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Baked Donuts with Guinness Ganache

Baked Donuts with Guinness Ganache- Cakey baked donuts made with a few shortcuts make the perfect base for a rich and delicious dark chocolate stout ganache.

March 10, 2021 by Nicole Collins

Can you believe St. Patrick’s Day is a week away?

For whatever reason, this is one holiday that always sneaks up on me.

Every year, I have these grand plans for delicious Irish themed meals that I want to share. And every year, I never get around to getting those recipes up.

Now, I understand that the food would be delicious regardless of what time of year we’re eating it. But as a blogger, sometimes I feel this responsibility to make sure we’re eating seasonally.

Is that silly?

Well guess what, "time that won’t stop flying by"?

I GOT YOU this year. Not only am I totally prepared with a St. Paddy’s day recipe. I have TWO St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipes to take us through the rest of the week.

And the first one up today is a sweet treat. Dessert first, right?

Today, we’re making Baked Donuts with Guinness Ganache!

Here’s the plan…we’re going to take a little help from the grocery store to whip up the easiest, tastiest cake donuts. Then, we’re going to top them with a rich and fudgy dark chocolate stout ganache.


Let’s talk donut. We’re totally cheating and using store bought cake mix for this recipe. But, we’re going to doctor it up so much that nobody will ever know. I actually picked up a version of this cake recipe from a woman that was instructing a cake decorating class I took many years ago. She used to bake wedding cakes professionally, and this was her trick. Yes, she used store bought cake mixes. Plural…

So, we’re going to start with a box of yellow cake mix and a box of pound cake mix. I didn’t want to make a gazillion donuts, so I divided each box in half by weight. This is one of those times that a kitchen scale will really come in handy to make sure we’re dividing our dry ingredients properly.

To the dry mixes, we’ll add the standard ingredients called for on the box: water, oil, and eggs. Now in my instructor’s original recipe, she only used certain brands of cake mixes (which are not what I used today), and she flavored her cake mix with vanilla butternut extract. This specialty extract is not something that most people keep on hand. So, we’re making our own version to flavor the cake by mixing vanilla, butter, and almond extracts into our batter. I know almond extract can be a little taboo. Some people can’t stand the taste, and many people are allergic to it. If you fall in either category, leave it out. These little donuts will be just as delicious without it.

Once we have our batter mixed, we have a choice to make. To color, or not to color. I went half and half, so I add just a few drops of green food coloring to my batter to give it a nice bright flavor. Then we’ll fill our donut pan, and to the oven it goes. Unless you have more than one donut pan, you’ll be baking these in a few batches.

Once all of our donuts are baked, it’s time to make the ganache! It’s as simple of mixing equal parts of stout beer and heavy cream together, heating them until they’re just warm enough to bubble, and pouring the hot mix over some dark chocolate chips. We’ll whisk everything together until it’s a silky smooth chocolate bath, and it’s ready for our donuts.

If you’re not a fan of stout beer, have no fear. This ganache doesn’t taste like you just cracked open a cold one. I’m actually not a fan of drinking it, but I love cooking with it. The stout somehow makes the chocolate taste chocolate-ier. It’s kind of the same effect that coffee has on chocolate…it deepens the flavor. So, the end result is this rich and decadent chocolate coating.

Once the ganache is ready, we’ll dip our donuts, decorate them with some pretty sprinkles, and leave them alone for about an hour so the chocolate has a chance to set. The waiting is the hardest part!

Now, let’s say you REALLY want to make this festive holiday treat, but you don’t have the time (or the tools) to whip up a batch of these donuts right away. Let me give you an off the record tip…go to the grocery store, buy some cake donuts, make this ganache, and dip your store bought donuts in this dreamy coating. It’s not going to be the same of course, but it sure will still be pretty impressive!

The best way to describe these donuts is perfectly sweet and perfectly rich. And, could that be any more perfect? You get that extra sweetness from the almond extract in the cake mix but not in an overpowering way. The texture of the cake is perfectly soft without being crumbly thanks to the addition of the pound cake. And for someone that doesn’t like dark chocolate (ME!), I think this ganache topping is perfectly balanced with richness and chocolateyness and all of the goodness.

Alright, everyone! Now that we have dessert locked in, it’s time for the main course on Friday!

For now, enjoy! And, let’s eat!


Baked Donuts with Guinness Ganache

Serves: 16-18 donuts Print


For the Donuts:

  • 8 oz (about 1 1/3 cups) yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

  • 8 oz (about 1 1/3 cups) pound cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

  • ¾ cup water

  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp canola oil

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp almond extract

  • ½ tsp butter extract

  • cooking spray

For the Guinness Ganache:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

  • ¼ cup Guinness stout beer

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • sprinkles, for decorating


  1. Make the Donuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6 cavity donut pan very well with cooking spray.

  2. To a mixing bowl, add both cake mixes, water, oil, eggs, and all extracts. Mix well by hand until the batter is mostly smooth. Fill donut pan until ¾ the way full. Bake for 13-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 mins, then carefully flip over the pan and tap gently to release the donuts. Transfer donuts to a wire cooling rack. Repeat with remaining batter, making sure to re-spray the pan well with cooking spray between each batch.

  3. Once all of the donuts have baked, make the Ganache: Add chocolate chips to a small heat safe bowl. Combine stout and heavy cream in a glass measuring cup, and microwave for 1 minute 15 seconds- 1 minute 30 seconds until the mix just starts to bubble. Pour stout mix over the chocolate chips, and allow it to sit for 5 mins. After 5 mins, whisk well until the chocolate and liquid are fully incorporated and completely smooth.

  4. Dip the donuts: Once the donuts have cooled slightly, dip the donuts into the ganache, one at a time, to coat the tops. Transfer back to the wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Allow to cool for 1-2 hours until the ganache has completely set. Enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe notes:

*If you have it, you can use ½ tbsp vanilla butternut extract in place of the 3 extracts in the donut recipe. If you have a nut allergy, feel free to leave the almond extract out. These will still be just as delicious without it!

*If you have more than one donut pan, you can absolutely bake 2 pans at one time.

*I find the easiest way to fill the donut pan with batter is to transfer the batter to a piping bag, cut off the tip, and pipe the batter into the pan. It's way easier to control the batter this way.

*To add a little extra flare you your donuts, add a few drops of food coloring to the batter!

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