Baked Cinnamon Swirl Donuts

baked cinnamon swirl donut

One of my very favorite dessert-y breakfast foods in the whole wide world is cinnamon swirl coffee cake. Now, it has to have a cinnamon SWIRL, mind you, not just the crumbly stuff on top, or else it’s just inferior. And if it doesn’t have that brown sugar and cinnamon topping, it’s not coffee cake.

My mom will disagree with me. She defines coffee cake as “something a tiny bit less sweet than birthday cake that you have with your morning coffee.” She thinks the crumb topping is optional. But since I’m the baker in this family, I make the rules of what is concocted in our oven: if it doesn’t have that heavenly topping, it’s not coffee cake. It can still be good, but it can’t be coffee cake. And that’s that.

I made these baked donuts with the intention of modeling them after coffee cake: I swirled in some gooey cinnamon stuff, and sprinkled brown sugar and cinnamon crumbs on top. For some reason, the topping sank into the donut batter while baking, so the donuts are demoted to “cinnamon swirl” status, rather than their planned title of “cinnamon swirl coffee cake donuts.” Ah, well. They still taste divine, and this way there’s more cinnamon inside the donut, rather than just hanging out on top. How bakers get the crumb topping to stay on top and not sink down into the batter is a mystery to me. If anyone out there knows, feel free to leave a comment, I’d really appreciate the advice!

cinnamon swirl donut

Not only is each one of these donuts a bit of cinnamon lover’s paradise, they are also my healthiest baked donut yet. I used half whole wheat flour, and half all-purpose (I would’ve used all whole wheat but I was afraid the recipe wouldn’t work if I did.) The donuts are glaze-free, and I honestly don’t think these need glaze. The gooey, sweet cinnamon alone makes these donuts sparkle. But if you want glaze, it might be interesting to try a cream cheese or maple flavored glaze, or whatever flavor you desire.

Here is my recipe:

Baked Cinnamon Swirl Donuts

makes 6 small donuts

baked cinnamon swirl donuts


for donut batter:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 1/2 tbl Egg Beaters (substitute for 1/2 of an egg)
  • 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon

for cinnamon swirl:

  • 1 tbl butter, melted
  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

for “crumb topping” (or additional cinnamon swirl, however you choose to look at it)

  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray.

For donut batter: Combine all donut batter ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling each donut mold equally full.

For cinnamon swirl: Combine melted butter with brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Swirl into batter in each donut mold.

For “topping”: Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly on top of each donut. (It’s all right if the donuts are not entirely covered with topping; there will be some bare space.)

Bake donuts in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

cinnamon swirl donut close-up

Cinnamon Swirl….. mmmmmmmm…..

You Might Also Like:

Apple Cinnamon Banana Bread with Chocolate Peanut Butter

a slice of apple banana cinnamon chocolate peanut butter bread


2 responses

  1. I love cinnamon swirls, too. I think the topping might be put in kind of thick so that only some of it sinks into the batter (?)

  2. These were a definite hit.

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