Perfectly spiced and topped with a delicious cinnamon cream cheese icing, these Baked Carrot Cake Donuts are truly the best! In less than 30 minutes, you too can have moist and chewy donuts for breakfast.
This recipe was originally published in April of 2021, but was updated on Feburary 22, 2022 with newer content and fresh pictures.
These carrot cake donuts are full of those warm spices that are normally found in a classic carrot cake, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, except they're in a soft-baked donut.
Carrot cake anything is perfect for Easter or any Springtime day, especially when there is cream cheese frosting. Trust me when I say you'll enjoy every soft and fluffy bite of these donuts!
Looking for even more easy breakfast recipes? Then check out these: cinnamon streusel coffee cake, banana carrot muffins, and strawberry banana bread.
Why You'll Love These Donuts
- They're perfectly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- The freshly grated carrots make them moist and chewy.
- They're baked, not fried.
- The cinnamon-spiced cream cheese glaze goes perfectly with the cakey donut.
- This recipe makes 6 irrisistable donuts!
It's super important to freshly grate your carrots instead of buying already shredded carrots from the store. We want maximum moisture from those carrots to help make the donuts super soft and fluffy.
And since these donuts are baked, not fried, they truly are fool-proof and less messy.
Expert Baking Tips
- Donut Pan: Since we are making donuts you will need a donut pan. I’d recommend a silicone donut pan like this one or a non-stick one. I have both of these and use them interchangeably.
- Carrots: You will want to freshly grate your carrots instead of buying them that way from the store. This helps the donuts to be moist, so please don't skip this step!
- Donut Batter: I find it so much easier to scrape the donut batter into a pastry bag or a zipped-up sandwich bag and pipe the batter into the donut cups. This method makes it less messy too.
- Glaze: If you find your cream cheese glaze to be slightly lumpy, just heat it up in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds. Then use a whisk to mix everything together again.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- Baking Powder: I find that donuts rise better with baking powder instead of baking soda.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are the three spices I love to use in all of my carrot cake recipes.
- Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and chewiness.
- Milk: I used 2% milk but feel free to substitute it with your milk of choice.
- Yogurt: Using yogurt in baked goods help them to be more moist and soft. You can use either plain or vanilla yogurt. If you don't have yogurt, you could even use sour cream.
- Carrots: You'll need about 1 large carrot, freshly grated.
- Cream Cheese: Always use the brick-style cream cheese for baking.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make these carrot cake baked donuts.
Step 1: Dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves in a medium-sized bowl.
Step 2: Wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Combine the ingredients. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently fold together using a silicone spatula. Then fold in the shredded carrots.
Step 4: Bake. Pipe the donut batter into the donut cups and bake for 9-11 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then place them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Step 5: Make the glaze. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and creamy using an electric stand mixer. Then add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk and beat on med-high speed for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Step 6: Assemble. Once the donuts have cooled, dip them into the glaze and place them back onto the wire rack. Once set, serve immediately and enjoy!
Although donuts are best consumed the day of, they will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you do, since we're making donuts. I recommend Wilton's non-stick donut pan (I have two of these) or this silicone one.
This will sometimes happen if your cream cheese and butter were not at room temperature before making. To fix this, simply microwave your glaze for about 8 seconds. That will melt any lumps and make a smooth glaze.
More Donut Recipes
Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
- Donut Pan
- Mixing Bowls
Carrot Cake Donuts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves, ground
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons yogurt, plain or vanilla
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup freshly grated carrots
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 ounces cream cheese (block-style), room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 6-count donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Carrot Cake Donuts
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently fold together using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until combined (be careful not to over mix). Then gently fold in the grated carrots.
- Scoop the batter into a piping bag or a zipped-up sandwich bag. Simply cut a corner off of the bottom of the bag and pipe the donut batter into each donut cup, filling it up about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the donuts for 9-11 minutes (10 minutes is perfect for me). To check if the donuts are done, touch the top of one carefully with your finger. If it bounces back, they're done. You could also take a toothpick to check the center. If it comes out clean, then they're done. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully removing them and setting them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and creamy (about 1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk and beat on med-high speed for an additional 1-2 minutes. Scrape the glaze into a small bowl and if it's slightly lumpy, heat in the microwave for about 8 seconds. Use a whisk to mix everything together.
- Once the donuts have cooled, dip them into the glaze and place them back onto the wire rack (feel free to dip the donuts twice for extra glaze!). Once set, serve immediately and enjoy!
- Keep leftover donuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady
Oh wow these donuts look amazing. I haven't made baked donuts in a while. I think this is the perfect recipe to try next!
I love carrot cake so these donuts are sure good with the flavors of cinnamon. Ive never had a carrot cake donut before, something to try!
I love baked donuts, and have not tried carrot cake ones before! These look amazing, I can see the spices in them and that cream cheese glaze looks divine!
Thank you, Sarah! Baked donuts are so fun to make and way easier than fried. 🙂