Skip the doughnut shop and bake a fresh batch of Chocolate Cake Doughnuts with Pecans! These soft and sweet baked doughnuts are topped with a decadent dark chocolate glaze, crunchy pecans, and cacao nibs. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, and dessert!
Cake doughnuts for chocolate lovers
The level of freshness, flavor, and moisture can make or break a doughnut. Thankfully, these Chocolate Cake Doughnuts with Pecans are deeply chocolatey and filled with rich flavors. They’re perfect for the chocolate lovers in your life!
This baked doughnut recipe features decadent, ultra-moist chocolate cake doughnuts coated in a silky, dark chocolate glaze and topped with pecans and cacao nibs. Does that sound complicated? Don’t worry! The entire recipe takes less than 1 hour and baking cake doughnuts is a piece of cake compared to fried doughnuts.
- Flour - There’s no need to use anything fancy here. All purpose flour works great.
- Black cocoa powder - This is a heavily dutch-processed cocoa powder. It gives baked goods a smooth, deep chocolatey flavor. Regular dutch cocoa powder works too.
- Sour cream - For maximum moisture, a hint of tang, and to help the doughnuts rise. You can use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt as a lighter option.
- Corn syrup - Or honey. This keeps the sugar in the glaze moist and from crystallizing.
- Dark chocolate - Melted dark chocolate is the base of the gooey dark chocolate glaze. Choose a high quality chocolate that fits your budget. I like Callebaut, Guittard, Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger, and Valrhona.
- Pecans and cacao nibs - For garnish and a nutty crunch! Instead of pecans, feel free to use chopped almonds, walnuts, or pistachios.
How to make chocolate cake doughnuts
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together.
Step 2: Mix the doughnut batter. Whisk the butter, egg, sugar, milk, vanilla, and sour cream together in a separate bowl. Carefully add in the dry mixture and stir without overmixing.
Step 3: Pipe the batter and bake. Pipe the doughnut batter into a greased doughnut tin. Bake until they pass the toothpick test. Once they’re done, let them cool completely while you work on the glaze.
Step 4: Make the chocolate glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla, chocolate, and hot water into a glaze. You can strain out any lumps with a sieve.
Step 5: Glaze, garnish, and serve. Once cooled, dip the tops of each doughnut into the glaze and let the excess drip off the sides. Sprinkle some pecans and cocoa nibs over the top before the chocolate icing hardens, then enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- To check for doneness - Stick a toothpick into a doughnut as it bakes. If it comes out clean, they’re done baking!
- Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Invest in a doughnut baking tray to bake doughnut shop-worthy doughnuts!
Frosting and topping ideas
Swap the chocolate glaze, pecan, and cacao nib combo with any combination of doughnut frostings and tasty toppings. These are some of my favorites:
- Vanilla doughnut glaze to keep things simple.
- Raspberry french buttercream with chocolate sprinkles on top.
- Vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
- Chocolate frosting and chocolate cookie crumbs.
To store: Cake doughnuts are best enjoyed straight from the oven while they’re still super moist and fresh. Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in a dry, cool space for up to 3 days. Any longer and they may begin to dry out.
Frequently asked questions
You can make a DIY doughnut tin using a regular muffin pan and squares of aluminum foil. First, poke the middle of a square of foil with your finger to create the mold for the donut hole. Line the edges of the cupcake tin with the rest of the square of foil and you’re done!
I’ve personally only used regular all-purpose flour, but a 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour blend should work.
More cake doughnut recipes
- Vanilla Bean & Rose Baked Doughnuts
- Glazed Chocolate Covered Espresso Doughnuts
- Coconut Cream Baked Doughnuts
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try these dark chocolate glazed chocolate cake doughnuts, please leave a review or share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Chocolate Cake Doughnuts with Pecans
- Piping Bag or Ziplock Bag
- Doughnut Baking Pan
- 2 Cups (250 g) All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 3 tablespoon Black Cocoa Powder
- 2 tablespoon (30 g) Unsalted Butter, Melted and Cooled
- 1 Large Egg
- ⅓ Cup (66 g) Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup (120 g) Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup (115 g) Sour Cream
Chocolate Icing & Garnish
- 4 ½ Cups (450 g) Powdered Sugar
- 2 teaspoon Corn Syrup, or Honey
- Pinch of Salt
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Cup (75 g) Hot Water
- ⅔ Cup (115 g) Dark Chocolate, Melted
- Chopped Pecans & Cacao Nibs, For Garnish
- First off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F before making your doughnut batter.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black cocoa powder then set aside.2 Cups All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Baking powder, ½ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda, 3 tablespoon Black Cocoa Powder
- Then in a larger bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and sour cream mixing together until everything has fully combined.2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, 1 Large Egg, ⅓ Cup Granulated Sugar, ½ Cup Whole Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, ½ Cup Sour Cream
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.
- Next, it’s time to pipe the doughnut batter into your doughnut baking pan. Spray the donut pan with a light layer of non-stick cooking spray.
- Pipe the doughnut batter into your doughnut pan filling just over halfway, then place the tray in the oven to bake for 11-12 minutes. After the doughnuts pass the toothpick test, remove them from the oven and let cool on a baking tray. Do not glaze doughnuts until they have completely cooled.
Chocolate Icing Assembly & Garnish
- Whisk together powdered sugar, corn syrup/honey, salt, vanilla extract, melted chocolate and hot water in a medium bowl to make your glaze. Pass the icing through a sieve to get rid of any lumps from the powdered sugar if you’d like an extra smooth glaze. Dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off. As the glaze starts to dry, sprinkle some chopped pecans and cocoa nibs on top for garnish!4 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar, 2 teaspoon Corn Syrup, Pinch of Salt, ¼ Cup Hot Water, ⅔ Cup Dark Chocolate, Chopped Pecans & Cacao Nibs, ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract