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Chocolate Doughnut Cupcakes: Yeast is a Beast

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As this is a cupcake blog, doughnut cupcakes were my only choice if I wanted to participate in the Time to Make Doughnuts event by Peabody and Tartlette. I definitely wanted to play, so the chocolate doughnut cupcake was born.

Doughnut Cupcakes are Harder Than Cupcake Cupcakes

It typically takes me about two hours to bake a batch of 24 cupcakes.

My doughnut cupcakes required two sets of rising, each of which was an hour long. Other time-consuming tasks included dough rolling and cutting out circles.

When Making Doughnut Cupcakes, Shortcuts Don’t Pay

The first time I attempted to make my doughnut cupcakes, I took some shortcuts. Any number of these could have been the fatal misstep. My doughnut cupcakes ended up like hockey puck cupcakes / dog biscuit cupcakes. They ended up feeding my trash.

Things I Did That I Probably Shouldn’t Have

Yeast experts, please comment if you disagree with anything below or if you have other ideas of mistakes I may have made.

  • Attempted to prepare doughnut dough in the bread machine
  • Used cold milk (This one was just plain dumb. I had this crazy idea that if I put the dough in the bread machine, the milk didn’t need to be warm. Sometimes crazy ideas are successful. Sometimes, they are just crazy ideas.)
  • Added a randomly guessed amount of cocoa powder to a yeast-based recipe.
  • Let the dough rise in a cold place (Maybe I would have had more success baking in the summer or in Hawaii?)

Were the Doughnut Cupcakes Better the Second Time Around?

The doughnut cupcakes were better the second time around, but just a bit. The first time they were inedible. The second time, they were edible but didn’t get fluffy and tasted more like pretzels or chocolate bread than doughnuts. If you like pretzels or chocolate bread, try a baked doughnut. If not, and you are not a yeast expert, I recommend going the fried doughnut route.

The Chocolate Doughnut Cupcake Recipe

The first time I heard about baked doughnuts was when Gigi Cakes made them. She got her recipe from 101 Cookbooks. This was the recipe that I put in the bread machine with the cold milk and killed. I’m sure the recipe was actually fine. In fact, I encourage you to try it.

The second time, I decided to use a different recipe. This one was from Coconut and Lime and had a chocolate option so I didn’t have to guess how much cocoa. Her recipe with my slight modifications is listed below.

For those who skipped directly to the recipe, please note that I had no success with this recipe. I am posting it because it looked crazy good on Coconut and Lime’s site and maybe you’ve got the skills to make it work.

I used the same vanilla frosting that I used on my black and white cupcakes.

If you've tried this recipe, please RATE THE RECIPE and leave a comment below!

5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Doughnut Cupcakes

Yeast doughnuts in cute cupcake form.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword comfort food, easy dessert recipes, kid-friendly recipes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 24 Doughnut Cupcakes
Calories 207 kcal


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 C warm milk
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 C flour
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 package 1/4 oz yeast -The recipe called for instant. I used active dry. This may have been another big problem. Gigi's recipe, however, called for active dry yeast.
  • 5 t dutch process cocoa

Vanilla Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons water


Cupcake Instructions

  1. Whisk together the egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and cocoa powder. Slowly mix the milk mixture into the dry mixture until a dough forms. I found that using my hands worked best for this. Move the dough to a clean counter top and knead it until it is slightly sticky and elastic. Coconut and Lime suggested that you might need to add additional flour to make it reach this consistency. I actually needed to add additional water. Do whatever works for you. Put your dough ball into a buttered bowl. Cover and let sit for an hour or until it doubles in size.
  2. Roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Use 2.5 inch circle cookie cutters to cut doughnuts and 1 inch cookie cutters to cut the holes. Put doughnuts in cupcake wrappers in cupcake tins. Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour.

Vanilla Frosting Instructions

  1. Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If the icing is not easily spreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. If you will not be using it right away, cover the surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. With an offset spatula, spread icing over the cupcake.


Will There be a Doughnut Project?

Doughnut cupcakes were certainly a new challenge. By no means would I consider giving up cupcakes to make lots of doughnuts. It’s way too much work! Besides, doughnuts taste better fresh out of the oven / fryer and I can’t eat that many doughnuts at once. My cupcakes often still taste good a week after I bake them (stored in a Tupperware in the fridge).

Love it? Share it!

33 comments on “Chocolate Doughnut Cupcakes: Yeast is a Beast”

  1. Chadsays:

    I was slightly confused as I was eating one. It was good, but nothing like anything I’ve ever had before.

  2. Gigisays:

    Oh, I’m sorry you had a hard time with the yeast/beast. I look forward to your next cupcake.

  3. I could not tell from the first picture that they were a bust. Sorry they did not work out well for you but kuddos for trying and thank you for participating!

  4. Rachelsays:

    I think it was the yeast. You really can’t subsitute regular yeast for instant, it really effects the raising times.

  5. Your doughnuts look great. I had a little encounter with the yeast beast, sadly I lost. BOO YEAST! LOL

  6. Cherylsays:

    Donuts cupcakes, what a great idea. I love them.

  7. Aparnasays:

    I liked the idea of a doughnut cupcake. You coudn’t tell , from the picture, that it didn’t turn out well.

  8. Anonymoussays:

    The problem with changing the yeast is you need to bloom regular yeast in the warm milk for about fifteen minutes. You can add instant yeast with all of the dry ingredients no blooming required. Thats why you didn’t get much of a rise.

  9. lcsa99says:

    This was just a great recipe! You should definitely try it again with the instant yeast :)

  10. I just wanted to say that I too have encountered this so called yeast beast. I tried to make german stollen (a christmas fruit bread) for my family when I was in the states for christmas (I live in Berlin, Germany) and my dad purchased live yeast cubes from the fridge aisle rather than the packets of yeast the recipe called for. We ended up with hard, flat loaves that stayed gooey in the middle. Flavor was good, but eh on the rest. I just discovered your website today, and I love it! As soon as I get a working oven, (my current model has two modes, on or off, no in between) I will be introducing everyone I know here in Berlin to good old american cupcakes!

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