You guys, recipes like this almost write the post for themselves.
Because really, what more can I say about these Baked Red Velvet Donuts other than Baked! Red! Velvet! Donuts!
This dessert (or breakfast or snack!) is perfect for all holidays, what with all the rich red color and the delicious chocolate flavor.
Donuts are always a crowd favorite, although they’re typically fried – which I’ve tried to do in the past, without much success – so the fact that these donuts are baked make them so much more loveable for how easy they are to throw together.
To make them you will need a donut pan for this recipe, so if you’d like to have homemade donuts in your house every week it would be worth picking one up. I was a little skeptical that the pan would work as well as they claimed, but as long as you don’t overfill it (pro tip: shoot for filling it half way) the donuts will turn out perfectly.
And even if you do overfill a few, don’t worry – those donuts will still taste just as good.
Because those less-than-perfect donuts?
They are the ones you get to eat on your own, fresh out of the oven with all the leftover frosting, before anyone else gets to have some.
Sometimes those are the donuts that taste the best.
In the past, I’ve decorated the donuts in two different ways: some I just dipped in powdered sugar, so the tops have a nice dusting of sweetness. It was a nice, light compliment to the moist donuts, and they looked beautiful.
But usually I whip up a super easy vanilla cream cheese frosting and drizzle it across the top, like the donuts pictured here.
I’m partial to the ones with the cream cheese frosting, but then red velvet always seems to go hand in hand with a little extra sweetness.
One thing I loved about this recipe was the use of oil over butter.
And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love butter (probably more than I should), but butter brings a lighter, fluffier texture to baked goods. Using oil makes everything a little bit weightier.
This choice might not be for everyone, but it’s what made the donuts so incredibly moist and spongy. They reminded me of muffins with holes in the middle.
And I am more than okay with that.
Other lovely red velvet recipes
This post was originally published on February 7th, 2015. It was updated with new pictures and revised recipe instructions on August 3rd, 2016.
Baked Red Velvet Donuts
For the Red Velvet Donuts
In a large bowl, shift together all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk*, canola oil, vanilla, red food coloring, and vinegar.
Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking them together until all the clumps are gone. Be careful not to overmix - stop mixing as soon as there are no longer any visible clumps. Batter will have a very heavy and wet texture. If desired, you can add more red food coloring at this stage to get a darker color.
Using an icing bag (or a Ziploc bag (gallon sized) with the corner cut out), pipe the donut mix into the donut pan. Fill the donut rings to about 1/2 full.
If using large donut pans, bake for about 10-12 minutes. If using a mini donut pans, bake for about 5-7 minutes.
For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
While the donuts bake, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Use a spatula to press the ingredients around until combined. Add a few splashes of milk to get the desired consistency. Icing should be smooth but not too drippy.
Putting It All Together
Let donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently remove them (can use a spatula or butter knife to help) and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Using another icing (or Ziploc) bag, decorate the donuts as you see fit. If you'd like to dip the tops of the donuts in the frosting, you may need to double the icing recipe and add up to 1/4 cup milk. If using powdered sugar for decoration, do not decorate donuts until just before eating. Donuts are so moist that they will "absorb" the powdered sugar if left to sit with the powdered sugar.
Donuts (especially baked ones) tend to have a shelf life of 1-2 days, so be sure to eat them while they're still good!
* If you don't have any buttermilk, you can make your own. Using a measuring cup, pour in either 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar. Then pour milk in the measuring cup, going up to 1/2 cup. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then use as buttermilk in the recipe.