Cake Doughnut Recipe

So here it is: one of my top secret recipes. Cake doughnuts are a batter, not a dough. In professional shops, they’re made by a machine that drops ring-shaped quantities of batter into a vat of hot oil. They look like this, or if you have a bigger operation, like this. These so-called doughnut “depositors” are a little on the pricey side. Should you ever have access to one, great! If not, this recipe will work fine and dandy simply dropping spoonfulls of batter into hot oil. The quantity works great for simple “drop doughnuts”, i.e. small doughnut hole-sized blobs that you drop into the oil using a spoon. If you have an actual depositor you’ll want to at least quadruple this recipe.

Vanilla Cake “Drop” Doughnuts

8 ounces all-purpose flour sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
1 once ( 2 tablespoons) soft butter
2 ounces (1) egg
1 ounce sour cream
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 ounces (scant 1/2 cup) milk

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature to begin (this is VERY important). Have a fry pan or Dutch ready with about two inches of oil in it (I recommend canola).

Combine all the dry ingredients (including the sugar) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir the eggs, milk, sour cream and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Turn mixer on low to blend all the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and turn the mixer up to medium-low. When the butter has been fully incorporated add the wet ingredients in a steady stream with the mixer running. Let the mixer run for 30 seconds and scrape the bowl down. Let the mixer run for another 30 seconds. The batter should be smooth, thick and spoonable. Let it rest for ten minutes, while you bring your oil up to temperature: 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry tablespoon-sized dollops in oil for 45 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels. Dust with sugar or dip in icing and serve warm.

112 thoughts on “Cake Doughnut Recipe”

  1. I don’t have the photos of the drop-style cake donuts I made using your recipe and instructions posted up on my website yet as I have completely ignored my blog shamelessly for eons now. However, they were so good they inspired me to get a donut dropper and I had to share a link with you and perhaps you can share with your readers because even $15.00 in these tough economic times can be a pinch…. … With shipping my order came to only $12.95! I have a question though, the oil you suggest using is canola but it smells awful when it heats. Is there another oil that is slightly less offensive when heated? Thanks for the great pictures and instructions! Christine.

    1. Great news! Thanks for the email. Unfortunately, every oil will smell up your house when you fry with it. You can try vegetable oil and see if you prefer that, though I think the result will be largely the same. Thanks for the email! – Joe

  2. Hi i follow exactly the instructions but the mix doesnt seem quite as yours my mix a more liquid any tips?

    1. Hello Jose! I’m very sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you. I suggest simply reducing the amount of milk. The dough will still perform the same way. Let me know how it goes the next time!


      – Joe

  3. Made 100 of these for a church breakfast with my “Hole in One” doughnut machine. IMO, a better doughnut than those from the just add water commercial mixes, so scratch made is worth the trouble. While vanilla nutmeg is great, just for variety can you list 1 or 2 other flavor formulas?
    Thanks for all the great information on your website.

    1. Hey Joe! Great news. As for flavor combos, consider vanilla and nutmeg as a base. The vanilla is semi-disposable but a doughnut isn’t a doughnut without nutmeg. It’s vital to the device.

      You can add other flaborings to the batter, but for flavor variations I suggest getting adventurous with toppings or spiced sugars. A chocolate version is on my to-do list!

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe,

        First off, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!

        Your site has been a huge resource in jump starting my 2nd life career……doughnuts.

        We use the drop cake doughnut recipe as our old fashion, and wanted to see if you ever developed a chocolate cake version ?? I am quite frustrated in all of my attempts at trying to get the moist inside / crisp outside chocolate cake recipe.

        Any guidance would be much appreciated.


        1. Hi Kevin!

          You are entirely welcome!

          One the chocolate version, I wish I could say I had one, but I’ve never had time to formulate one (though I’ve had tons of requests). The main thing to remember when adding cocoa to any formula is that it is hugely absorbent. That’s what’s giving you the dry mouth. Often, in order to give the formula the moisture it needs, you get a batter that’s too thin for an extruder. The only thing you can do in that case is bump up the fat. That will boost the tenderness and (impression of) moisture.

          Go forth with courage — and good luck!

          – Joe

    1. That’s hard to say, Jen. Are you going to use a professional dropper or just fry up spoonfuls?

      – Joe

      1. Spoonfulls for doughnut holes. We are planning to try these out at home, then as a fund raiser for our Boy Scout troop.

        1. I wish I could tell you for sure, Jen. Honestly I use a dropper for these. My guess is about two dozen, depending on the size.

          – Joe

          1. How many donuts do you yield when using a donut dropper, and what do you yield when quadrupling the recipe?

          2. Hey Melissa!

            It depends on the size of course. Also when you use a dropper you end up wasting the last of the batter because the extruder needs to me mostly full in order to function properly. I’d say I usually get between two and three dozen before gravity fails me.

            – Joe

  4. i must say that ur blog on donuts is the best i have stumble on yet. your chatty way of explaining the procedures and recipe makes one want to start trying them out immediately. keep the good work going. thanks.

