Hey… do you want a fried ball of chocolate every single Friday? Because I do.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

Make sense of this nonsense: these taste like balls of chocolate cake. They didn’t quite imitate those perfect little chocolate munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, but instead tasted like straight up… chocolate cake. So are they donuts or are they cake? The world will never know.

No complaining here. The birthday dessert that was supposed to last all week lasted for about… 24 hours. Whomp whomp.

Totally worth it though.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

The birthday boy even helped me make these, and when I say “helped me make these” I really mean that I asked him to sift and resift the flour and cocoa powder about 37 times while I tried to take a photo. I think this was during a very inconvenient time for him because he was glued to the TV and huffed and puffed quite a bit. Before that he didn’t even know what sifting was and for as long as I made him hold it and at such an awkward angle… I bet he got an arm workout. Happy birthday to him. Now he will probably be even more inclined to cut the sleeves off of three shirts today.

It’s rare that I cook or bake or photograph much when he is home since it is my (let’s use this term loosely) work, and I much prefer to spend the time face planted on the couch or eating all the tacos or exhausting a good 30 minutes googling gangnam style because I have no freaking idea what it is, and after I sort of learn what it is I still have no freaking idea what it is, because I am so unhip and not with it and definitely think my computer is correct when it autocorrects gangnam style to gingham style. Because I certainly know what that is. And it just makes more sense.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

But boy… sort of glad I was able to squeeze these in between googling.

They weren’t the REAL LIFE birthday dessert last night since we consumed them at lightening speed, but I sort of wished they were because it would have at least made the evening a bit more exciting. I mean, it’s not that I don’t consider eating dinner at an unusually early time of 6:30 then passing out while watching Despicable Me exciting… but yeah. It was pretty wild and crazy.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

Our elderliness is concerning. At least we still eat like jerky teenagers.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

Oh and I actually preferred these with sprinkles (because I guess I’m also seven years old inside) AND AND AND they add some texture so yes… totally do that.

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com


Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes

Yield: about 3 dozen donut holes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
vegetable oil for frying

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and salt.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring with a large spoon until a dough forms. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, and roll dough into balls just slightly smaller than golfball size.

Add vegetable oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Once it reaches 350 degrees F, add 2-3 donut holes at a time, frying for 2-3 minutes. I tossed mine a few times during the frying process, just using a slotted spoon to continually flip them over. One finished, remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Once all the donut holes have been fried, dip in the glaze them set on wire rack. Allow to set for 10-15 minutes for simple glazed donuts. If you want sprinkled donuts, immediately roll in sprinkles after glazing and let sit until set.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more water about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, whisking well for at least 30-60 seconds.

[slightly adapted from martha stewart]

Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes I howsweeteats.com

These really are so fluffy I’m gonna die.

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143 Responses to “Glazed and Sprinkled Chocolate Cake Donut Holes.”

  1. #
    Taylor K. — October 1, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Ok I basically want to make everything on your blog but this recipe is especially enticing! These look delicious!


  2. #
    Jen — October 7, 2012 @ 4:30 am

    Well, I made these today for a big group of guys that my husband and I get together with every couple of weeks…I figured it would be a good breakfast treat since we usually gather relatively early in the morning and hang out all day. The doughnut holes…were not. I will fully admit that this is probably my fault since I 1) didn’t have buttermilk so I used sour milk instead, and 2) I doubled the batch, which doesn’t always work as well as you might think for some recipes. Firstly, they were very, very wet and goopy and almost impossible to roll into balls — the dough just stuck to my hands and got everywhere. I had to flour my hands after every ball rolled in order to get the next one done. Then when I tried frying them, they absorbed a LOT of the oil and became really greasy and gross tasting.
    So as doughnut holes, they were a fail…but as chocolate crinkle cookies, they turned out pretty dang good! After the first 3 doughnut holes were a flop, I decided the dough looked enough like a really sticky cookie dough that I might be able to drop spoonfuls of it into powdered sugar, roll them into balls, and bake them (350 for 10 minutes.) Our friends loved them just the same and were none the wiser that they were actually supposed to be doughnut holes.
    I am looking forward to trying this recipe again when I have buttermilk…and not a group of 20 hungry guys to feed so I don’t have to double the batch.


    • Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please — October 21st, 2012 @ 10:55 am

      I found that oiling my hands (with a bit of canola, same as I used for frying) made the rolling much easier. Without oiling, I had to wash my hands after two or three donut holes. With oiling, though, I could do eight before I had to stop to wash and re-oil.


    • Julie Guertin — April 27th, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

      I also used sour milk and the dough wasn’t firm enough to roll into balls. I add about 1/3 cup of flour and the came out perfectly!


    • sk — April 28th, 2013 @ 10:33 am

      I used a 1 Tbs cookie dough scooper. I dipped it into the hot oil and scooped out uniform doughnut balls and avoided getting my hands into a sticky mess. They took about 4 minutes to fry, with the oil between 325-350. The doughnuts turned out larger than I’d prefer and I recommend using a smaller cookie scooper if you have one. Otherwise, doughnuts were very tasty!


  3. #
    Alyssa — December 9, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

    I made these as a test before a brunch I am throwing. It is a good thing! Everything was super easy until I tried to fry them! They burnt instantly. Any suggestions to prevent burning?


  4. #
    Tia — December 30, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    Our family loved these! I made these this morning with my new “cake pop and donut hole” maker and they were really quite good! I wasn’t the biggest fan of the glaze (the consistency was good, but the taste wasn’t that great). but, all in all the recipe was pretty great. :-)


  5. #
    Stephanie — January 22, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

    I literally stumbled onto your blog looking for a recipe for chicken and dumplings in the Crock for my other half and have been sitting here for an hour and a half just reading your blog. You are way too funny and your recipes all sound so good and I love that you love all things girl. Bookmarked!


