Prep and preheat: preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan (see notes). Scale or measure all dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate small bowl until well combined.
Mix wets and dries together: pour the wet ingredients and the melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir until batter is uniform and smooth, with no clumps of dry powder remaining.
Portion and fill pan: evenly distribute batter between all 12 prepared muffin cups.
Bake: bake muffins for 15-18 minutes until centers have puffed up and feel set when gently pressed.
Cool: allow muffins to cool 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and let cool another 10 minutes while you prepare the topping.
TO COAT THE MUFFINS:
Prep topping: place melted butter in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine sugar and spices until thoroughly mixed (see notes).
Dunk tops (or the whole muffin!): dunk warm muffin tops into melted butter, allowing any excess to drip off, and then roll the muffin tops in the spiced sugar. Repeat process for all remaining muffins.
Double dunk: Once each muffin has been coated, dunk the tops one more time each in the spiced sugar (but not the butter) to add a second layer of topping.
Share and enjoy: serve warm or keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Share and enjoy the cinnamon and sugar goodness!
Test Kitchen Tips
Cardamom: I love using cardamom in the topping to elevate this classic flavor profile and bring a light citrus undertone to the spices, but if you’re a die-hard lover of classic cinnamon and sugar donuts, or have a picky little eater at home, simply leave the cardamom out.
Make it mini! To make delicious mini muffins that will put a donut hole to shame, prepare the batter in the same manner and just adjust the bake time to 10-14 minutes. You should get about 30 mini muffins per batch. For a proper donut hole finish, dunk the whole mini muffin into the melted butter, shake off any excess, and coat fully in the cinnamon sugar.
Greased Pans: One of the classic features of a donut is that buttery caramelized crust. To achieve it, we recommend baking these muffins right in a greased muffin pan rather than a muffin pan lined with muffin papers. In a pinch, you absolutely can use muffin papers; you’ll just find that the resulting donut muffins are a bit more muffin-y and a bit less donut-y (but still delicious!).
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