    1. Thanks for the high praise and delightful comment, Linda! Let me know what you think of them!

      – Joe

  5. Joe, Do you think Peanut oil would work for Doughnuts instead of Canola oil.

    1. Hi Larry!

      Peanut oil does work in the sense that it’s a perfectly good fry medium. However it will impart some peanut flavor, just as corn oil imparts corn flavor. If you don’t mind that then press on!

      – Joe

  6. Joe, I’m confused. For yeast raised doughnuts, do we fry for 30 seconds per side, or 45 seconds? Your recipe for them says thirty, while the description above your recipe says 45. I only have 12 to 14 chances to figure it out. Secondly, can you offer any tips on placing our yeast raised doughnuts in the oil, without knocking the proof out of the dough? Do we just pick them up with our fingers, or is there a better way?

  7. Hi Joe!!

    Would this recipe work in a commercial grade, mini donut (hopper based) machine? Looking for a great recipe, NOT from a mix.



    1. Hi Sharon!

      It’s actually formulated for an extruder like that. You may need to fiddle with the amount of milk to get the flow-through just right, but I used this recipe in an extruder with great success. You can also use the high ratio cake layer recipes, which also make excellent doughnuts.

      Best of luck!

      – Joe

  8. You are going to get your laugh of the day here. I graduated med school but got drafted by the family business. We have a bakery in a grocery store and just purchased a Belshaw mini 110 donut machine. I have been attempting to use pancake mix for donuts with little success. One could feed the starving millions with all the bad donuts I have turned out. I assume this formula will work for the machine but is there a commercial mix or subsitute that would make things faster? Cooking is an art that I am not fluent in and beg your patience. Dan

    1. Hey Dan!

      The other recipes on the site that make good cake doughnuts are the high ratio yellow and chocolate cake layers under the Pastry Components menu. I used all of these in my business, but it’s true they aren’t fast as a mix. You can use liquid eggs to speed the process up a little, but to truly make your own dry mix you’d need powdered fat, powdered eggs and such. Better to buy a mix by the sack from Sysco, Dawn or Bakemark. They have all sorts of different mixes that work with Belshaw gear.

      Let me know if this answers your question!


      – Joe

  9. Hey Joe,
    Looking to make these donuts but want to add apple cider to make them apple cider donuts… have you ever done this? looking for any help! Trying to replicate super moist and very apple cidery donuts I had from a bakery, but they closed the doors. They were in Long grove Illinois.

    1. Hi Nilsa!

      You certainly can use cider in place of the milk if you wish. In my experience it doesn’t produce an extremely cidery doughnut, but it’s been a while since I attempted it. Try it and let me know what you think. If they don’t have the flavor you want, we can try adding a little applesauce to the mix as well!


      – Joe

  10. Ok, so let me start off by saying
    this recipe is IDIOT proof!!
    I personally know my way around a kitchen
    and have worked professionally cooking for others
    but I have never made doughnuts
    I’ve made strawberry soup and Jack Daniels truffles by hand
    but never doughnuts…go figure
    So when I saw how simple the ingredients were
    I was not scared one bit to just go for it
    I decided at 10:00 pm I had to try it
    but I wasn’t getting out the mixer,
    I wasn’t waiting for the milk and butter to temper
    and I couldn’t find my flour sifter
    see where I’m going with this…
    and couldn’t find my nutmeg
    so I halved the amount and used cinnamon
    I was trying to surprise the kids
    so I was mixing and looking
    trying to hide what I was doing and I didn’t get the mixing order quite right either
    I put the butter and cream cheese together and softened up for about 20 seconds in the micro and warmed the milk separately
    totally not what it says to do. I used a whisk to mix everything
    ended up way to thin and had to add flour till it was the right thickness
    I DID use a thermometer for the oil, I used vegie oil and it tastes pretty good- not my first choice but deff doable
    I started off making them way to big
    quarter size of dough is all you need to drop, they expand a lot!
    I used two spoons, one to scoop the mix
    the other to push the dough off the spoon into the oil
    I burnt a few, under cooked a few, but for a first try and so many reasons for this to fail, they turned out pretty good and the kids were begging for more! they will be gone at breakfast tomorrow for sure!
    I saw some people were asking about how many this makes
    If you hand drop about quarter sized bits of dough you will get around 30-36
    This will be a keeper in my rotation for sure!!
    thank you great and super easy recipe!

    1. Now THAT’s what I call improvisation! Great story Julz, so glad it worked so well!

      – Joe

  11. I want to know if this recipe can be doubled or tripled with good results? Thanks

    1. Oh my yes. I used the recipe commercially. It can be scaled up to…whatever. You’ll want to cut the baking powder down by about 10% every time you double it, but that’s pretty much it!

      – Joe

  12. Hi. I am living in Australia and are looking for a great organic donut recipe to put in a Belshaws doughnut machine. Can anyone help? Regards Jo

  13. Nilsa says:
    06/13/13 at 3:26 am

    They were in Long grove Illinois.

