Valentine’s Day Recipe: Chocolate cake donuts your family will love

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Chocolate cake donuts your family will love

by Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Annette Merfalen
Annie's Chamorro Kitchen

Moist chocolate cake…chocolate chips…chocolate ganache…enough said.

Seriously, though. If you are like me, you LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate! Take a moist chocolate cake batter load it with chocolate chips, bake it into a donut, then dredge it in a rich, creamy chocolate ganache and you’ll be in Heaven!!

Give my recipe a try. I know you’ll love it!


Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, or instant coffee granules
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate icing:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 8 tablespoons heavy cream

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Toppings (Optional):

  • Sweetened coconut flakes
  • Toffee bits
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate cookie bits
  • Multi-colored sprinkles


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

1. Place the flour into the bowl.

2. Add the cocoa powder. It isn’t necessary to sift the cocoa powder; just dump it in the bowl.

3. Add the brown sugar.

4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder (or instant coffee granules). You can omit the espresso powder if you’d like. However, I find that the coffee enhances the flavor of the cocoa, making the donuts taste so much more rich and decadent.

5. Add the buttermilk powder.

If you can’t find buttermilk powder in your grocery store, use 3/4 cup of liquid buttermilk INSTEAD OF the buttermilk powder and 3/4 cup water. Add the buttermilk with the wet ingredients as described below.

Another easy substitution for buttermilk is to place 1 teaspoon of either white vinegar or lemon juce in a cup. Mix in enough regular milk to make 3/4 cup of total liquid (milk plus vinegar). Stir to combine, then let the mixture sit for a minute or so (it will thicken a bit). Again, you’d omit the buttermilk powder and 3/4 cup of water if you did it this way. Add the milk-vinegar mixture with the wet ingredients as described below.

6.  Add the chocolate chips. I guess I should have named these Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Donuts, huh?

7. Use a whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients together. Or, you can use a fork.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients:

1. Place the eggs, water, vanilla extract, and melted butter into the bowl; stir to combine. Note: after melting the butter, let it sit for a minute or so to cool slightly.

2. Spoon the batter into the wells of your pre-heated donut maker, filling according to manufacturer’s instructions. I use a small cookie scoop to fill my donut maker with about 2 tablespoons of batter. My donut maker has a non-stick surface; if yours is not non-stick, spray each donut well with butter-flavored cooking spray.

3. Bake per your donut maker’s instructions, or until the donuts feel slightly firm to the touch. My donut maker has a light that turns green when the donuts are done.

4. Remove the donuts from the donut maker. These can get very hot, so be careful when taking the donuts out of the donut maker.

5. Place the donuts on a wire wrack to cool. Ensure the donuts cool completely before icing.

6. To make the chocolate icing: Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl.

7. Heat for 45 seconds then remove from the microwave and stir with a fork (or use a whisk), mixing until the icing is shiny, smooth and creamy.

8. If the chocolate chips aren’t melted enough after stirring (you still see chunks of chocolate), heat for another 10-15 seconds then stir again.

9. After the donuts are cool, dip the top of each one in the warm icing.

10. Place the iced donuts back on the wire wrack to allow the frosting to set (or you can just devour them at this point!).

Note: If you don’t have a donut maker, simply use a muffin pan.

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