Baking Tips

Squeaky Little Wheel Bakery Donut Mixes are designed to be super fast and easy. Since launching, we've continued to experiment with baking and decorating techniques to streamline the process, ensure a beautiful and delicious end product, and identify the best way to store uneaten donuts. Please read on for our top tips.

 

1. Accounting for elevation above 7000 feet. 

Our mixes were created and perfected in Denver, Colorado, at 5400 feet above sea level. Our mixes have been purchased, gifted, and shared by folks throughout the U.S. and Colorado and we've been delighted to see that our donuts bake consistently with no modifications to the directions or ingredients.

That being said, we have found that increasing the oven temperature from 350 degrees to 375 degrees, and adjusting bake time from 15-17 minutes to 13-15 minutes for regular size donuts, results in fluffier donuts when baked above 7000 feet. For more tips on baking above 7000 feet, click here.

2. Resist the urge to pipe the donut batter into the pan with a plastic bag.

We know everybody says it's so much simpler to put the batter in a ziploc, snip the corner, and voila, perfectly piped donuts but that short term decision has a lasting consequence. That bag will remain in the landfill long after those donuts were enjoyed. Take a few extra minutes and spoon the batter into the pan. We promise you, they will be just as pretty and taste just as good, plus you'll feel good about your eco-friendly choice!

For a visual guide to baking donuts, click here.

3. Be sure to set the timer for the low end of the suggested bake time.

We bake our donuts for 17 minutes, however, if you suspect that your oven bakes hot (or you aren't sure), we suggest you actually check them at 15 minutes as we have heard from some customers that 17 minutes was a bit too long in their oven, resulting is a slightly drier donut. We've updated the directions on our newest batch of direction cards to reflect this new time recommendation (15-17 minutes).

4. Let donuts cool in pan, if you have time.

To keep the donuts extra moist, let the donuts cool entirely in pan before turning them out to ice. To ensure that they don't stick to the pan upon cooling, cool for 2-3 minutes in pan then flip the pan over to dislodge the donuts, then put the donuts back in the pan to cool the rest of the way. Letting the donuts cool in the pan takes longer than cooling out of the pan but we think the extra time is worth it. 

5. Make the icing in advance if you have time.

These donuts come together super quick but are even quicker when you make the icing a few hours or even the night before. In fact, we think the icing flavor improves if left to sit a bit (on the counter, not fridge). This is particularly true with the German Chocolate Cake icing. Because we use unsweetened shredded coconut in the German Chocolate Cake icing, the icing benefits from the extra time as the coconut softens a bit more.

Note, when you make the icing in advance you will likely need to add a little water later to thin it out. This is a must for the chocolate icing. We prefer our chocolate icing a bit thicker but you can make it as thin as you want. Just remember, you can always add more water but you cannot take it back it out so be conservative. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of water, stir well and add another 1/2 teaspoon, stir and repeat only if necessary. 

6. Ice and top a few at a time.

When finishing your donuts, you may find it easiest to ice and top a few at a time rather than icing all six at once and following with the toppings. In a warm kitchen the icing can begin to set before you have had a chance to top all the donuts and the toppings may not adhere as well.

7. Oil recommendations.

We prefer (and use) refined coconut oil in our donuts. Though the flavor is slight, both vegetable oil and canola oil have a detectable flavor in some baked goods, especially vanilla donuts or cake. If you love the taste of coconut, feel free to swap refined coconut oil for virgin coconut oil.

8. Alternative butter recommendations.

When it comes to dairy-free butter we like and use two different kinds in our donut icing. For most of our icings we have found that Earth Balance Sticks (we use the soy free version) work best as they are the most flavor neutral. However, for our German Chocolate Cake donut we prefer Miyoko's European Style Cultured Vegan Butter. Miyoko's lends a cream cheese-like lactic acid flavor that works well with the coconut and pecan topping. Please note, Miyoko's butter does contain cashew.

9. Give the donut pan a good coat of oil.

There doesn't have to be a lake of oil in there but make sure that the whole donut well and stem are oiled. There's nothing worse than a donut that has to be coaxed out of the pan because it's clinging to the stem! If you do flip your donut pan and the donuts don't just fall out on their own, run a thin rubber spatula between the donut pan and the donut ever so gently, then flip the pan over again. 

10. Be patient and let them cool.

We know this is a tough one but the cooler they are, the better they look when you frost them. You want a nice full coverage coat of icing. If you try to ice them while they are still warm, you will end up with a sheer glaze on the donut and a whole lot of wasted icing on the plate. 

11. No donut pan? No problem!

These cake donut mixes are incredibly versatile and can be used to make many different types of cakes and desserts.

CupcakesSee step-by-step directions.

Donut Cupcakes - See step-by-step directions.

Mini Cakes - See step-by-step directions.


Loaf - See step-by-step directions.

12. Storing leftovers. 

Okay, it's unlikely that you will have leftovers but it could happen. Donuts do not hold up well when stored in a food storage container with the lid snapped on and left on the counter. Both the donut and icing will become soft and gooey in a matter of hours. Best bet? Leave the food storage lid partially off or off entirely. Enjoy those slightly firm day olds with your morning cup of coffee. Best dunkers EVER!

13. If you enjoy cold cake, you’ll love these donuts chilled.

The trick here is to let the donuts cool completely after icing and topping then store the donuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Donuts kept in an airtight container can last for a few days. Just be sure to let them sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving. This is one option if you are planning to take donuts to work or an event the next morning.

14. Best make-ahead method.

If you want donuts for the following morning but you don't want to have to get up super early, we recommend this method. Simply make the donuts and icing the night before. Store the icing in an airtight container on the counter. Store the cooled and unfrosted donuts in an airtight container in the fridge. In the morning, pull the donuts out to warm up a bit. Add a little water to the icing (1/2 teaspoon) and stir. Repeat with another 1/2 teaspoon if needed. Frost and top the donuts. We recommend storing the donuts in the refrigerator at work unless you are serving right away.