    We too loved those donuts!!

    Thank you so much for your recipe, Joe. I just recently found your website and I am going to spend more time looking around. These donuts were amazing!! I would like to try your cake “high ratio yellow and chocolate cake layers under the Pastry Components menu.” Thanks again!!

    Oh, did you ever get a chance to come up with a chocolate donut? I tried a favorite cake recipe of mine and it was a DISASTER!

    1. Hey April! Very glad they worked for you!

      I did not do a specific chocolate cake doughnut recipe, but either the high-ratio yellow or high-ratio chocolate cake layer recipes should work for doughnuts, provided you’ve got the right amount of liquid in there. Too runny and you’ll get more like a funnel cake, too little and it’ll be more like a hushpuppy. You’ll want to experiment a little dropping spoonfuls into the oil and seeing how they turn out. What happened with your other cake recipe?

      – Joe

  14. First of all, thank you so much for the quick response!!

    Well, first a little background, if I may. We just purchased a Belshaw Mark 2 and with that we received some mix from _______(I don’t know if I can say or not), and some vegetable shortening. Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil was the main ingredient.

    Either the mix or the oil was leaving a bad after taste so I switched to coconut oil to see if it was the oil. Coconut oil was a FAIL. It left too much oil in the doughnut so I thought the oil was too cold. When we turned up the temperature just beyond 375 degrees, it was still the same. We then turned the machine off because the oil was starting to smoke and we didn’t want a fire.

    After talking to a company who sells oils, he told me that coconut oil would never have worked because of the low melting point. So we switched to palm oil. I am very happy with the oil!! And after using your recipe, the doughnuts tasted very fresh with no after taste.

    Now I have to say that with your recipe “Vanilla Cake “Drop” Donuts”, I switched the milk to water and the butter to coconut oil for a few reasons.

    1. Because I am thinking about price per donut a little bit.

    2. Because I can’t eat dairy products. I makes my hay fever return and it’s miserable!

    I am going to try your recipe exactly the way it is written for my family and as a comparison.

    When I tried my chocolate cake recipe, I didn’t clean out the hopper from the previous batch. There was only a little left and since I am trying all kinds of recipes, I didn’t think that it mattered for us right now.

    So we dropped maybe 2 donuts from the previous batch and when my chocolate batter came through, it just spread out like crazy in the oil and it seemed to start to burn. So we cut the dropper off and let those crazy guys finish out. The chocolate left a lot of “crumbs” so we had to turn off the machine and strain the oil. No big deal.

    I tried another cake recipe of mine and it was a fail also!! So now I am going to try your cake recipes!!

    One question, if I still have your attention. I would like to make the Vanilla Cake “Drop” Donuts x’s 8 to fill up the hopper so……..when we decrease the baking powder by 10% every time we double it, do we take 10% off of 4 t., then 10% off of each additional 2 t. x’s 6? This is a little confusing to me.

    Thank you sooo much for your time.

  15. Hi Joe!

    First off I just want to thank you for the great website– I took a huge leap and my very own doughnut shop opens this week, and your articles have been a great source of research and advice for me in my process. I still only kind-of know what I’m doing, but much more so with your help/recipes.. haha

    Two quick questions:
    I know you said you “scaled this recipe down” from your usual proportions. Would you be willing to post the original ratios? My recipe is loosely based on yours, and I want to make sure that my plans are correctly scaled up in reference to how yours works (it’s different enough that I want to verify my math…haha).

    Also, in re: wet-ingredient variations (squash puree, applesauce, melted chocolate, pistachio paste, etc.), what would you change in the recipe to accomodate the moisture change? We’ve all subbed-in pumpkin puree and ended up with leaden, too-wet products at some point in our lives. Would you swap it ounce-for-ounce with the sour cream? Add more flour/leavening? Etc.?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Hey Tory!

      I’ll email you a quantity sheet…don’t pay all that much attention to the yield (fluctuated wildly based on the extruder head I was using). Also, one thing I learned the hard way was that baking powder needs to be scaled down steadily as the batch size increases (about 10% every time the recipe doubles). That’s not reflected in the formulas. This thing was an evolving creation like yours is I’m sure, but the formulas should be reliable.

      As for the additives, I took out both flour and milk when I put in something like a fruit paste or pumpkin puree. This is going to sound silly, but the way I figured it was to make a paste of flour and water that was roughly equivalent in texture to the additive I was using, keeping track of the flour and water by weight. When I got to something that was about the same feel, I simply subtracted that amount of flour and milk from the recipe!

      It worked for the most part!

      – Joe

    2. Hi! me and my husband are also starting a donut company and have been trying all types of cake and raised donut recipes – HUGE favor – can you forward (email) me the cake recipe scaled up and the yeast donut recipe scaled up that you decided to use for your donut company? THANK YOU!!

