Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake Donuts

chocolate cake donuts and donut holes some with clear glaze and some chocolate frosted with rainbow sprinkles

5 from 1 review

A cross between fudgy brownies and fluffy cake donuts, these chocolate cake donuts have the best moist texture and two options for glazes! They're traditionally deep-fried in oil, but I've also included air fryer instructions. 


Units Scale

Donut Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (+ extra for rolling out dough)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying (or nonstick spray for air fryer method)

Glaze Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons warm water

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons warm water


  1. Make donut dough: in a medium mixing bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, egg, sour cream, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. In another large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.* Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (up to 12 hours or overnight).


  • The dough is very stiff so it may get hard to mix at the end. If it's easier, you can knead it with your hands a few times until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Donuts should be cool enough to touch, but can still be slightly warm when glazing.
  • For the regular glaze, completely submerge the donuts in the glaze. For the chocolate glaze, dip the top half of the donuts into the glaze, then invert on the wire rack to dry.

Keywords: chocolate cake doughnuts, cake donut with chocolate frosting, double chocolate donut, fried chocolate donuts, air fryer chocolate donuts