  6. #
    Gail — February 12, 2013 @ 11:25 am

    This is a question, not a comment. Can these be baked instead of fried?
    They look yummy!!!!


  7. #
    maple — April 24, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    I made these yesterday, without the glaze. They’re SO good! Tender and chocolatey. I highly recommend that you make them! I suggest once the oil reaches about 345, turn the heat to low so the oil doesn’t get too hot and hovers around 350.


  8. #
    Melinda — September 17, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

    Instead of sour milk as a buttermilk substitute, try sour cream for more thickness and great flavor. It usually works for me as it thins a little when mixed into baked goods. Chocolate sour cream donuts with a vanilla glaze are my personal favorite.
    Just found the website and LOVE IT!!! Your directions are clear without being so detailed that they annoy me because they’re overloaded with what’s obvious. Keep it up! Making Brownie Bundt cake this weekend.


  9. #
    Becky — November 4, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

    Making these now, as I type. Absolutely yummo. I placed a drop of vegetable oil on my hands to make it easier to roll and added some butter and almond flavors to the icing. Not sure I’m going to share.


  10. #
    Bakedancerv — December 15, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

    I tried these and I thought when I rolled them ohh they will taste great. They taste sour and tarty they were not very good I will probably not use this recipe again.


  11. #
    Sincerely Disappointed — June 12, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    This recipe was complete rubbish! Especially the method in which the dough was to be cooked; it took far too long and yielded revolting results. Perhaps, probably, it was indeed our fault in some matter or way, but I do not foresee ourselves attempting this again. It had a bitter aftertaste, but maybe that was due to the accidental excess of flour we used. It was much too much trouble for the taste I perceived. However, I appreciated the fact that you put yourself out there and created this unique blog dedicated to food fancy’s. Thank-you for your time.


  12. #
    ummi khalid — June 19, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    hi i stumbled upon this recipe just after trying another which failed. i got the same result a big goopy mess! so i kept adding flour and kneading into the goop until was able to roll into balls with oiled hands i then fried them but i had made them too large and they split open. so i took the other balls and halved them and fried. they’re not good not bad either. i suppose practice makes perfect but i really dont like the taste of my home made munchkins so ill most definately prefer buying them…


  13. #
    Molly — October 4, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

    I have to say I don’t quite understand all the negative reviews of this recipe. I always read through reviews before trying a recipe, and since the reviews of this one seemed split down the middle and I couldn’t easily find another chocolate donut recipe, I decided to go for it. The recipe was easy to follow, and when it came to stirring all the ingredients together I decided to knead the dough with my hands instead. After a couple of minutes this created a very pliable dough ball, and I was able to easily tear pieces off to form into balls. I did have to rinse my hands twice while forming the balls, but I did not oil my hands and considering this made almost three dozen donut holes I did not think two rinses was too bad. I fried them in my deep frier, about two minutes each, and didn’t have any issues with them breaking apart or any issues frying at all. Once they were done, I glazed some and left some plain. The glaze does add a nice sweetness, but the unglazed were good too. They had a nice crisp outer layer and were fluffy and moist on the inside. They are BETTER warm and fresh, but are still good either way (I just had some leftovers later in the day and they’re still yummy). The only thing I did differently from the recipe was using dark chocolate cocoa powder instead of regular, and this definitely gave the donuts a darker. richer taste. I will definitely be making these again!


    • Anna C. — November 21st, 2014 @ 10:03 am

      What i can not understand is how you were able to knead the dough in the first place! Ive tried this recipe twice, and though the outcome was pretty good ( except for the fact that some split- im guessing they were too big?), the rolling and making was a hassle. Even though i copied the recipe word for word, the dough was always way too soft and goopy to roll without getting it all over your hands. It was impossible to knead or roll or anything. I dont think the cocoa shouldve made a difference, is there any other tip you can give me? Like something else you did? Please reply soon, Anna Carter


  14. #
    Pat — May 23, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

    Before you state “I will not do these again” because something went wrong. You need to look at; Did I do something wrong. Did I add or not add enough of a certain ingredient. I make everything from breads to doughnuts. More often than not, you can figure out the problem.

    All thick batters that your going to roll out or shape, need to be refridgerated for at least an hour, preferably two. This allows the flour to truly absorb the liquids. It also allows chemical reactions to occur within the dough. And more importantly, the dough is firmer and more manageable after being refridgerated.

    If you add extra flour to make the batter thicker, you also have to increase the cocoa and sugar, otherwise your going to lose the flavor. It will be bland.
    Flour makes it bland, adding cocoa makes it bitter, Adding sugar makes it sweet.
    More flour also means a denser cake.

    If you don’t have buttermilk, add a tsp of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk.
    You need the vinegar to activate the baking soda. Too much vinegar or lemon juice will just give you a sour taste. There are versions online for using yogurt and sour cream as substitutes for buttermilk as well.

    Honestly, the first time you make donuts or donut holes, they’re a pain in the rear. You just have to do it a couple of times, to really get the handling process down and it becomes no more difficult than making any other treat.

    Likewise, the more you bake, the easier to becomes to figure out what went wrong and what to change or substitute to get a final product you love.

    Like baking bread, it takes a dozen attempts and lots of learning before you make a nice light fluffy loaf of bread. If you do it once and give up, you’ll only make bricks.

    Figure out where you went wrong and try it again.



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