German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

I’m funny sometimes.  I had no problem spending $100 on a new pair of heels the other day, but I didn’t want to spend $9 on a doughnut pan.  I guess I have my priorities.     😉

I’ve seen so many wonderful doughnut recipes out there and I finally broke down and bought a doughnut pan so I could join in on the fun of creating my own doughnut flavor.

Since these doughnuts are the first ones I’ve made, I wanted them to be memorable.  I think I nailed it with these German chocolate cake doughnuts.     🙂  These doughnuts  reflect the traditional flavors of a German chocolate cake.  They are a chocolate cake doughnut drizzled with caramel glaze and sprinkled with pecans and shredded coconut.

09German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts Recipe
(Makes 18 doughnuts)

Ingredients for Doughnuts:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour Measure your flour correctly!
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Caramel Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Ingredients for Topping:

  • sprinkling of shredded coconut
  • sprinkling of finely chopped pecan nuts

Directions for the Caramel Glaze:  (Make this AFTER baking the doughnuts!)

  1. In a medium sauce pan, over Low heat, melt the butter
  2. Stir in the dark brown sugar and milk and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and stir it until it’s smooth.

Directions for Doughnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a doughnut pan and set it aside.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder into a large bowl.
  4. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and whisk all together.  Set the dry ingredients aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
  6. Whisk in the melted butter until combined.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir them together until just combined.
  8. Spoon the batter into the greased doughnut pan filling each well about 3/4 of the way full.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
  10. Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Drizzle the warm caramel glaze over the doughnuts.
  12. Sprinkle the shredded coconut and finely chopped pecan nuts immediately.  The glaze needs to be warm so they stick to it.

Store in an air tight container at room temperature or in a freezer friendly bag in the freezer.


Baking tip:  Sift your cocoa powder.  I know it’s just one more step, but trust me, it’s important.  If you’ve worked with it before then you know that it is an ingredient that tends to get compacted.  I’ve tried to smush lumps out when I mix it together with the wet ingredients but that really doesn’t work very well.  Picture stirring hot cocoa mix into cold water.  You can stir all day and never make any headway.  Cake doughnut batter is a bit like a muffin batter.  Over mixing it is going to mess up the result.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to bite into a tough doughnut or worse, to find a pocket of cocoa powder.

01German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

It seems like doughnut pans come in all different sizes.  I used Wilton’s Nonstick 6 Cavity Donut Pan.  I find using a teaspoon is the easiest and least messy way to spoon the batter into the pan.  Sure it takes a little more time, but the wells in the pan are a tricky shape, and a mess at this step will result in very odd doughnuts indeed.

02German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

While the doughnuts are cooling, I made the glaze.  It should be a “drizzly” consistency.  You don’t want it too thin because it may soak into the doughnut and you don’t want it thick because it won’t come off the spoon.  The glaze should look opaque and it should be able to pull away from the spoon easily.

04German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

This caramel glaze is sweet and delicious.  Initially I wanted to cover the entire top of the doughnut with it, but I didn’t want the doughnut to be overly sweet since it’s covered with other fun goodies.  It is a breakfast treat, after all.  If you’re anything like me you probably don’t mind sweetness in the morning.  If the idea of caramel on the whole top sounds like the way you’d rather have your doughnuts then double the recipe for the topping and load them up.     😉

03German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

If you were wondering what else is on these highly decorated doughnuts the answer is shredded coconut and pecans just like you would find on a real German chocolate cake.

06German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

The doughnuts are so moist and chocolaty.  It’s an awesome base recipe that I will definitely use it again for other chocolate doughnut creations.

05German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

If you could create a doughnut, what would you make?  Go crazy…taco doughnut?  (Ok, I’m channeling my husband there.)     😉



4 Hats


German Chocolate Cake Doughnut recipe source: Tina’s Chic Corner

Doughnut base adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Caramel glaze adapted from: Krista’s Kitchen


Here are some of my other favorite chocolate treats for the morning.

Chocolate Crumb Cake

06=1Chocolate Crumb Cake


Chocolate Banana Muffins



High Domed Chocolate Chip Muffins



  1. Oh, Tina! I laughed…at your first paragraph. LOL. I have the same problem. LOL. But I’m even worse – I am looking for $1 used doughnut pan. I just don’t make doughnuts but seeing all those recipes out there I wanna try.

    Your doughnuts look amazing, my dear!!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you! I didn’t think I’d get use out of a doughnut pan, but now having it I know I’ll be making them more often. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.

      1. See, that’s another doughnut pan problem right there – I will want to squeeze out as much as I can out of that $1I paid for such a rare item like a doughnut pan, and will keep making doughnuts and getting fat.:)

        1. Tina says:

          I actually used that same rationale for a reason to NOT to buy a doughnut pan…lol. It was an arguement that my waistline lost. Thankfully I have a big family so I brought them to a family breakfast. 🙂

  2. Your paragraph could’ve described me! Except I haven’t broken down and spent the $10, though I’ve wanted to make donuts for forever. German chocolate donuts – sounds like something you’d get at a gourmet donut shop! The drizzle and toppings are SO pretty. Do these taste like cake or donuts? Either way, I wish I had one right now. These are going to drive me crazy, Tina! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Lol. Glad I’m not alone. 😉
      They taste like chocolate muffins/cake. To get that gourmet donut taste and feel, you would need a recipe that requires frying them (instead of baking).

  3. Well, I do prefer spending money on props and kitchenware instead of clothes and shoes… I guess I’m a bit of an odd teenager, right? 😉 Although I still haven’t got myself a donut pan (they’re way more expensive over here… about 20 euro I’d say…) but I need it, oh gosh, these dounts look like something I need to try. They look amazing! c:

    1. Tina says:

      It’s definitely fun buying props, especially when I find them on sale. I admit that I get excited when I buy new kitchen gadgets. I bought a new (and badly needed) spatula recently and I was raving about it for days. Is that normal? 😉
      Wow, 20 Euro is expensive. Hopefully one day you’ll own one. Although, since these are baked doughnuts, they are essentially muffins in the form of a doughnut so you could alway use a muffin pan to re-create these (you may need to adjust the oven time accordingly).

