These gooey homemade caramel pecan doughnuts are amazing. The doughnut is baked with buttermilk and maple syrup then topped with a sticky, homemade caramel sauce and toasted crushed pecans.
These doughnuts definitely scream autumn lets be honest… The pecans. The maple syrup. The caramel. But I’ve had a bag of pecans lying around my kitchen since autumn and have no idea what to do with them. I still haven’t used them all up yet and their best before states June.
Usually, best before dates aren’t a big deal for dried foods but rancid nuts are just… Nope! So I’m trying to think of another pecan recipe I can make. Maybe a pecan pie? Or a carrot cake with pecans? Who knows maybe I might brave another salad recipe… But whatever I do, the recipe will be on here soon so keep an eye out for it.
For now lets to about these caramel pecan doughnuts I’m really happy to share.
Baked doughnuts… Hmm… They’re definitely not doughnuts in the traditional sense and it’d be a stretch to say that they taste so as well. Trust me when I say they taste absolutely amazing. I promise! Though I’d compare them more to a chewy(?) cake in the shape of a doughnut.
I definitely recommend trying them if you haven’t before.
I created this recipe with a standard 6-hole doughnut tray in mind which can easily be doubled if you want to make a larger batch. The caramel doesn’t need to be doubled and is enough for at least 12 doughnuts. The great thing about this caramel is that it can be stored away for at least a month in the fridge and is a great addition for any dessert.
If you can’t find a doughnut tray then an alternative is a cupcake or tartlet tray. They may not look like doughnuts but they’ll bake the same and taste just as good.
Making this recipe vegan or without eggs is actually pretty easy. I recommend:-
- Removing the eggs completely.
- Only use 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Making the buttermilk using soy milk.
- Replacing the butter with oil
- Replacing the plain flour with self-raising flour.
I have noticed that vegan baked doughnuts and cake recipes similar to this tend to use flax egg. Now while I’ve had success with flax egg I don’t recommend it for these type of recipes.
Eggs act heavily as a leavener in this recipe. Flax egg tends to be helpful as a binder but it isn’t a leavening agent. This means desserts like cakes and baked doughnuts will almost always turn out dense and gummy. So while the above substitutes may seem long-winded, I think it’s certainly worth it and will save you from making inedible food.
Any gluten-free flour blend will work successfully in this recipe. I recommend adding a 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum if you have any to hand. Xanthan gum helps to recreate the effects of gluten. If you don’t have any, then the recipe will still work just as well.
Making Caramel Pecan Doughnuts
Making caramel for the first time can be a bit intimidating. I always use this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction who goes into incredible detail on how to make it with pictures. I have included as much detail as possible below but hopefully, her article will help if you want more details.
Shop bought caramel will also work perfectly fine for a recipe like this as the doughnut base is the real star.
If you do make this recipe, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions below.
Caramel Pecan Doughnuts
Baked buttermilk doughnuts dipped in a sticky caramel sauce and smothered with pecans
- 1 ⅓ Cup (185 g) Plain flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- ¾ Cup (180 ml) Buttermilk (see notes) *
- 7 Tbsp (105 ml) Maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- ½ an Egg, beaten
- 1 Tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ Cup (100 g) Caster sugar
- 3 Tbsp (45 g) Salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces
- ¼ Cup (60 ml) Double cream
- ½ tsp Salt
- 30 g Pecans, roughly chopped (1 handful)
Grab a piping bag or food bag and place it into a glass with the opening of the bag facing upwards then wrap the opening around the glass. Set it aside.
Spray each doughnut hole with a bit of oil to prevent the doughnuts from sticking and preheat the oven to 180 C.
Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.
Next you want to add all of the wet ingredients and whisk. Once the batter is smooth, use your spatula to scoop it into bag you just prepared.
Squeeze the batter into the doughnut holes and place tray in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove tray from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before removing the doughnuts.
Heat caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-coloured liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. (Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added)
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. If you notice the butter separating, remove from heat and whisk vigorously to combine it again (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves.)
Very slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove from heat and stir in ½ teaspoon of salt. Allow to slightly cool down and dip each doughnut bottom down into the caramel. If the caramel gets too cool warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.
Sprinkle crushed pecans on top and serve.
* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 3/4 cup (180 ml) of dairy milk or soy milk and allowing it to sit for 20 minutes before using.