      1. I’ll have to look for those. Not sure how much of that info I have anymore. But I’ll check!

        – Joe

  16. I’ll start by saying, I’m about to overuse the word “drizzle”.

    I wasn’t able to get the spoonable consistency with the batter, so I presume I used too much milk. However, mi kids and I improvised and simply drizzled the thin batter into the oil and turned it over at about 1-2 minutes. The thin batter will actually cook pretty fast so it took more than 1 try since the first batch was very much overcooked. We took the icing and just drizzled it over the now cooked “stringy” looking batter and it tasted great! We decided to call them “Whapadoodles” pronounced, wha-pa-doo-dills.

    1. Hey Jim!

      Sort of a cake doughnut funnel cake it sounds like! Glad you were pleased with the results in any event.


      – Joe

  17. Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been trying to recreate donuts I ate on vacation in the outer banks from a shop called Duck Donuts. These are the closest I’ve come. I do have one problem- when I made them the underside (the side that’s in the oil first) turns out ok, but the top busts open creating bulbus forms or when flipped creates a fritter type texture. I stuck to your recipe- except I had to add 1 Tablespoon more milk because the batter was to thick to come out of my non- professional extruder. I am also using unbleached gold metal AP flour. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Nancy!

      Are you at a high altitude by any chance? Try cutting the baking powder back by about 15%…just a little in other words…I think that will fix the problem.

      – Joe

  18. I use to own a Dunkin’ Donut and for what it is worth, re: taking temps…Can’t tell your readers how very important it is to do this one thing every time no matter how you do it! The magic number for us was 210 and it was computed by first taking the room temp and adding that reading to the mix (or temp of the dry ingredients then subtracting that total from 210. that will give you the temp that the wet ingredients should be for perfect products every time. The mixed result prior to frying should give you a dough temp at or near 70 degrees every time. Some bakers didn’t bother and the result was total inconsistancy. Started another small shop here in Seward, Alaska just because I miss the business a little. Keep frying!

    1. Fabulous stuff, Ron. Didn’t know a big operation like Dunkin faced the same sorts of temperature issues. But it makes a whole lot of sense!

      Thanks very much for weighing in on this!

      – Joe

    2. boy Ron – do you have any other tips for us – we are starting a donut company and need all the advice we can get

      1. Gosh there are so many things. If I had to boil it down to one key thing I’d say: temperature. It’s the most crucial thing for any doughnut maker, regardless of whether you’re using mixes or making them from scratch, since you’ll get very different results from even mild swings in temperature. That being the case a climate-controlled kitchen is pretty essential. Also I’d suggest trying the high ratio layer cake recipes as an alternative to these butter cake-type ones. They’re less expensive to make and possibly more in line with what typical consumers expect. If you’d like to have a pow-wow about all this we can talk by phone since there’s a lot to consider!


        – Joe

  19. I was really craving a good cake doughnut here recently, and doughnut shops around here are abysmal and not worth the 25 min drive to purchase them. I ran into this recipe just out of curiosity. After reading it, I realized that I had everything that I needed to make the batter. So I figured what the hell. I must say that they were some of the best doughnuts that I have ever had. Thanks..

    1. You made my day, Will!

      Nothing like a home made doughnut right out of the oil, no? Thanks very much for getting back to me about it!


      – Joe

  20. Hi Joe! thanks for all of the tips- they are really great.
    We did have a problem when doing this recipe (we are beginners when it comes to doughnuts.) Our oil was at a temp of 380 and we did the drop method in a fry pan (2 in canola oil). 45 seconds per side. They came out too gooey in the center but the outside was perfect. Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Patti!

      It could be a few things. The batter might be too cool while the oil is too hot. In that case it’d take extra time for the interior to cook up. Or maybe the doughnuts you’re extruding are too big. Either way try dropping your oil temperature to help ensure that heat has time to penetrate all the way through before the outside crisps!

      Keep it up and thanks for the question!

      – Joe

  21. Hello Joe,

    I am on the donut trail and was very well helped by the info your site provided. I tried the high ratio cake recipe for cake donuts. They made a great cake but soaked oil when I attempted to fry them as mini donuts. I was wondering if the flour had to be changed to all purpose flour or pastry flour?Should the mixing method stay the same if using the hi ratio yellow cake for mini donuts? Thanks you for the tips!

  22. Thanks Joe for the great info and recipe!. Does the sour cream here count as fat or liquid? I wanted to know how to substitute for sour cream if I dont have any around. Thanks!

  23. hey joe by chance i came by your post i’v been looking for this recipe high and low. I simply thought it was a commercial thing and nobody is going to share, man i was wrong just reading your feedbacks gave me the confidence in you it also got me thinking there are people with a heart thks joe. Oh i have not tried it yet will pass it to me wife and let you know the outcome thks again.

    1. Hello Maximillian!

      You are right that cake doughnut recipes are not as common as raised doughnut recipes. The reason is because you need specialized equipment to produce rings of batter. However you can easily make “drop” doughnuts from cake doughnut batter by carefully dropping spoonfuls of batter into the oil. Have fun and let me know what you think!

