Grandma’s Best Donuts

This old fashioned donut recipe creates cake donuts that are crispy on the outside and give way to a perfectly soft and cakey center, making these an amazing breakfast treat!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe EVER! #cakedonut #donuts #breakfast #donutrecipe

Oh my word, you guys. I know that I gave myself the title of donut (doughnut?) queen, but really, the title goes to my grandma. I’m just the donut princess.

My grandma created the best dang cake donut recipe ever and I’ve been dying to share it with you. Anytime I make it, I get shot straight back to my childhood. Visiting my grandma on vacation, waiting impatiently for her to fry up these unbelievable donuts, and then eating them until I’d make myself sick. She would often serve the donuts plain, straight from the fryer. I prefer them tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, but powdered sugar or a glaze works great as well.

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

These are cake donuts, which means there is no wait time! The donuts have baking powder in them to help them rise, instead of yeast. You’ll love these donuts because they are so easy!

I just know you’ll love this old fashioned donut recipe!

I know many people don’t like to fry, so here are my best tips. Invest in a thermometer! They cost about five dollars and are worth every penny. You want to keep your oil at a consistent temperature so that your donuts don’t get too greasy. Greasy donuts means your oil isn’t hot enough! 375 degrees is perfect for these donuts.

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

My grandma’s cake doughnut recipe is the best I’ve ever tried – even beating out donut shops!

After you’ve fried the donuts, you can keep the oil covered for a week or two and fry other sweet things. If you don’t think you’ll re-use the oil, just let it cool completely and then use a funnel to pour it right back into your empty oil container or an empty milk jug. I try to keep a few empty milk jugs under my kitchen sink or in my pantry for used up oil. Close the jug up tight and then toss it in your garbage can on garbage day. It’s a pretty simple way to deal with all that leftover oil!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

My grandma is well known for these amazing donuts and everyone wants the recipe. It makes me happy every time I serve these to my kids, because I know that one day they’ll make them for their own kids and remember lazy Saturday mornings helping me roll out the dough and cut the donuts!

These are best served hot from the fryer, but you can keep them for a few days as long as you seal them up tightly.  When hot from the grease, the outsides are crispy and the insides are perfectly soft and cakey. It doesn’t get better than these donuts, guys!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

4.25 from 4 votes

The BEST Cake Donuts

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Servings: 12 donuts
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy breakfast recipes, easy dessert recipes, family recipes
Calories: 195 kcal

This recipe from my grandma is an all time favorite! I've changed it just a bit by swapping out the shortening for butter, but you can certainly use shortening if you prefer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix everything by hand and knead the dough on a floured surface.


  • 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour may need more
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Oil for frying
  • Cinnamon Sugar mix for coating the donuts 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
  3. Alternate adding the milk and flour mixture until everything is well combined. Knead for just a couple of minutes. If the dough is too sticky to roll out, add more flour until it's workable.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use a donut cutter to cut donuts.
  5. Add to a pot of 375 degree oil, just a few donuts at a time so as not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes each side.
  6. Drain on a paper towel lined plate before tossing in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
  7. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
The BEST Cake Donuts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 155mg7%
Potassium 160mg5%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Calcium 68mg7%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

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