These fresh Lemon Baked Donuts are the perfect way to welcome spring with their light zesty flavour and even lighter baked texture. Baked donuts are much different to the deep fried kind, their texture is similar to a light cake and they are very moist too. I find them quite similar to Madelines. They are best the day they're made, but they still taste good the next day too. The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest, then I've topped them with a zingy lemon icing using the juice from the lemon. I went a bit extra and did a yellow drizzle too and added some yellow sprinkles!
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Lemon Baked Donuts
In a bowl mix together milk, eggs, oil, lemon zest and caster sugar. Sieve in self raising flour and whisk it in.
Use a piping bag to add the batter into the donut pans and bake them for 12 minutes. Remove them from the tin and leave them to cool on a rack.
To decorate the donuts, make a white icing using icing sugar, water and lemon juice. Spread the icing on top of each donut using a spoon. Then make a yellow icing using icing sugar, water, lemon juice and yellow food colouring. Drizzle it over the donuts and add some sprinkles too.
Do you need a donut pan to make this recipe?
The simple answer is yes! I highly recommend investing in a donut pan* (or two!), they are not expensive and they’re easy to obtain from Amazon, plus there are so many yummy baked donut recipes on my blog that you’ll be able to make with them!
Can you make the donuts with plain/all purpose flour?
Self raising flour, which is very commonly used in the UK where I am based, already contains a raising agent and a little salt too. Therefore if you want to swap it for plain or all purpose flour, you will need to add some additional baking powder and also a little salt if you like. Some people like to add salt to cake recipes and some don't, so I'll leave that up to you as it won't affect the bake. The general advice is to add 2 teaspoons baking powder (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with) per every 200g plain or all purpose flour. So for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¼ teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
How long do baked donuts last for and can they be frozen?
Although baked donuts will last for a few days if stored in an airtight container in a cool place, they are best the day they're made. You can freeze the donuts without any of the decoration. Wrap them up well, with a small square of baking paper between each donut so they don't stick together, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Can the donuts be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes, to make these donuts gluten free, replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising flour blend. If you only have a gluten free plain flour blend, you will need to add baking powder. The general advice is to add 2 tsp baking powder per 200g flour, so for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¼ teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum for better texture. They can easily be made dairy free by using a plant based milk. Make sure to also grease the donut tins with a dairy free butter.
How do you remove the donuts from the tin?
I use a spoon to gently loosen them around the edges and prise them out of the tin. If you are using a non stick tin and you have greased it well with butter, then they should just pop out with ease.
Do you need an electric mixer to make this recipe?
No, I actually never use an electric mixer to make this recipe as it's so quick and easy to do by hand. The dry ingredients and wet ingredients can be quickly combined with a hand whisk, and it is better to do it this way to avoid over mixing. If you are using an electric mixer, keep it on a low speed and only mix for a short time.
More tips for making the Lemon Baked Donuts:
- The donuts are baked upside down so that the top takes the shape of the mould, so when you flip them out of the tin they'll be the right way round!
- You can decorate these donuts any way you like, they would also be yummy dipped in melted white chocolate, or with a simple dusting of icing sugar.
- The food colouring I used for the yellow icing was Sugarflair. I also really like using Pro Gel food colourings.
- You can use a different type of oil besides vegetable oil. I'd recommend one that doesn't have a strong flavour, canola and sunflower oil would both work well
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- Donut tin
- Mixing bowls
- Kitchen scales
- Cooling rack
- Piping bags
- Citrus juicer
- Measuring spoons
- Yellow food colouring
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More lemon recipes...
- Homemade Lemon Curd
- Triple Lemon Cake
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Lemon Curd & White Chocolate Bread Rolls
- Lemon Meringue Dessert Pots
- Lemon Rainbow Cake
- Ginger & Lemon Cake
- Mini Easter Cakes
- Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Lemon Curd Ice Cream (No Churn)
- Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake
- Lemon Curd Cake
For the donuts
- 175 g Caster sugar
- 30 ml Vegetable oil
- 175 ml Milk (cow's or plant milk)
- 2 Eggs large
- 2 Lemons zest only
- 225 g Self raising flour
- Butter for greasing
For the white icing
- 250 g Icing sugar
- 2 ½ tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp Water
For the yellow icing
- 50 g Icing sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Lemon juice
- Yellow food colouring
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease a 12 hole donut tins (or two 6 hole ones) with the butter
- In a bowl mix together the milk, eggs, vegetable oil, caster sugar and the zest of the lemons
- Sieve in the self raising flour and whisk until a smooth batter forms
- Divide the batter between the tins. You can put the batter into a piping bag to make it a bit neater to dispense into the trays, but you can do it with a spoon too, or pour into a jug
- Bake them for 12 minutes or until they spring back when you press your finger into them, then remove them from the tin (I use a spoon to prise them out) and leave to cool
- Make the white icing by mixing the ingredients together
- Spread the icing on top of the donuts with a palette knife or spoon
- Make the yellow icing by mixing the ingredients together, put it into a piping bag and drizzle it over the donuts
- Add some sprinkles if you like
- They are best the day they're made, but you can store leftovers in an airtight cotainer and eat within 3 days
If you like this, check out more of my Donut recipes!
Recipe adapted from Lakeland.