I know what you’re thinking: “Anoooother pumpkin spice recipe?!” And to that I say, yep — ’tis the season, baby! But these aren’t just any old pumpkin spice muffins. These are a combination of a muffin and a mini donut all wrapped into one delicious little package.
The evolution of pumpkin spice muffins mixed with mini donuts
This recipe came about one day when I had a sudden craving for mini donuts because I saw them on one of those carnival food shows. I was thinking about the groceries I had on hand, and pumpkin is a staple in my house. So, I started thinking about pumpkin mini donuts but I didn’t want to fry anything and I’ve never actually made donuts before! But my favorite part of the mini donuts you usually get at carnivals is their warm cinnamon sugar coating. I figured I could do a pumpkin spice muffin with a pumpkin spice/cinnamon/sugar coating (instead of just cinnamon), and to get it to stick, I’d just dip the top half of the muffin in butter.
So I created a recipe, tried it out, and became obsessed. I tweaked the recipe a few times until I had it JUST RIGHT, now I’m ready to share it with the world!
The topping is perfect for the perfectly dense yet fluffy pumpkin muffins. Now, these aren’t a “healthy” food by any means (but WHO CARES!?) but they are slightly less sweet because only the top half is coated in sugar and spice rather than the entire donut/muffin. However, if you want to go all out, you can not use muffin liners and just really grease the pan and then dip the ENTIRE muffin in butter and coat the whole muffin in pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and sugar. You do you!
If you have little kids, get their help with dipping the muffins in the pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and sugar mixture and I bet they’ll love it!
Get them while they’re hot
And I should also mention, these taste BEST when they’re warm!!! And the same goes for mini donuts so it makes sense. But they can certainly still be enjoyed a day or two after making them, but once they’ve cooled off, they’re not quite as reminiscent of the classic carnival mini donuts.
How to make pumpkin spice muffins with mini donut topping
To make these pumpkin spice mini donut muffins you’ll need:
- Baking powder
- Pumpkin spice
- Pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. I write more about the difference between the two here.
Start by melting your butter in the microwave and preheating the oven to 350F.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and some of your pumpkin spice (the rest is for the topping), and set aside.
In another bowl, beat your egg. Now add vanilla, pumpkin puree (I always use E.D. Smith pure pumpkin), milk, and some of the butter once it’s cooled down a bit (the rest of the butter will be used for the topping).
Combine wet and dry ingredients until you’re not seeing clumps of dry ingredients. Spoon the muffin mixture into a 12-hole muffin pan with muffin liners OR greased very thoroughly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centre of each muffin is set, and a toothpick comes out clean.
Mix pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and sugar on a large flat plate. Set the rest of the melted butter beside it.
Once the muffins have cooled for about 3 minutes, hold the bottom of each muffin and dip the top in the butter. Then, dip the muffin in the sugar and spice mixture.
Eat them while they’re hot (that’s when they taste best) or keep them on the counter in an airtight container for up to three days.
Pumpkin Spice Mini Donut Muffins
For the Muffins
- 1.5 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
For the Topping
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 tbsp butter melted
For the Muffins
- Start by melting 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave and preheating the oven to 350F.
- In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tsp of pumpkin spice, and set aside.
- In another bowl, beat your egg. Now add vanilla, pumpkin puree, milk, and the melted butter once it's cooled down a bit.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients until you're not seeing clumps of dry ingredients. Spoon the muffin mixture into a 12-hole muffin pan with muffin liners OR greased very thoroughly.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centre of each muffin is set, and a toothpick comes out clean.
For the Topping
- Melt 5 tbsp. (just over ¼ cup) of butter.
- Combine pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and sugar on a large flat plate. Set the melted butter in a bowl beside the spices and sugar.
- Once the muffins have cooled for about 3-5 minutes and aren't too hot to touch, hold the bottom of each muffin and dip the top in the butter. Then, dip the muffin in the sugar and spice mixture.
- Eat them while they're hot (that's when they taste best) or keep them on the counter in an airtight container for up to three days.
- Please try these when they're warm out of the oven — that's when they taste best! But they do need to cool a little bit or the muffin liners will stick a lot. You can also grease your muffin liners a bit to avoid this.
- This recipe makes 12 small-ish muffins. If you'd like, you can make 10 bigger muffins and they'll need a few more minutes to bake.
- If you want more of a spice/sugar coating: you can peel off the liners or not use liners and just grease your pan really well and use twice as much of the topping ingredients and coat the entire muffin in that mixture/butter.
So there you have it! It’s a pretty straightforward muffin recipe, but the mini donut topping really takes these to the next level!
Hope you love them!
XO – C