These delicious Easter donuts are decadent and rich even though they are baked in the oven and not fried. The moist devil's food cake donuts are packed with chocolate flavor and loaded with a chocolate ganache frosting and a sprinkling of chopped chocolate Easter candy for a sweet surprise in every bite!
My family loves donuts, and we especially love double chocolate donuts. Whenever we buy a dozen at our local donut shop, we buy one glazed and one eclair for Allie, a peanut butter cup for Grace, and all the rest chocolate frosted chocolate donuts. They are just so good.
While donuts themselves are not the healthiest of foods, they are at their worst when they are deep fried, as almost all donut shops prepare them. I will admit that this gives them an amazing flavor, but it is just so unhealthy.
Wouldn't it be great if you could make your own donuts at home and make them a little healthier? Well my friend, YOU CAN! All you have to do is bake your donuts instead of frying them, and you will have delicious and significantly healthier double chocolate donuts.
I am salivating just thinking about these because they are so darn amazing.
How to make double chocolate baked Easter donuts
For the donuts:
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Prepare the donut pans with a generous amount of cooking spray (my preference), butter (best flavor), or shortening and dust with cocoa powder. If using butter or shortening, turn the pan upside down over the sink and tap gently to knock any excess cocoa loose. (If you turn upside down with cooking spray, it will run out into the sink and make a big mess.) You could alternately dust with flour, but then your finished donuts will have white specks all over the outside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Be sure to use BOTH baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs in a larger bowl. Add the melted butter a little at a time until incorporated. (If you add the hot butter quickly, it might cook the beaten eggs.) Add packed brown sugar.
- After these are thoroughly combined, add the cocoa powder and whisk until blended.
- Working slowly, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, approximately ⅓ at a time, to the wet ingredients, and mix with a wide spatula until just combined.
- Fold in ½ cup of the chopped candy with the same spatula until distributed.
- Spoon batter into the wells of the prepared donut pan, approximately ¼ cup per regular size donut, filling the wells only halfway. The batter will rise while cooking.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes.
- Unmold donuts and place in a single layer on a cooling rack. If you have prepared the pan well, the donuts should fall right out when you turn the pan over.
- Cool completely before frosting. You can't frost a hot donut because the frosting will melt, run all over, an make a giant mess.
For the ganache topping
- While the donuts are cooling, prepare the chocolate ganache. Add heavy cream and chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and heat at full power in 20 second increments. After each increment, stir thoroughly for at least 30-45 seconds.
- Allie and I learned that chocolate chips never lose their shape even when completely melted, so in order to get smooth melted chocolate, you have to stir stir stir. It should only take 3-4 rounds of 20 seconds in order to melt your chocolate completely. When the chocolate is smooth and creamy with no lumps, it is ready to frost the donuts.
Note - if the chocolate softens a bit but then gets hard or grainy, you have burned it. There is no way to recover burned chocolate, so you will have to trash it and start over.
- Hold a donut upside down and dip in the frosting.
- Garnish as desired with sprinkles and the remaining ½ cup chopped M&M eggs as well as whole eggs if desired.
- Return donut to the cooling rack to set. Continue until all donuts are frosted and garnished.
You will need a couple of donuts pans for this recipe!
This recipe is super easy to prepare, but you do need some kind of donut pan. I have both a set of regular 3-inch donut pans from Wilton via Amazon and a set of mini donut pans from Pampered Chef, and they both work really nicely for this recipe.
Be sure to prepare your donut pan well to prevent donuts from sticking. I think most people would use flour to prepare the pan, but this will leave your chocolate donuts with white flecks all over them. I prefer to dust with cocoa powder when I am making chocolate baked goods. Cocoa powder can be a little bitter if you use too much, but you can always brush off any excess when you frost the donuts.
If you would like to pipe the batter in the pan, do not use a piping tip as crushed M&m’s can get stuck. Alternately cut a hole in a large ziplock bag or disposable piping bag.
You can make the buttermilk instead of buying it.
You can make your own buttermilk for this recipe by adding a teaspoon of white vinegar to the ⅔ cup of milk and allow it to stand for 5 minutes before adding to the mixing bowl.
Tips for garnishing the donuts
Sprinkle donuts with candy as soon as possible safter frosting as the sprinkles will not adhere once the ganache is set.
You can substitute chocolate chips or any chopped candy for the M&Ms if you prefer. Any flavor of M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, even toffee bits or peanut butter chips would be nice. There are no limits on the variations you could use!
Storing homemade donuts
Store leftover donuts on the counter in an airtight container for 2-3 days - if they last that long!