      – Joe

  24. Hi Joe,

    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise – what an invaluable resource! I’ve been serving Lil’ Orbits Mini Donuts over the past few years with much success but now have an event organizer requesting I serve a “full-size” cake donut as well. I can easily switch out the hopper/extruder on my machine to drop the larger donut but I’m really conflicted on what to make the batter out of. Do you have any insight on using the Lil Orbits mix for a full size donut? We’d be doing some pretty high volume so I’m a bit nervous about a “scratch” recipe although I think it would produce a better quality product. Any suggestions/insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!!

    1. Hey Eric!

      Nice to meet you. I’d say that if you’ve got a bankable process going you should stick with it. If the die for your machine will produce a full-sized doughnut and you have your times and temperatures down, do it. The batter should work no sweat. Scratch doughnuts are great but you’d need to put some R&D time into them if you wanted to do a few hundred, since they’re fussy in their own way. I make doughnuts both with this recipe and the high ratio yellow cake and chocolate cake recipes (both under “cake layers). I cut the liquid on the high ratio recipes back by 1/3 and adjust from there according to what the extruder likes. Actually I should formalize though recipes and put them in this section!

      Best of luck to you with the project!

      – Joe

      1. Thanks so much Joe – I will try the Lil’ Orbits mix first and see how it works. I appreciate your quick response and willingness to help. Thanks again!

  25. How come it’s only 1 cup of flour? 8 ounces? isn’t very many doughnuts is this. A small recipe or a typo

    1. Hey there Desire,

      This recipe is scaled for a small batch of “drop” doughnuts, i.e. small nuggets you make by simply spooning small quantities of batter into the oil. If you have a cake doughnut depositor you’ll want to at least quadruple this as it says in the recipe.

      Let me know how they go!

      – Joe

    2. Oh, but 8 ounces is more like a cup and a half of flour…it’s more than you might think! 😉

      – Joe

  26. Dear Joe,
    I used depositor to do your recipe but only one side of cake donut look good and another side always broken (not smooth). What happen with my batter ?

    1. Hello Riyadi!

      It’s not unusual for the bottoms of the doughnuts to have cracks, In fact it’s normal. That said, if the bottom sides are cracking to the point that they’re almost falling apart, that’s a problem. Is that what is happening?

      – Jim

  27. Hi Joe!

    I am in the process of opening a donut shop and the head chef and I are working really hard on trying to develop a “drop” chocolate cake recipe from scratch. The process has been trying. We’ve found great flavors, but each batch had a great deal of heavy oil absorption. Any thoughts on what we might be able to do to fix the issue? And have you had any success in developing a drop chocolate cake recipe of your own?

    1. Hi Casey!

      I’ve had several requests for a chocolate cake doughnut over the years but honestly I have never really focused on it. As you’ve found out, just adding cocoa doesn’t work. The problem with cocoa is that it’s so absorbent. If you put in enough to actually taste you’ve really got a sponge on your hands. So I’m not surprised to hear that you’re getting extra oil intrusion. I made a mental note to try adding bar chocolate to my recipe if I ever tried it again. Have you experimented with that route? Adding melted Baker’s or something like that to the batter?

      Let’s keep the conversation going on this, because it’s a lapse on my part that I’ve been meaning to correct.

      – Joe

  28. Hi Joe – this is a great site! My husband is thinking about starting a mini doughnut concession type business on the side. Do you have any recommendations on the commercial mini doughnut machines? Also, what are the best recipes to use? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Sonja!

      Belshaw is really the most reliable name in gear. That’s where I’d start. They can recommend doughnut mixes that work well with their machinery. Of course from-scratch doughnuts taste better, but they’re a lot of trouble from a production perspective, especially if they’re only going to be one item out of several. Pre-made mixes are not only easier, they’re more reliable also. That’s my best advice!


      – Joe

  29. Hi Joe! Love the tips! It’s vastly improved my doughnuts. How long can this batter last in a refrigerator or freezer?

    1. Hey Jenny!

      It’s best when used right away, though it will still work after a day or two in the fridge. The doughnuts won’t be quite as fluffy, but they’ll still be more than edible.

      – Joe

      1. Thank you so much for responding! How come some recipes become fluffier after resting in the fridge some nights and some do not even if they use the same chemical leavener?

        1. Hey Jenny!

          The reason you lose some volume with the rest is because the baking powder reacts a bit when it gets wet. It gives off most of its CO2 when it gets hot in the fryer, but you’ll lose a little of the volume because of that. I don’t know of any chemically leavened quick breads that get fluffier after an overnight rest, but I’l not ruling out the possibility!


          – Joe

          1. I really appreciate the help and insight. Is it possible to increase the baking powder to offset the loss if refrigerated? Or better yet, at what point can I increase the leavening agent so I can create an even fluffier dough without ill effects of it frying weird?

