice in 1 week. (They freeze well, FYI!)

Crumb Cake Donuts

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping

  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (140g) all-purpose flour

Donuts

  • 2 cup (250g) all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick; 60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) plain yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter using a fork, then add the flour. Mix and crumble with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, milk, yogurt, and vanilla together until completely combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag for ease. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway. Grab a handful of crumb topping and press down onto the batter of each donut. Pressing it snug into the batter helps prevent the crumb coating from falling off the donuts. (If you only have 1 donut pan, keep the remaining batter in the bowl at room temperature until you can bake the next batch.)
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. Allow to cool for about two minutes then transfer to a wire rack set on a large piece of parchment paper. Bake the remaining donut batter and once baked, transfer to the wire rack. Dust the tops of each with a light coating of confectioners' sugar, if desired.
  6. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Make ahead tip: You can freeze the donuts for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. I usually just zap 'em for a couple seconds.

Recipe Notes:

How about making muffins? You absolutely can! This recipe will yield about 1 dozen crumb cake muffins. Same oven temperature for about 20-22 minutes.

I tested this recipe for a larger crowd, just in case you need it for holiday entertaining. But if you don't need 15 donuts laying around, halve the recipe to yield around 7-8 donuts instead. That's the amount I usually bake.

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Crumb cake donuts, baked not fried, and HEAVY on the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

39 Comments

All Comments

  1. Wow, Sally, these look awesome! Like, even better than awesome. My waist line is so thankful I’m reading this past midnight, otherwise the oven would be a cranking! Will definitely put this on my list for the New Years brunch I’m hosting. But I’m guessing my boys will convince me to make a practice run, cause, well, they know it’s always risky to try a new recipe when company is coming, right? (So thoughtful, aren’t they???!!!) I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday and New Year!

  2. Aren’t these spectacular!! And here I thought I had enough goodies for brunch on Christmas and you post this recipe and I know I need these in my life. Thank you Sally for all you do and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!!

  3. These look like Entenmann’s Crumb Topped Donuts, but they will taste even better!! Thank you, Sally! Happy Christmas to all of “you’s!”

  4. Since I have yet to try out my donut pan, this is a must for this weekend w/ both my boys here for the holiday! Thanks Sally!! I hope you have a wonderful first Christmas with your precious little one! (And she has a sweet Christmas name too!). Don’t stress, believe me, not worth it! Just enjoy, and also, let others help when you need it. It’s ok not to be Super Woman!! (Though seriously, you are doing a great job of it!!) Merry Christmas!!

  5. Crumb cake is legitimately one of my favourite desserts (or breakfasts)! Would love to make this mini sized and leave them on the Christmas Eve dessert table 😉

  6. Yummy!

    Maple pecan sticky buns, cranberry orange bundt cake, pumpkin bread with cranberries, raisins, pecans and walnuts, cake batter chocolate chip cookies with Christmas sprinkles, and loaded oatmeal cookies with raisinettes, dark chocolate, white chocolate, sea salt caramel and butterscotch morsels, and now these crumb cake donuts have made my holiday baking list! These look divine! I think I’ll make these for our New Year’s Day breakfast.
    Hope you and your family are enjoying the holidays!
    Your recipes are all so delicious and always come out great. These special baked goods really add to the Christmas spirit! Thank you for all your delicious recipes, Sally!♥️

    Mellany

  7. Yum! Me and the hubs were supposed to decorate christmas cookies together tonight so I made these to eat while we decorate (you know, so we don’t eat all the cookies lol), he fell asleep on the couch though so I don’t think we will be doing any decorating! I woke him up when the donuts were done and he ate 3! Lol now he’s sleeping again. 
    I halved the recipe, but ended up with 12! I think because the only donut pan I have is the wilton heart shaped donut pan and I believe the cavities are smaller than the round one. Anyways, I’m happy to report back that, as expected, these are SO. DELICIOUS! definitely my new fav baked donut recipe! thanks Sally!
    and Merry Christmas to you, Kevin, Jude, Franklin and Noelle!! 

    1. Merry Christmas to you too! I have that heart donut pan and it’s just the CUTEST! I’ve noticed the little cavities are slightly smaller. I’m so glad you tried these!

  8. Hi Sally,

    Wishing you and your family and your wonderful little one the merriest Chridtmas! I’ll be making these tomorrow night for Christmas morning! Yum!

  9. Sally! This will likely win the most random comment aware, but I just have to compliment you on your writing style. You are THE perfect food blogger because your recipes are killer every single time, your pictures are outrageous, and your writing and descriptions are funny but to the point. I love it, and you! I met you back at BlogHer 2015 (you said I looked like Taylor Swift and I’ve loved you ever since LOL), and I still just adore you because I know there’s such a kind person writing these posts. I hope you have the most magical Christmas as a first-time mom and soak up all the moments. I have 4- and 1-year-old daughters, and I swear Christmas gets better every year. 🙂 

    1. Erica! How are you? What a kind comment to read this morning, thank you! Christmas was SO MUCH FUN this year with little Noelle and I can’t wait for the coming years when she understands (mostly) what’s going on. I appreciate all the compliments. Thank you for taking the time to write to me!!!

  10. Made this as a coffee cake this morning in an 8×8 pan. It took about 25 mins, but it was phenomenal!!! Impressed my in-laws and hubby licked the plate to get all of the crumbs. The only change I made was I used vanilla yogurt instead of plain. It was great! Thank you, Sally. You always save the day!!!

  11. Oh Sally you are causing me so much trouble. I was already going to be making three of your cookies recipe’s this weekend and now it looks like you just added to my list. I am drooling.

  12. We made these this weekend as well as three other of your recipes for the New Years party. No we did not share these with everyone but only two people got a nibble of them. We love love them. My husband gave up donuts more than years ago for dietary reasons. But these are not fried so he says it is okay. Snicker. You should have seen his eyes roll back when he bit into it. He is so happy. I will be making the brown sugar ones soon. Your chewy brown sugars cookies were the biggest hit I think. But my Sissy stole most of the leftovers especially those. Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. Wishing you success, happiness, and good health in the New Year!

  13. LOVE your recipes and live for the part where I can “shop the recipe” as I’m new to baking and love the recommendations  on what I need!!! 1 question. Why the 6 cavity donut pan and not the 20 cavity by the same company? Is there a difference? I’m definitely going to make these but unsure if I should get the 6 or 20. 

    1. So glad you like that feature, Ali! I don’t own a larger donut pan so I suggest the one I personally own. But feel free to use a larger donut pan for less batches.

  14. Hi!
    Can you use whole wheat pastry flour for these? And sub white sugar with coconut sugar? 
    And why can I use instead of yogurt!? 

    1. Hi Emily! Feel free to play around with this recipe using your substitutions. I haven’t tested it any other way. You can try sour cream instead of yogurt.

  15. Haha I should wait till I actually try the donuts. Even though it didn’t seem like a crumble it baked beautifully. Even my boyfriend was like I thought you said you did something wrong?? They are sooooo good! Thank you again for always making me bake like a rock star.

    1. Yes, definitely! Grease your pan or use mini liners, add the batter to the pan only about 3/4 of the way full then press in the crumbs. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 10 minutes.

Reviews

  1. Haha I should wait till I actually try the donuts. Even though it didn’t seem like a crumble it baked beautifully. Even my boyfriend was like I thought you said you did something wrong?? They are sooooo good! Thank you again for always making me bake like a rock star.

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