Please ration your portions, because the willpower it takes to not go overboard with these chocolate cake donuts won’t come easy.
These old fashioned chocolate cake donuts are light and perfectly cakey with an explosion of chocolate flavor. The glaze gives them just a little extra sweetness. Perfection.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake Donuts are my favorite donuts of all time.
Of. All. Time.
I have an obsession with recreating my favorite chocolate desserts and making them the BEST: chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate, death by chocolate cupcakes, quadruple chocolate pudding cookies, and on and on.
So you know that once I got over my fear of frying with the sour cream cake donuts, I HAD to create the perfect old fashioned chocolate cake donut. Had to. These are better than Krispy Kreme’s chocolate cake donuts, and they are better than Dunkin Donuts.
They are light, yet cakey; chocolatey, yet perfectly sweet; they melt in your mouth like your favorite yeast donut, yet have substance like your favorite cake donut.
I know…That’s a lot to process. I’ll give you a minute.
The secret to the intense chocolate flavor, without the weight of adding liquid chocolate, is using the best Dutch processed cocoa powder you can lay your hands on (I use Droste), a little espresso powder, and a little extra salt.
Please don’t skimp on the salt and then complain about the dull chocolate flavor. Salt is the ultimate flavor enhancer. Too much, and it’s salty, but use the perfect amount, and it makes all the other flavors pop. It’s like real life fairy dust.
Droste cocoa powder is also darker than a lot of other Dutch processed cocoa powders, which gives my donuts that rich chocolate color AND flavor. It is worth the investment.
Trust me. I’ve got your Sunday morning breakfast handled.
I am going to include the same tips I gave you in my Sour Cream Cake Donuts because they still apply. Think of them like the golden rules of donuts. Mmmkay?
KEYS TO DONUT SUCCESS:
- Keep the dough cold. Roll and cut it quickly to keep the baking powder from starting to react with the sour cream. Double acting baking powder will react again when fried, but let’s save all the expansion power for later, shall we.
- Use canola oil or some other neutral tasting oil that has a high smoke point.
- Monitor your oil temperature. 340° F is too cold – I don’t care what ChefSteps says; it’s too damn cold. Your donuts will be greasy. 380° F is too damn hot. The outside will be dark and awful while the inside is still gooey. Umm gross. 355°-360° F is your target range, or happy place, if you will. Adjust your heat as it approaches the boundaries.
- Don’t be afraid to turn off the stove. This is the great thing about frying. If the oil temperature isn’t where you want it, just wait. So liberating.
- Do be careful. The oil looks so happy and peaceful in there, but I can assure you that 350° F oil is VERY hot. I have the scars from work to prove it. Carefully use the slotted spoon to place the donut in the oil and to remove it. I gently drop it in the oil with my hand so that it slips inside, but I have been trained to have no fear. And the burns to prove it….
- May I remind you that oil and water do not mix. When water gets into hot oil, it splatters violently. If this happens, back away. Quickly. This is easily avoidable if you dry all your utensils after rinsing them off. If there is any water collected on the top of your dough, which there shouldn’t be if you properly wrapped them, then blot it off before putting it in the oil.
- Place your fried donuts on a wire rack over a baking sheet or towels to catch the extra oil. This will keep the bottoms crispy. There will be no soggy bottoms on our donuts!
- Dip the donuts in the glaze while they are still warm so you don’t need to heat up your glaze. People say to use chopsticks. Come on. Isn’t life hard enough? Just use your fingers. It’ll toughen them up. It’s good for you. My Dad taught me that.
Step by Step Guide to Making Glazed Chocolate Cake Donuts
Prepare the Donut Dough:
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
- Whisk in the salt and set aside.
- Line a large mixing bowl with plastic wrap, then spray its surface. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar, butter, and yolks on high until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Mix in sour cream until smooth.
- Gradually add dry ingredients on low speed, mixing just until incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. Spray its top and cover with plastic wrap.
- Chill for 60 minutes. The dough can be stored for up to a week.
Shape & Cut:
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment and nonstick spray.
- Flour a work surface and place dough on it. Roll to ½-inch thick.
- Using 3-inch and 1 ¼-inch ring cutters, cut donuts and holes.
- Place them on the baking sheet and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
Prepare the Glaze:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, powdered sugar, salt, and honey.
- Adjust consistency over simmering water if needed.
- Pour oil into a fryer or Dutch oven, ensuring it’s at least 2 inches deep.
- Heat to 350°F. Adjust to maintain this temperature.
- Fry 3 donuts at a time, flipping and frying until golden brown (approximately 80 seconds per side).
- Fry donut holes as indicated in the original recipe.
- Drain on a wire rack.
- Once slightly cooled, dip donuts in glaze.
- Return to wire rack and allow glaze to set.
Serve & Store:
- Enjoy the donuts fresh, ideally the day they’re made.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
I'm a financial analyst turned blogger at American Heritage Cooking and, most recently, a culinary student at the International Culinary Center in New York City! I love posting healthier meals, old-fashioned comfort foods, and all things sweet! I also have a serious weakness for cupcakes!