          2. Hey Jenny!

            I’d see what happens first. You may get a perfectly fine and fluffy doughnut. Maybe make a few right away and freeze them, then make some more after the batter has been stored and see if you notice a difference in volume. If not you’re good to go. If so you can always add a small amount of addition baking powder to compensate.


            – Joe

    1. Hi Sonja!

      I don’t know anything about them I’m sorry to say. Looks like a Belshaw “donut robot” but probably costs less. Sorry I can’t be of more help, Sonja!

      – Joe

  30. Hi Joe, Great tips. I was wondering if you know where to find a source for donut mix that would use more organic and/or non GMO flour, my research on the subject has me very concerned about our food supply, and most flour is GMO now. Do you suppose someone is making a pre-mix for donut machines that would be GMO free? I do a number of farmers markets, and a good amount of the booths label their harvests and products non-GMO, and people are demanding it more and more….Thanks, Kevin

    1. Hey Kevin!

      I’m virtually positive someone is making something like this but couldn’t tell you who. I’d suggest getting in touch with Bakemark rep or Sysco rep or someone like that to see what’s out there. I’m sure you’ll find something!


      – Joe

  31. Joe ,I have a automatic donut machine .What is the recipe for makeing fair style donuts by the hundreds.Day after day.I want to make batches of two gallon (Im guessing thats the size of my hopper)And make donuts continusely for 5 hours straight.
    Please help me.

    1. Hey Sean!

      I wish I could tell you. Different equipment manufacturers often have their own set of recommended suppliers that make mixes that work with their gear. That’s not to say you can’t make your own, but you might want to get a bag just to run the machine and make sure you can get it working. Once you’ve seen the consistency of what they recommend you can try to imitate it. My cake doughnut recipe on the site here will work just fine, just be sure to cut the baking powder by 15% every time you double it, or the doughnuts will puff too much. Let me know how things go!

      – Joe

  32. Hello Joe

    Im writing from Madagascar where I have a french Patisserie. I am opening an American Gourmet shop this week. With burgers/bagels/cheesecakes ect… I would love to have donuts as well. I have a Belshaw but cant find the right batter. In Madagascar its almost impossible for have premixes.
    I tried your recipe (cake donut) but it vomes out different. Its full of oil and more like krips but not smooth. It would be soooo adorable if you could help. By the way, the shop is called JOE’S!! You must help! 😉 and I would be pleased to share some french pastries recipe with you. If you have time you can check my facebook page DITE PATISSERIE MADAGASCAR.

    Xxx Nai

    1. Of course I am happy to help you, Nai. A French pastry shop in Madagascar is simply too interesting.

      Regarding the problem, if the finished doughnuts are lumpy with lots of oil pockets it’s probably because the batter is too thin. Try adding less milk to make it thicker and see if that improves them any.

      Good luck with your venture and get back to me soon! Cheers,

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe!

        Thanks for the reply! Sorry was busy with the opening of the new shop.

        I will try with less milk tomo and will let you know! 🙂


        1. Not a problem. Get back to me with the results and let me know if there’s been an improvement!

          – Joe

  33. Hey joe whadaya know?
    My wife and I are from Chigagoland but live in Ecuador South America . We are thinking of opening a small donut coffee shop at our local market on the weekends.
    I just purchased on eBay a used belshaw type k depositor with the 1 9/16″ plunger (hasn’t arrived yet). I live at 6000 ft. above sea level and definitely do not have a temperature controlled workspace. Temperatures vary from 50-75 degrees. We want to make one donut type with diff coatings (i.e. powdered sugar,cinnamon etc.). I read all the comments on this post and have read a few books on doughnut making, but a small commercial venture has its own problems.
    Any advice you have would be much appreciated!

    1. Anything I can do for a fellow donutero, Randy! If you’re making your own scratch doughnuts, the main problem I see is batter consistency. When the weather warms the butter in the doughnut batter becomes more liquid and that thins the batter. And the result of that is a greasier, less voluminous doughnut. My thought is that you might want try using shortening in the batter since it’s got a higher melting point. Just an initial thought. But ask me anything you like…happy to help however I can!


      – Joe

  34. Hi joe,

    I’m looking for a good doughnut mix to be used in a doughnut hopper / dispenser , at the moment I’m using a commercial just and water mix , but I’m looking for a mix that’s just as easy I can make myself but is fairly quick and simple . Is the a mix you can recommend ?

    1. Hey Terry!

      I’m so far out of that world now, I couldn’t tell you. But there are dozens and dozens of mixes on the market these days. I’d suggest called Dawn or Bakemark and talking to a sales rep. I bet they’ll have something that fills the bill. Best of luck with the project!


      – Joe

  35. Hi joe,

    I have an automatic donut making machine. I tried to create the donut mix by combining necessary ingredients, but it didn’t work. The seller can’t supply me with the recipe workable on their machine, so I am stuck. ( I can’t buy the donut mix in my country)
    I have a few questions: Must I use nutmeg or can I skip it? Can I use also egg powder and milk powder? Can you share your donut recipe scaled up and yeast donut recipe scaled up to my email:

    Thanks , Ochi

    1. Hello Ochi!

      Interesting issue you’re having. To answer the first question, it would be hard to leave nutmeg out of a doughnut mix since it’s the key spice that distinguishes a cake doughnut from cake. If it’s too expensive you can try mace, which comes from the same plant and has a very similar flavor.

