These donut cupcakes are super fun and incredibly easy. One box of donut mix makes six cupcakes with mini donuts for topping.
Bake time: 20-22 minutes for cupcakes, which includes 10-12 minutes for the mini donuts (when baked at 5400 ft)
What you'll need:
- One box of donut mix
- A standard size cupcake/muffin pan
- A mini donut pan (I used the Wilton mini doughnut pan for this recipe*)
- Oil, water, and butter, per the direction card in the donut mix box
- Spray oil
- Cupcake liners**
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. While the oven preheats, make the icing per the direction card in the box. For a thicker, no-drip icing, reduce the prescribed amount of water by 1 teaspoon. Cover the icing and set aside.*
3. Next, line six of the cupcake wells with cupcake papers or silicon cupcake molds. Set aside.
4. Spray six of the wells in the mini donut pan with spray oil and set aside.
5. Make the batter per the instruction card.
6. Start by filling the six mini donut wells with batter, being careful not to fill too full. I used a small cappuccino spoon to fill the wells as they are quite small. Set aside.
7. With the remaining batter, fill the six cupcake wells evenly.
8. Put the cupcake pan in the oven on the middle oven rack and the mini donut pan on the rack below the cupcake pan. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
9. When the timer goes off, check to see if mini donuts are done (mini donut tops should spring back when gently poked) and either remove from oven or set the timer or 2 more minutes. I baked the vanilla version for 10 minutes and the chocolate version for 12 minutes.
10. Once done, remove the mini donut pan and place on a cooling rack. Set the timer for another 10 minutes for the cupcakes still in the oven.
11. If the mini donut batter filled in around the hole while baking, use the thicker end of a chopstick (or a clean pinky finger) to create a hole while the donuts are still hot and in pan. Once the mini donut pan is cool to the touch, flip over onto the cooling rack to dislodge the mini donuts.
12. When the timer for the cupcake pan goes off, check to see if the cupcakes spring back or insert a toothpick to check for crumbs (you don't want to see any crumbs clinging to the toothpick). If they don't spring back or the toothpick doesn't come out clean, set the timer for 2-3 minutes more. I baked the cupcakes for 22 minutes here in Denver (at 5400 feet).
13. Once done, remove the cupcake pan and let cool on cooling rack for a few minutes before turning the cupcakes out. Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing. As you can see from the pictures, I did not follow this rule and my icing started to run a bit. Because there is less surface area on a cupcake than a donut, you want to ensure that the cupcake is totally cool so you can get a fairly thick coat of icing to help right-size the cupcake to frosting ratio.
14. While the cupcakes are cooling, frost and top the mini donuts. I like to work two at a time so the icing doesn't dry before I add the sprinkles.
15. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes with the remaining icing, aiming to get a thick coat but not so thick that it starts to run over the side (unless you like that look than go on with yo' bad self!)
As you can see in the picture, I did not add sprinkles to the top of the cupcake because I liked how it looked without them but if you want to add sprinkles to the cupcakes as well as the mini donuts, I recommend that you put the mini donut on first so it can better adhere to the cupcake and then sprinkle around it.
16. If not serving right away (and for leftovers), these cupcakes stay freshest when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To serve, just remove and left sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.
And with chocolate donut mix...
By the way, I didn't have any birthday candles but imagine how cute these would be with a brightly colored birthday candle smack in the center of each mini donut!
*Wilton makes two different mini donut pans, one that produces three bite donuts and one that produces a one to two bite donut. The larger of the two mini pans does not use the word mini on the packaging, and instead is described as having 12 cavities. The super mini pan is referred to as "mini" on the front of the packaging. I used the smaller of the two, the truly "mini" version for this recipe.
**While I generally advocate for the lowest waste option, cupcake liners can be extremely practical at parties and events where folks can just grab a cupcake and don't need a plate or napkin. I like the If You Care and Chef Papier brands. Both are unbleached, biodegradable, and backyard compostable.