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Spiced donut muffins (and a wish list)

I want someone to wash all my dishes for me.

I want to live in a house with actual insulation and windows that close all the way.

I want my favorite shoes to never wear out, and I want an endless supply of Patagonia yoga pants.

I want to stop accidentally burning myself on the inside of my oven. (Do not ask me why this keeps happening.)

I want to be able to run more than twice a week without my knees staging a coup.

I want to eat a donut for lunch, then maybe a donut for a snack. Then a donut for breakfast the next morning.


I can’t do much about most of those, but that last one I can work with. 

A donut that’s not a donut can safely be consumed in volume. A donut that’s not a donut is a sneaky little friend. This not-donut donut isn’t your grandma’s donut. No frying allowed, friends!

Just make a super soft, pillowy, cakey muffin, packed with cinnamon and nutmeg.





Let your muffins puff up into a lofty dome, perfect for ….


… rolling in cinnamon sugar.

Yes yes, this is all going exactly as planned. Donut consumption coming soon!



These not-donut donuts are a near-perfect substitute for your favorite cake donut. You can’t really substitute for frying, of course, but the muffins have a lovely soft-yet-dense cake texture just like a donut, and the outer coating very well recreates the sensation of eating a freshly-fried donut. I chose cinnamon-sugar here at the request of our neighbor, but you can easily coat the outside with your favorite donut toppings – powdered sugar, chocolate or vanilla (or any other flavor) glazes, sprinkles, etc. And you could make these today for a party tomorrow, unlike a normal donut.

I’m looking forward to a lot more donuts that aren’t donuts in my future. Donuts that aren’t donuts for everyone!


Spiced donut muffins
Adapted from King Arthur

Makes 12 muffins.

For the batter:

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

For the topping:

  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

– Preheat oven to 425F.

– Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin. (You can use baking spray here instead, but you won’t get as crisp of an edge on your muffins.)

– In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

– In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugars until smooth, slightly fluffy, and slightly lightened in color (2-4 minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high).

– Add the eggs one at a time, reducing speed to medium if using an electric mixture. Add in the vanilla.

– Reduce mixer speed to low (if using), and add the dry ingredients (in three portions) and the milk (in two portions) to the butter mixture, alternating dry ingredients and milk and beginning and ending with the flour.

– Spoon the batter into the prepare pan, filling the cups nearly full.

– Bake the muffins for 14-16 minutes, until they’re a pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean or with only a few small crumbs.

– Let the muffins cool until you can comfortably handle them. Meanwhile, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a small bowl. When ready, coat the muffins lightly with the melted butter (a pastry brush works well for this) and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar (alternatively you could coat with powdered sugar, or skip the melted butter and coat with glaze). Muffins with store well (covered and at room temperature) for a day or so.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m sort of entranced by your photo of the beaten batter’s starburst pattern. Gorgeous!

    April 12, 2012
  2. Jessica #

    Thank you Bowen, for letting me sample your amazing spicy donut.
    This recipe is officially on my to do list.

    April 12, 2012
  3. i would love a donut that’s not a donut! these look awesome! and i’m with you on point 4 and 5.

    April 12, 2012
    • Thanks! I would love to give one to you … if I had any left!

      April 12, 2012
  4. Those look incredible. I think the rolling in sugar really sets these apart.

    April 12, 2012
    • Thanks, frugalfeeding! And it really tricks you into thinking you’re eating a donut. Can’t wait to try other glazes and coatings!

      April 12, 2012
  5. Hey! Great Blog. Love the Duffins!! I will be back definately.

    April 12, 2012
  6. Oh, this is going to be DANGEROUS!!!

    April 13, 2012
  7. Letitia #

    Hi- just made these this am and just found your version. I see you
    added in cinnamon and pre-mixed the dry ingredients which is different than
    the KAF recipe. Does it make a noticible change? Thanks.

    April 28, 2012
    • Hi Letitia! I added the extra spice in the batter just for a boost of spice flavor, which I really liked. And I always like to mix dry ingredients together before adding to any batter, mainly because it helps to more fully incorporate the dry ingredients throughout and to avoid lumps – especially helpful since you don’t want to overmix this batter. The bit of salt combined with the other dry ingredients helps to break up lumps, since it has bigger grains.

      April 28, 2012
  8. M K #

    I made these donut muffins today and they were absolutely MARVELOUS! I just hope the people close to me don’t find your recipe 😛

    I added icing to it – (speak of divine indulgence!) – by not dipping the tops in the sugar – just the sides. I think I will make a cinnamon frosting to go on it next time. Thank you!!

    May 27, 2012
    • MK – so glad you liked them! That icing idea sounds fabulous …

      May 27, 2012
      • M K #

        Hi again! Out of curiosity, the 2 2/3 cups of flour – was that sifted? I ask because the weight will change if it is sifted or not, and I am converting this recipe into weighted measurements as opposed to cups, etc.

        June 2, 2012
        • Unsifted – I’ll always specify if the flour is sifted, otherwise I don’t do it. Thanks for asking! I love working with weights when baking.

          June 3, 2012

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