      POwdered egg and powdered milk are also possible. The main problem you’ll have is replacing the fat, which in a lot of mixes is delivered as in micro-encapsulated “powder” form, but as long as you don’t mind adding the fat separately you won’t have any trouble. As far as the recipe is concerned, you can scale it up to as great a degree as you like. The only adjustment is to cut the baking powder by 15% every time you double it. That’s it!

      Best of luck with the business!


      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe, can a pancake mix be used to make doughnuts in stead as that too is just a batter

        1. Hey Jimmy,

          That’ll give you something more like a funnel cake, which is nothing to sneeze at either!


          – Joe

  36. So glad to find this recipe.. I will be trying it soon..
    Can you tell me can this batter be refrigerated and used next day.?
    Thanx for this recipe..

    1. Hello Mark!

      In theory, yes. However temperature is critical to success with a cake doughnut. You’d need to make sure the batter warmed up completely before you used it. If you decide to experiment with it, let me know your results. Others will be curious!


      – Joe

  37. Hi Joe, thanks so much for the recipe— it’s amazing! How do you think using cake flour would affect the outcome?

    1. Hi Rachel!

      The cake flour would make them more tender, though you won’t get as much volume due to reduced stretch. But give it a try and get back to me with the results!


      – Joe

  38. Hey Joe,

    Really bringing this one back to life 9yrs later! Could you clarify if the ounce measurements are fluid ounces or weight ounces? Thank you!

    1. Hey Josiah!

      While those two things are close enough to be almost negligible, I do everything on the site in weight. Have fun with the doughnuts!

      – Joe

    1. Hey Sue!

      Yes you can. Milk will suffice. Though you’ll get a little more complexity of flavor is you use something cultured like buttermilk or yogurt. But it’s really up to you. Have fun!

      – Joe

  39. Truly appreciate all your efforts throughout this forum Joe,

    Using a Belshaw Mark 2, I would like to produce Italian Donuts (Zeppole). The recipe substitutes Milk, Butter and Sour Cream with Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese. Are you familiar with this recipe, and if yes, would you mind sharing a Belshaw compatable and Belshaw scaled recipe?

    Further, can I please ask what you’re preferred oil or shortening might be? I would love to use clarified butter, but believe it might become quite the expense and am unsure of how much will, actually, absorb into the donut. Have you ever tried using clarified butter or is it just too expensive to consider?

    Thanks Again Joe,


    1. Hey Yvonne!

      Sorry for the lateness of the reply. I looked at a couple of zeppole recipes, and you shouldn’t have much of a problem with the Belshaw. There’s really no trick to a formula. If you’ve already found one you like in terms of taste and texture, all you need to do is make sure the batter is thin enough that it falls through the dropper, but not so thin that loses its integrity when it hits the oil. It will take a little bit of trial and error, but you’re really the best person for the job, since it’s your kitchen and your gear! You can solve a thickness problem by simply adding a little milk (or even water). Solve a thinness problem by taking away a little cheese or egg white. Get back to me if you’re still having trouble. I promise to be faster with a reply.

      On the oil, it’s been a long time for me, so I don’t remember the specific brand I used. I just used canola oil, which worked alright, but caused quite a few problems of its own. If I were to do it again today I’d use a transfat-free solid shortening, or possibly lard, since that’s back in favor again. Beef tallow would also be a temptation since it’s abundant and cheap, and firm at room temperature.

      I would say that clarified butter is a non-starter for several reasons. First, it’s expensive as you point out. The price of butter can fluctuate so wildly that it could bankrupt your zeppole operation in a matter of a week or two. Also it’s a liquid, and that’s less than ideal as a fry medium. Even the best frying leaves a residue of fat/oil behind. That residual fat/oil weeps into bags and boxes (unless of course they’re wax coated). But I was amazed at how many of my customers complained about those stains, as they perceived my doughnuts as being more “fatty” than others. A solid fat is firm at room temperature, so leaves smaller weep stains and a better customer perception.

      But let me know how the project progresses! I’ll be keen to hear. Maybe I’ll try some zeppole on the blog soon!



  40. Hi joe
    You’ve made my day! I’ve been searching for a “from-scratch” donut recipe to use for my belshaw depositor and haven’t been too successful as it seems that most, if not all, commercial stores use mixes. It looks like you have a large scaled version available. Would you be able to email that to me? And is that already with the scaled down baking powder you have mentioned in the comments? I’m just starting out in this cake donut business and if you have any other tips you can send I would be so grateful!
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hey Dianne!

      Yes, sad but true. And I do have that. I shall email it to you.


