Three red velvet donuts with cream cheese icing, stacked on top of each other on a white plate.

Red Velvet Cake Donuts

Red Velvet Cake Donuts with Cream Cheese Icing are the answer when you are looking for a quick but delicious breakfast!

Sometimes you just don’t have time to make an elaborate breakfast spread but you still have something for breakfast, right?

Well, look no further because this recipe for Red Velvet Cake Donuts is just the thing that you are looking for!

They are so quick and easy to stir together, bake in about 15 minutes, and the glaze is ready when the donuts come out of the oven!

This recipe makes about 12 regular-size cake donuts but it doubles and even triples very easily! Just click on the toggle button in the recipe card to easily double or triple the ingredients for you!

A red velvet cake donut on a saucer with a steaming cup of coffee being poured in front of a rainy window pane.

What Does Red Velvet Cake Taste Like?

Red Velvet Cake is essentially a chocolate cake but is a bit more rich and dense. The buttermilk gives the cake its richness while the cocoa powder lends a chocolate flavor that is not overwhelming but definitely noticeable.

The red food coloring is not necessary for the flavor of Red Velvet Cake Donuts. But the signature coloring does make these donuts pretty and festive for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or just because!

A dash of vinegar helps to intensify the red food coloring. For the most intense color, use gel coloring (I use Wilton). You can use liquid food coloring but you will need more coloring to achieve the same intensity of color.

Red Velvet Donuts on a white plate with cream cheese icing.

Ingredients Needed for this Recipe

The ingredients for these donuts are easy to keep on hand for that impromptu donut craving. You’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour – Good old All-purpose flour is the best option here!
  • Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar adds depth of flavor and additional moisture over granulated sugar.
  • Cocoa Powder – Using Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder will increase the depth of the chocolate flavor and also the brown color. You can use a lighter cocoa powder such as Hershey’s for a light color if you are also OK with a lighter chocolate flavor.
  • Baking Powder – No yeast in these donuts means no waiting for your dough to rise! Baking powder will provide all the rise that we need as it reacts to the acidic nature of the cocoa powder and buttermilk.
  • Salt – Salt is there to deepen the other flavors!
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use milk with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar as a substitute.
  • Unsalted Butter – Melt the butter and then make sure that it has mostly cooled before adding to the other liquid ingredients so that you don’t cook the eggs.
  • Vegetable Oil – Just a little bit of vegetable oil helps to keep these donuts moist for up to 3 days!
  • Vanilla Extract – Optional but recommended!
  • Eggs – Use room temperature eggs for a better emulsion of liquid ingredients and to keep the butter from curdling and not mixing in smoothly.
  • Distilled Vinegar – Helps to intensify the red coloring and give the distinctive red velvet flavor and texture.
  • Red Food Coloring – Technically, you don’t HAVE to use any food coloring in these Red Velvet Donuts at all. But everyone loves the signature red color!

For the Frosting, you will need:

  • Cream Cheese – Make sure the Cream Cheese is very soft. Full-fat cream cheese is the best choice to make sure that the icing is not too thin and soft.
  • Unsalted Butter – Like the cream cheese, make sure that your butter is very soft.
  • Vanilla Extract – Flavor enhancer!
  • Salt – Another flavor enhancer!
  • Powdered Sugar – Sift the powdered sugar to ensure that clumps are broken up.
  • Milk – The amount of milk used will depend on the consistency that you want your icing to be. Using about 2 tablespoons of milk will make an icing that you can spread. Using 3 to 4 tablespoons will thin the icing so that the donuts can be dipped.
  • Red Sprinkles, optional – I have seen people sprinkle donut crumbs on top of their icing for decoration. But I am not willing to sacrifice a whole donut for that! So I go for the red sprinkles!

How do you make Red Velvet Cake Donuts?

Making these red velvet cake donuts couldn’t be easier!

They essentially are made using the muffin method – wet ingredients in one bowl, dry ingredients in another bowl, and then stir them together! That’s it!

No mixer is required for the donuts but you will need a hand mixer or a stand mixer to make the icing. Once all of the icing ingredients have been added, whisk for about 1 to 2 minutes to make a light and fluffy frosting! Then add more milk if you want a thinner icing for dipping instead of spreading.

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Other Recipes to Try:

Baked Cinnamon & Sugar Donuts

Glazed Coffee Cake Donuts

Coffee & Baileys Donuts

Three red velvet donuts with cream cheese icing, stacked on top of each other on a white plate.

Red Velvet Cake Donut

Yes, you CAN have cake for breakfast! These Red Velvet Cake Donuts with Cream Cheese Frosting are the answer that you have been looking for!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 donuts
Calories 385 kcal


  • Donut pan(s) to make 12 donuts
  • Pan Spray


For the Donuts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or make your own, see NOTE
  • 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp distilled vinegar
  • Red Food Coloring gel preferred

For the Cream Cheese Icing

  • 5 ounces full fat cream cheese softened
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp Red Sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray doughnut pan/s with pan spray generously and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, distilled vinegar, and eggs. Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over-mix. Too much stirring and folding will cause the donuts to be tough and dense. Fold in the red food coloring and stir until combined.
  • Spoon the donut batter into the prepared doughnut pan/s, and bake for 13-16 minutes, or until the doughnuts spring back when pressed lightly on top. Allow doughnuts to cool a few minutes in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract on medium speed until completely smooth. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar. Add in the milk one tablespoon at a time. If you want to spread the frosting on the donuts, you will only use about 2 tablespoons of milk. If you want a thinner glaze, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time until it is smooth and dippable.
  • Spread the frosting on the cooled donuts with an offset spatula or dip into the thinner icing and add sprinkles.



  • Using Gel Food Coloring with a small amount of vinegar is the best way to get that gorgeous red color! You can leave the coloring out if preferred. The donuts will still taste delicious but will be a light to medium brown in color, depending on the color of your cocoa powder.
  • The recipe is adapted from
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use milk with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar as a substitute.


Serving: 1donutCalories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 334mgPotassium: 118mgFiber: 1gSugar: 59gVitamin A: 310IUCalcium: 93mgIron: 2mg
Keyword baked donut, baked donuts without yeast, baked doughnut, baked doughnuts, cake donuts, cake doughnuts, cream cheese frosting, cream cheese icing, red velvet,, sourthern recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

One Comment

  1. loved the video! your yellow hand held beater is very very sexy! 😉

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