The Muffin Tin Trick For A Perfect Donut Pan In A Pinch

bite taken out of donut
bite taken out of donut - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

When making fried donuts or even TikTok's viral two-ingredient donut holes, there's no need for a pan or mold, as the dough can simply be cut into circles before being tossed into a pot of oil. However, if you're making cake donuts, which are baked and call for batter instead of dough, a donut pan is usually necessary. The problem with donut pans is they aren't very versatile. You can really only use them for one type of baked good, and they take up valuable cabinet space.

Fortunately, there's a clever workaround for those who want to make cake donuts without buying a specialized pan: Use a muffin tin. Although muffin tins don't have the traditional donut shape, you can easily adapt them by rolling strips of aluminum foil into little tubes and placing them in the center of each muffin cup. Pouring the batter around the foil cylinders you created will then form a hole in the center of each donut, much like a donut pan. This method might result in donuts with a slightly flatter bottom, but it's an effective muffin tin hack that avoids the need for a dedicated donut pan.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

Tips For Turning A Muffin Tin Into A Donut Pan

foil tubes in muffin tin
foil tubes in muffin tin - Instagram/Funfetti

Using aluminum foil to turn your muffin tin into a donut pan can be effective, but it's easy to make little mistakes that could lead to a batch of muffin-shaped donuts instead. This is primarily because cake donuts contain baking powder or baking soda, which makes them rise significantly in the oven. If your aluminum foil tubes aren't tall enough, the rising batter might spill over into the center, essentially turning your intended donuts into muffins with foil stuck in the middle. When filling a traditional donut pan, you typically leave ¼ inch of space from the top to accommodate rising. So, when using a muffin tin, you need to make sure your aluminum foil is sized accordingly.

It's also important to create aluminum foil tubes that are structurally sound. Since aluminum foil isn't very sturdy, a single layer might not withstand the pressure of the expanding batter and could collapse. To prevent this, roll the foil multiple times to thicken the walls of your makeshift tube. The hole should be about as wide as your middle finger when using a standard-size muffin tin, which will ensure you achieve the best shape.

What You Should Know Before Baking Donuts In A Muffin Tin

baked donuts on cooling rack
baked donuts on cooling rack - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Before you start baking donuts in a muffin tin, it's important to remember that these tins are designed for muffins and cupcakes, which are typically baked with a liner to prevent sticking. Donuts don't have specialized liners, so you'll need to ensure that both the aluminum foil and the pan itself are well-greased. This is crucial even if you're using a non-stick muffin pan, as a bit of greasing will help with the easy removal of the donuts.

If you're concerned about the donuts sticking to the pan, there's also the option of lining the bottom of each muffin cavity with foil rather than only creating a single foil tube in the middle. For this method, instead of rolling up a piece of foil, you would form it around your finger, then carefully adjust the sides of the foil to fit the contour of the bottom of each muffin cup. This method ensures easier release of the donuts from the pan, although the foil will be crinkly, so the edges of the donuts may not turn out as smooth. Nonetheless, using foil is a reliable workaround when you bake donuts without a specialized pan.

Read the original article on Daily Meal