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Baked Sourdough Cake Donuts

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These sourdough donuts are so soft, tender, and fluffy! The secret lies in the sourdough starter, which enhances the texture and adds a delightful tangy flavor. This recipe is a fantastic way to put your sourdough discard to good use! Finish them with chocolate glaze, vanilla glaze, or a cinnamon sugar topping.

Baked sourdough donuts with vanilla glaze, chocolate glaze, and cinnamon sugar toppings.

Sourdough Discard Donuts

Here is your new favorite way to use your sourdough discard. These sourdough baked donuts are incredibly easy to make. Baking them means you don’t have to deal with messy oil and grease. And, since they are cake donuts, they are much faster to make than our fried sourdough donuts, which need time to rise. 

❤️ Here is Why This Recipe Works

  • Incredible Texture and Flavor: The sourdough discard adds extra acidity to the batter which helps to tenderize the donuts and give them a delicious tangy flavor. 
  • Fast and easy: By baking the donuts instead of frying them, you eliminate the need for monitoring oil temperatures and dealing with messy clean-ups. Plus, as these are cake donuts, they don’t require time to rise, making the process quicker.
  • Resourceful: This recipe is an excellent way to use your sourdough discard.

Ingredients for Sourdough Cake Donuts

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for these baked sourdough donuts.

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Sugar. Regular granulated white sugar.
  • Sour cream. The sour cream helps to tenderize and moisten the donuts.
  • Flour. Use all-purpose. No need for specialty flour. 
  • Sourdough discard. This is the part you toss out when you feed your starter. 
  • Egg. Use a whole egg plus an egg yolk. Adding an additional yolk makes the donuts richer and more tender. 
  • Butter and oil. The butter gives the donuts extra flavor, while the oil keeps them soft and moist. 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder and baking soda. Both are needed to help these donuts rise and be fluffy.
  • Salt
  • Nutmeg. A small amount of nutmeg makes the donuts taste like my local bakery’s. No one could tell that there was nutmeg in the donuts, but everyone agreed that they were better than the ones I made without the nutmeg. 
A jar filled with sourdough discard.

What is Sourdough Starter Discard? 

Sourdough discard is a by-product of sourdough starter. When you feed your starter, you must discard some of it before adding new flour and water. This discarded portion is called the discard, and you can use it in recipes like sourdough banana bread, sourdough brownies, sourdough ricotta pancakes, and these baked donuts. 

Tip: When I feed my sourdough starter, I save the discard in a separate jar. I just continue to add to the discard every time I freshen my starter. The discard will last for 7 to 10 days in the fridge. 


You can swap the granulated sugar for brown sugar, giving the donuts a slightly deeper flavor. 

Use Greek yogurt or kefir instead of sour cream. Kefir will make the batter thinner and slightly messier when you fill the donut mold. 

This recipe works with gluten-free flour so long as you use a flour a good all-purpose blend. Some blends that work well are Cup 4 Cup and Better Batter.

How to Make Cake Donuts with Sourdough

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe.

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

For the Cake Donuts

Whisking sourdough discard with eggs, sugar, butter, and sour cream.
  1. Combine wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. 
Grating fresh nutmeg into donut batter.
  1. Sift the dry ingredients over the batter or whisk them in a separate bowl then add it to the batter.
    Tip: freshly grated nutmeg has better flavor than pre-ground nutmeg.

A spatula mixing the batter for sourdough discard cake donuts.
  1. Use a wide spatula to fold the batter until just combined. It is ok if the batter is a bit lumpy.
Piping the batter for sourdough discard donuts into the cavities on a donut pan.
  1. Transfer the donut batter to a piping bag and pipe it into the donut individual molds in a donut pan.

Cooling sourdough cake donuts on a wire rack.
  1. Bake the donuts, then let them rest in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes before flipping them out on a cooling rack. 

Add the toppings 

I added three topping options in the recipe card below. 

Dipping a baked donut into chocolate glaze.
  1. Dip the donuts in a chocolate or vanilla glaze and set them on the rack until the glaze sets. 
  2. If you want to make cinnamon donuts, coat them in melted butter before rolling them in cinnamon sugar. 

Tips for Success

  1. How to fill the donut pan: Use a piping bag or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off to pipe the batter into the donut pan. This helps to disperse the batter evenly.
  2. Don’t overfill the pan: Fill the donut wells ¾ full. If you overfill them, the batter will rise while baking and end up covering the hole. There is enough batter for 12 donuts unless you pipe too much batter in the pan. 
  3. Don’t Over-mix: When combining the wet and dry ingredients, stir until just combined to keep the donuts as tender as possible.
  4. Avoid Over-baking: The baked donuts cook quickly, usually in about 10-13 minutes, depending on your oven. To ensure moist and tender donuts, start checking them for doneness around the 8-minute mark.
A chocolate glazed sourdough cake donut on top of a vanilla glazed donut.

