Whether you consider a baked donut a real donut or not, these Salted Caramel Pumpkin Donuts will have even donut purists craving more. Call it what you want, these pumpkin donuts or cake-lets are full of fall flavors and covered in salted caramel. If these donuts are wrong, then we don’t even want to be right!
Warning: these Salted Caramel Pumpkin Donuts are can get a bit sticky, but in all the right ways. We love them freshly glazed, but waiting until the glaze sets makes them easier to scarf down. Finger-licking is totally appropriate.
The starburst of salted caramel is fun and festive, but the donuts will taste just as delicious with the caramel drizzled over the top. For the starburst pattern, start in the center of the donut and (while gently squeezing) move the bag over the donut and then back in around the donuts, like spoked on a wheel.
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Donuts
serves 12 to 15
1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoons salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a donut pan with softened butter or cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, and pumpkin until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Tip the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Fill the wells of the donut pan about 3/4 of the way full with the donut batter.* Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the donuts comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before popping out the donuts. Repeat with any remaining batter.
Salted Caramel Sauce
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream,
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the sugar, syrup, and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and cook without stirring until the mixture turns a medium amber color.
Once it reaches the correct color, remove from the heat. Slowly (and carefully) whisk in the cream (the mixture will bubble up a bit, so use caution).
Whisk in the butter until melted. Transfer the caramel to a heat-safe container and stir in the salt and vanilla. Let cool until thickened.
Salted Caramel Glaze
1/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Stir all of the ingredients together until combined and smooth. The glaze should be thick enough to cling to the donuts without running off, but thin enough that it settles smoothly on the top. Add more milk until the correct consistency is achieved (around the same consistency of honey or slightly thicker).
Place a wire cooling rack on top of a lines, rimmed baking pan (to catch the drips). Fill a small disposable piping bag (a zip-top bag or a piping bag fitted with a small round tip could also work), with the cooled caramel sauce.
Dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze. Lift the donuts up and allow any excess glaze to drip back into the bowl. Flip the donuts right-side up and place on the cooling rack. Snip the tip off of the piping bag to create a very small opening. Pipe caramel in a starburst patten on top of the glazed donuts.
Pipe the caramel sauce on to the glazed donuts before the glaze dries. You can dip then pipe a few donuts at a time before repeating.
Use a piping bag or mechanical scooper to easily and evenly fill the donut pan(s).
Donuts are best served the day (or day after) they are made.