      – Joe

  41. Hey Joe!

    Fellow Joe here looking to make the jump and get into the donut business. I’ve found they always put a smile on people’s faces so what better business to be in then the happiness business, eh?

    I’ve got myself a second-hand Belshaw open fryer and likewise a Belshaw hopper – both in good working order which is great.

    The original plan was to make mini donuts but I’ve been advised that it’s easier / more efficient to make standard donuts in an open fryer (even though mine is a smaller older version).

    Firstly, I was wondering if you were able to share the large scaled version of the recipe which others have mentioned? I’m not sure if I’m being dumb but I’m guessing it’s just a scaled up version of your original recipe in the article?

    Secondly, what are your thoughts on this mini donut recipe? I’ve never been to the mentioned coffee shop and from what I’ve read they are now closed (despite hearing rave reviews about their donuts). They use mostly similar ingredients but exclude some things.

    Thirdly, as it stands my plan is to operate pop-up donut stand (under a marquee) at markets and other outdoor events. The one (big) issue is that I’m based in the UK where the winters can get quite chilly… Have you got any suggestions for how I might be able to keep the temperatures of my ingredients and batter consistent and correct? I’m thinking I could keep them and the hopper in thermal bags or boxes like what delivery drivers use however I don’t know if I’m being delusional and kidding myself into thinking I can make it work. Do you have any thoughts?

    I also really want to make my own batter (using locally sourced ingredients) and hate the thought of using pre-made mixes but I appreciate the mixes do have their benefits.

    Finally, do you have thoughts on the differences between lard or tallow or any other solid shortening? From what I’ve read they sound like they will be the best to use from a taste, feel and quality perspective but wasn’t sure if they will have any side effects e.g. savoury flavour.

    I must say the way you write and respond to people very much puts me at ease. For something that can be a little daunting you have made feel a bit more comfortable about it all. Safe to say you’ve found yourself a new fan.

    Thank you in advance!


    1. Hey brother! Sorry for the late reply.

      Very interesting ideas you have here. I think the advice is correct that standard doughnuts are going to be easier than minis. I haven’t really looked hard at the recipe in the video, but these doughnuts look more like doughnut-shaped beignets, which isn’t a bad thing exactly, it all depends on how you want to make them and sell them. A beignet is best eaten hot. Once it cools down it’s not very exciting. Also it has a hard time holding toppings because it’s so light.

      A doughnut is more like a brioche in the sense that it’s richer and has more structure. A doughnut is therefore sturdier, so you can do more to it. It’s also perfectly good once it’s cooled down.

      I myself was an outdoor vendor for a while, so we have that in common. I also sold my doughnuts wholesale to coffee shops and grocers. So I understand the travel problem. What I can say is that you don’t want to try to fry on-site. Because sooner or later you’re going to have to move that vat. Fry oil cools very slowly, and even when it’s “cool” it’s still hot enough to hurt when it spills or splashes. So I would be very, very cautious.

      I solved the problem by building a small production kitchen, making the doughnuts there, loading them into a custom-built cart (that could be heated in cold months) and taking the cart to the sales site. That to me was the only way to go. The doughnuts could still be fresh and warm, and I could concentrate on selling and pouring coffee, not making doughnuts in front of people.

      That may or may not be possible in the scenario you’re imagining. But as I said, it was my solution. As for making your own batter, there’s nothing stopping you. Almost no one does it, but it’s not as though it’s difficult. Bagged mixes are more convenient in the sense that you need only add water, but it has all the same challenges — notably temperature.

      Here are some Joe posts on the subject of frying and oil. Have a look and get back with me with questions.

      I’m always happy to help an aspiring doughnut maker, so keep in touch. If you want to chat by phone we can arrange that, even with the time differences. I once lived down in Exeter, so I understand the language (and the weather) very well!

      Cheers, and ta, and all that sort of thing!

      Your friend,


  42. Hello Joe
    I am a very big fan, living overseas in small Oslo of Norway.
    I just started my donut company ( it´´ s a foodtruck ) with a German donut robot STOK. Its a great sturdy twin machine with 5kw heater.
    Your recipe works great with the machine but I have tried to simplify the recipe by just making it with sugar, milk powder, potato flour, fat, flour, cardamom, salt & baking powder.
    Sometimes I get perfect bulgy, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside doughnuts that are heavenly, says our customers. But sometimes the donuts open up on the up-side, and it seems like they absorb the rapeseed-oil we use for frying as I need to refill oil frequently.

    We try to make room temp for all ingredients, or we heat up the water with the margarine and then cool it down again to approx 25degree celcius.

    What am I doing wrong, and why isn´t this happening every time?


    Sebastian in Oslo

    1. Hello Sebastian!

      I am very sorry for the late reply. I have had the very same problem, it is an issue that everyone who makes cake doughnuts encounters, as they are very sensitive to changes in climate temperature and humidity. My best advice is to be as consistent as you can with ingredient temperatures, since you’ll obviously have limited control of the temperature and humidity around the truck.

      Best of luck to you with your business!


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