  4. A donut pan is still on my list of things to buy, one of these days! These donuts look amazing!

    1. Tina says:

      A new donut pan is dangersous because now I want to make them all the time! Have a great weekend Pamela. 🙂

  5. haha…I just ordered a donut pan…and was happy to have a 20% off coupon…it will be fun to try all the flavors out there

    1. Tina says:

      Wahoo for coupons! Have fun baking with your new donut pan. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  6. These look amazing! I love that you took a basic chocolate doughnut recipe and transformed it into something so incredible. So creative. I love German Chocolate Cake!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much Sally! Have a beautiful weekend. 🙂

  7. I got a doughnut cookbook a few weeks ago so now I definitely need to get a doughnut pan, especially after seeing your doughnuts. German Chocolate is a fabulous idea! I’ve been wanting to make a doughnut that somehow involves bananas 🙂

  8. Fall is all about the donuts and love your delicious caramel toppings. I think for your first time at making donuts you did a fantastic job. I bet that baking tin will get a lot more use. Take care, BAM

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much! Yes, I’ve already got ideas brewing for more doughnuts. 🙂

  9. These doughnuts look so good! What a smart idea to turn a german chocolate cake to doughnuts! Awesome.

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you!

  10. Monica says:

    Fall must be the perfect time for donuts! I just bought this donut pan (seriously!) about 2 weeks ago. I have ever intention of making some (never have) and these chocolate donuts are right up my alley. The inside looks ridiculously moist…looks scrumptious.

    1. Tina says:

      Yay for a new doughnut pan! I hope you have as much fun with it as I did with these doughnuts. 🙂

  11. Monet says:

    These certainly are memorable! What a great recipe to christen your pan with! Thank you for sharing. I love German Chocolate Cake so I know that these would be fast favorites!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks much! My mom loves everything German chocolate cake and she fell in love with them before she even tried them. 🙂

  12. Kelly says:

    These doughnuts looks fantastic Tina! Hehe, I felt the same way about the donut pan – I caved and got one in the summer and finally used it last weekend. Love that you made German Chocolate Cake doughnuts for your first batch – I would definitely have a hard time resisting the glaze too 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks Kelly! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  13. Sometimes I don’t buy new kitchen pans and tools just because I don’t need another thing to store and clean and use once in a great while. But shoes . . . those are clearly a necessity! That doughnut pan was so obviously worth it for these!

    1. Tina says:

      Yay, a fellow shoe-aholic. 😉 Thanks Laura. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  14. These looks amazing! I can’t wait to try! Hopping over from Will Cook for Smiles!

    1. Tina says:

      Love Will Cook for Smiles, especially her Saturday Show Stopper! Let me know if you end up trying them. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  15. These are perfect doughnuts! I would have never guessed that these were your first! They look amazing!

    1. Tina says:

      So sweet! Thank you. 🙂

  16. I am the same way with shoes…and things like the donut pan. I’m loving everything you did with these little donuts! The caramel glaze is calling my name…along with the moistness of the donut itself. You’re just amazing, and so creative! Already pinned!

    1. Tina says:

      You’re so sweet Gloria! Thank you so much. 🙂

  17. Ahhh, I know exactly what you mean! I was checking out the doughnut pans at Michael’s a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t want to spend $10 bucks on one. But then I just spent $90 on a dress for work and two pairs of shoes. Yes, a bargain but still more than a $10 doughnut pan!

    These donuts look amazing, Tina! I love how you decorated them. Pinned to my breakfast board!

    1. Tina says:

      Wow, awesome sale! I’m glad you went for the dress and shoes. 🙂

  18. Wow, these donuts look amazing! Love that you incorporated all the flavors of the German chocolate cake. And this $9 investment is already paying off!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much. 🙂

  19. Oh YUM! I don’t have a doughnut pan, but I might have to get one just for this recipe!

    1. Tina says:

      Lol. That’s awesome!

  20. Ashley says:

    Oh man, one of my friends would go nuts for these! They came out gorgeous! I don’t have a donut pan – I usually just make donut holes in my mini muffin pan instead haha. That too cheap to buy one thing comes out often : ) Even though I know I could get one for pretty cheap!

    1. Tina says:

      I’ve tried to make donuts holes in a mini muffin pan and they don’t look anything like donut holes. Maybe I’m putting too much batter in each tin. I’ll have to continue to experiment. My husband says he doesn’t care what it looks like as long as they taste good. Great man. 🙂

  21. Dina says:

    they look yummy!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  22. I’m so glad you spent the money on the donut pan because this is such a fantastic recipe! I love it so much! I can’t eat a German Chocolate cake because I think it’s too much caramel and coconut together, however this is not the case with these, these are just perfect! Thanks for sharing at Saturday Night Fever!

  23. I am seriously dying over these donuts!!! German chocolate cake donuts! I haven’t had German chocolate cake in forehhhhhvur and this looks like the perfect way to get a fix.
    Wanna know a secret though? I don’t have a donut pan either. Ha!
    Thanks for linking up at Saturday Night Fever! Be sure to check back & see if you were featured plus leave is some more treats!

    1. Tina says:

      I can’t believe I waited this long to buy a donut pan…that’s all I want to make now. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  24. Amanda says:

    Is it bad that I already own a doughnut pan? 😉

    These look amazing. I can’t wait to eat one!

    1. Tina says:

      Lol…donut pans are fun. 🙂

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