Serving Suggestions

These sourdough donuts are a delight on their own, but they also pair wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments. 

  1. Coffee or Tea: Serve these donuts with a cup of hot coffee or lavender tea for a sweet breakfast or afternoon snack. 
  2. Fill with jam: Add some strawberry jam or peach preserves to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip or a donut filler tip. Poke the tip into several areas around the donut and give it a gentle squeeze. You will fill the sourdough baked donuts with pockets of sweet jam or preserves. 
  3. Dusting of Powdered Sugar: To get the powdered sugar to adhere to the donuts, dip them in melted butter, then dip them in the powdered sugar. I like to dip the donuts twice to give them a thick white coating, similar to how I dip my snowball cookies.

A stack of three sourdough cake donuts covered in cinnamon sugar.

⏲ Storing Doughnuts

Store the baked donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for three days or in the freezer for up to three months.

More Sourdough Recipes

There are so many wonderful things to do with sourdough discard! Every time you refresh your starter, instead of throwing away the leftover unfed starter, you can put it to use in all kinds of delicious sourdough recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is different about sourdough donuts?

Sourdough scones have a deeper flavor and slight tang from the sourdough starter.

What is the difference between old-fashioned and cake donuts?

An old-fashioned donut is a type of cake donut. Old-fashioned donuts have a crackly, crunchy top, and they are traditionally deep-fried.

What are sourdough donuts made of?

You use all the same ingredients that you would use in a regular donut recipe with the addition of a sourdough starter.

What is the difference between cake donuts and yeast donuts?

Cake donuts are made with a cake-like batter that uses baking powder or baking soda as a leavening, while yeast donuts use yeast as a leavening.

These sourdough cake donuts are a great way to use up your sourdough discard and have delicious baked donuts in no time. The sourdough discard gives them an incredible texture and flavor. Adding a hint of nutmeg takes these sourdough donuts to a whole new level, making them a definite crowd-pleaser. So, the next time you have some sourdough discard, you know what to make! Happy baking!

Two donut pans with six cavities each.

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More Recipes You Will Love:

For more individual sized desserts, our white chocolate cupcakes are amazing topped with white chocoalte buttercream or chocolate cream cheese frosting.

And our mini red velvet cupcakes to great with cream cheese buttercream or ermine frosting.

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Nine freshly baked sourdough donuts topped with chocolate glaze with sprinkles, vanilla glaze with sprinkles, and cinnamon sugar.

Baked Sourdough Cake Donuts

These baked sourdough cake donuts are soft, tender, and fluffy. The sourdough starter improves the texture of the cake donuts and gives them a subtle tangy flavor. Finish them with chocolate glaze, vanilla glaze, or a cinnamon sugar topping.
This recipe is a great way to use up a sourdough discard.
4.88 from 24 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 12 donuts
Calories: 319kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


  • cup sugar
  • cup sour cream
  • cup sourdough starter discard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1-½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-¾ cups all purpose flour (210 grams)
  • 1-¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup optional
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Donut Glaze

  • ¾ cup confectioners sugar
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup optional
  • pinch of salt

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter


For the Sourdough Cake Donuts

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a donut pan with non-stick baking spray. 
  • Combine the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl (sugar, sour cream, sourdough discard, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, oil, and vanilla). 
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg over the bowl and use a wide spatula to fold the batter until just combined. 
  • Transfer the batter to a piping bag or a food storage bag and cut the corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into each donut form, filling them ⅔ to ¾ full. 
  • Bake the donuts for 10 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in them comes out clean. 
  • Remove the donuts from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes then turn them out on a rack to cool completely. Make the toppings while the donuts cool. 

Vanilla Glaze

  • Combine all the ingredients in a wide shallow dish and whisk until smooth. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time if the glaze is too thick. 
  • Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze and transfer to a wire rack. If desired, add sprinkles while the glaze is still wet. 

Chocolate Glaze

  • Combine all the ingredients for the chocolate glaze in a wide shallow dish and whisk until smooth. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to get your preferred consistency. 
  • Dip the tops of the donuts in the chocolate glaze and transfer them to a wire rack until the glaze sets. If desired, dip them in sprinkles while the glaze is still wet. 

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a wide, shallow dish. 
  • Dip the tops of donuts in the melted butter then dip them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 


  • A small amount of nutmeg gives the donuts a classic flavor. It is a subtle flavor that makes them taste like bakery-style donuts.
  • If you are using whole nutmeg, use a microplane grater to grate the nutmeg. Freshly ground whole nutmeg will have a stronger flavor than pre-ground nutmeg.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. It is ok if the batter seems a bit lumpy. If you mix it until it is smooth, the donuts will not be as soft and tender. 


Serving: 1 | Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 276mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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