Crumb-Topped Cake Donuts

I know, I know. We should all start the day with a healthy breakfast. But sometimes it’s the kind of morning that calls for a strong cup and coffee and a warm, fresh donut.

Donut in parchment bag and donuts holes

When I was a kid, my mother tried hard to limit the amount of sugar my siblings and I ate. This applied especially to breakfast where she had a rule that we weren’t allowed to buy any cereal with over 10 grams of sugar. Which pretty much limited us to Cheerios. Plain cheerios. Plain flavorless Cheerio.

I had a rough childhood. I know. No need to pity me.

Donut on White Plate

There was only one exception to my mother’s breakfast dictatorship — Family Vacation. When we were on vacation we could get whatever we wanted. Sugar be damned! Bring on the Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts!

My choice breakfast splurge was nearly always Entenmann’s Crumb-Topped Donuts. God, I loved those things. What they lack in flavor and texture, they more than made up for with their over-whelming (borderline gross) sugariness. Exactly what I was jonesing for.

Three Donuts on Plate

So I set a goal for myself. Could I make home-made crumb-topped donuts that could rival the Entemann’s ones? You know, but with actual flavor and way, better texture.

With these donuts, I think I nailed it. Granted, my topping isn’t in the shape of rat-poison like pellets, if you’ve eaten of the Entenmann’s version you know what I’m talking about, but otherwise nailed it.

These donuts are flat-out addictive. They start with a simple cake donut batter. Personally, I prefer cake donuts to yeasted ones.

Donut Dough

Next, you’ll roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and put the dough into the freezer to chill. While the dough are in the freezer, you can pull together a simple glaze and the brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping.

Crumb topping in bowl

Once the dough has chilled, use two round cookie cutters to cut out each’ve donut.

Side note/Pro tip: Once you’ve finished making the donuts, fry up some donut holes using the middle part of the donuts you cut out. Glazed, covered in chocolate or simply coated in cinnamon sugar, they’re yum.

Donut dough being cut into donuts

After the donuts are fried for a couple minutes on each side, they’re put on paper towels to cool while the paper towel absorbs any excess oil.

Donut dipped in glaze

Once the donuts have cooled a little (but are still warm), dip them in the glaze, turning over to coat.

Donuts being topped with crumb

Immediately after dipped in the glaze, place them on a cooling rack and cover with crumb coating.

Donut on Plate with cup of coffee

What you end up with is ten year old me’s version of heaven. An airy cake donut with a light glaze and an amazing crumb topping.

Just promise me you won’t tell my mom I ate one.

Small piece of donut on plate with cup of coffee
Donut in parchment bag and donuts holes

Crumb-Topped Cake Donuts

  • Author: closeenoughcook
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Approx. 6-8 donuts


These crumb-topped donuts will take you right back to childhood. A lightly fried cake donut covered in glaze with a crumble topping. So delicious and simple to make, you’ll never go back to the store-bought version.




1 egg

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla  

1/8 tsp nutmeg

3 cups cake flour

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup buttermilk

Zest of 1/4 of a lemon

1 tsp cinnamon 


1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup water

Crumb Topping

4 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup all purpose flour



  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  
  2. Add the egg and mix to incorporate.
  3. Add buttermilk, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla and mix only until combined.  Any additional mixing may result in tough donuts.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a  sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour on a baking sheet.  Place another sheet on top and roll dough out until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Place baking sheet in refrigerator for approximately an hour or until dough no longer sticks to parchment paper.
  6. While dough is in the fridge, heat at least 3 inches vegetable oil in a heavy-bottom pot until oil reaches 350 degrees.*
  7. Place next to the stovetop a baking sheet covered in paper towels for draining.
  8. Take baking sheet out of refrigerator and remove top sheet of parchment paper.  
  9. Cut dough into 3 inch rounds using a round biscuit or donut cutter.  Use a smaller round cutter to cut a hole in the center of each donut.**
  10. Fry donuts in batches, cooking for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.***  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.  
  11. While donuts are still warm, dip in glaze on both sides and place on a cooling rack.  Cover top with crumble before glaze dries. 


  1. While dough is in the fridge and oil is heating, make the glaze by mixing glaze ingredients together in a shallow bowl suitable for dipping.  If glaze appears too thick, adjust by adding more water a teaspoon more at a time.  


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place flour on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and cook for approx. 5 minutes.****
  3. In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. 
  4. Add melted butter and mix until mixture resembles wet sand.  


* Use a candy thermometer or similar thermometer to measure temperatures of oil.  

** Save the pieces of dough that are cut out of the center of the donuts. After donuts are finished frying, these can be fried (less than a minute each side needed) and coated in plain glaze, chocolate glaze or anything else that appeals to you. 

*** I keep leftover chopsticks and use them to flip donuts in oil and remove from oil.  A slotted metal spoon and spatula can also be used. 

****Since the flour is being added to the donut after baking, cooking it beforehand ensures that the flour is safe to eat in the unlikely event it contains any bacteria.  

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