Chocolate-Coconut Cake Donuts

November 10, 2014
7 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Makes 6
Author Notes

These deep chocolate cakes have a subtle coconut nuttiness from the coconut milk and oil (rather than from shredded coconut). This makes for both a tender, melting texture and a lovely flavor. You'll need a cake donut pan to make these, though you could make "donut muffins" instead. —Tanya

Test Kitchen Notes

Donuts are something I rarely treat myself to. So few places make ones worthy of the calories, yet the homemade variety often seems daunting. With these Chocolate Coconut Cake Donuts, one can wake up on a Sunday morning and, with no more effort than afforded waffles, have donuts in 45 minutes. I like that you only need two mixing bowls and a wooden spoon to make these up. You will likely need way more coconut milk for the frosting; I used about 1/4 cup. The coconut flavor is subtle—a little kiss of the tropics followed by a warm hug of the chocolate. —Jestei

What You'll Need
  • For the donuts:
  • Non-stick cooking spray, or coconut oil, or butter, for greasing donut pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted if solid
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the icing:
  • 2 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • Sprinkles or chopped nuts, as desired
  1. Heat oven to 325° F and grease the donut pan.
  2. Set a sieve over a large bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt (I always sift when using cocoa powder). Sift, then fold together for even distribution. In a smaller bowl, whisk the coconut milk, sugar, egg, coconut oil, and vanilla until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix with a whisk or wooden spoon until everything is blended. The batter will be thick.
  3. Spoon batter into a piping bag (or into a large resealable plastic bag with the corner cut off) and pipe into the greased doughnut pan, making sure to not overfill. Alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the pan.
  4. Bake for 13 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool the doughnuts in the pan for 3 minutes, and then carefully turn the doughnuts onto a rack to finish cooling.
  6. Once the donuts are completely cooled, make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coconut milk. If you’d like a thinner glaze, add more milk, and if too thin, add more icing sugar.
  7. Place a rack over a baking sheet to catch any dripping (though there won’t be much). Once by one, dip the cooled donuts into the glaze and allow excess to drip back into the bowl. Place on the rack and top with sprinkles. Allow the donuts to sit for an hour or two to let the glaze dry before eating.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stacie Barton
    Stacie Barton
  • ChefJune
  • Tanya
  • Angelina j
    Angelina j
A sometimes bad-Indian in America, with an odd kimchi habit (eaten in front of the fridge, straight out of the jar) and a heavy hand with spices.

17 Reviews

Angelina J. June 2, 2018
These cake donuts were delicious... loved the use of brown sugar and I used dk. choc cocoa powder. The glaze put the perfect amount of sweetness. I didn't have coconut milk so used cow's milk in mix and a bit of coconut oil in the glaze and finished with shredded coconut on top. Delightful recipe for National Donut Day!
Judy S. May 12, 2017
Thanks for the suggestion, but I never opt for a yeast donut over a cake donut. My quest continues. And I will let you know if I am ever successful!
Judy S. May 12, 2017
Thanks for the exceedingly quick reply! I think I'm coming to realize that the only way to make cake donuts that taste like donuts is to bite the bullet and fry them. But hope springs eternal!
Tanya May 12, 2017
You could also try baked raised donuts - the yeast raised dough may give you a more typical donut flavor. I haven't tried these myself but this recipe looks primising:
Also, since the same recipe can be fried, you could make a half batch baked, test it, and if you don't love it, fry the rest of the dough! And if you do, do report back!!
Judy S. May 12, 2017
A few questions. First, we cannot do coconut in my house. Should I substitute whole milk or something else for the canned coconut milk? Second, do these taste like cupcakes in a donut shape? I've made many different baked donut recipes, and they all taste like cake, rather than cake donuts (if that makes sense). Love your thoughts. Thanks!
Tanya May 12, 2017
Hi Judy. These are definitely cake-in-donut shape. You can certainly use milk in place of the coconut milk and butter in place of the coconut oil, which would simply make these chocolate cake donuts rather than chocolate coconut cake donuts. Hope this helps!
Maranda June 4, 2016
Do you think the recipe would work with coconut sugar in place of brown sugar?
Stacie B. September 13, 2015
My first homemade doughnuts! Complete success! Yes, you can have chocolate cake for breakfast. :)
Tanya September 14, 2015
Haha! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe!
steve August 16, 2015
When you say coconut milk, should I assume you mean the full fat canned type? With the refrigerated drinking kind in milk cartons much more popular now, I'm not sure if you mean a certain type.
Tanya August 16, 2015
Hi Steve, yes I use the full fat canned coconut milk.
Jenny August 16, 2015
Hi Kirby, Tanya's header's comment did note that you can make "doughnut muffins". I was also thinking that if you had a mini bundt pan, that would give you another option for a "ring mold."
Tanya August 16, 2015
Thanks Jenny, the mini bundts sound great!
kirby August 16, 2015
So u want to make them today and don't have a donut pan? Any ideas.
ChefJune November 21, 2014
What's a "doughnut pan?" I never heard of such a thing.
Tanya November 21, 2014
Hi Chef June! It's a specialty shaped pan that let's you cook cake or muffin batter in a doughnut shape. I got mine at Sur La Table, but you can also find it online on Amazon (where it's mostly spelled "donut pan" instead of "doughnut pan").
dogchasetail August 16, 2015
Yea don't feel bad. I worked in a doughnut shop making doughnuts and had never heard of one either.