Salted Espresso Chocolate Donuts

I am a sucker for salt.

It brings brightness of flavour to any baked good.  Cookies tasting a bit flat? Salt. Making a caramel tart? Salt. Chocolate? Salt.

I’m not kidding.

When I was in Napa, I came across Whole Spice at the Oxbow Public Market.  I could have spent the day there – they had all sorts of unique spices and ENDLESS types of salt, sourced from various places and some were flavoured with citrus or other spices.  I saw their espresso salt and with one smell I knew I had to try it.

I brainstormed how to use this salt, knowing it would go hand in hand with chocolate and thought I would keep on my donut train and give chocolate espresso donuts a whirl.  I ended up using my Guinness chocolate donut recipe as a base as Guinness has such lovely coffee notes I knew it would be a great compliment.

If you can’t find espresso salt, don’t fret.  Regular sea salt will work fine, you may just have to tweak the coffee proportion in your glaze if you want a more intense coffee flavour.


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of espresso salt (optional)
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 7 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Glaze Ingredients

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp espresso or cold brew coffee
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Espresso salt or sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 425F and grease a donut tin with butter.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir with a whisk until uniform and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together Guinness, sour cream, egg and vanilla and set aside.

Whisk together butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Add half the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.  Add wet ingredients, then remaining dry ingredients, whisking until just incorporated after each addition.


IMG_4259Spoon batter into donut pan until 1/2-3/4 full.  Bake 7-8 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.IMG_4260


Whisk together icing sugar, milk, coffee and vanilla until smooth.  Dip donuts in glaze, wiggling around to cover the sides.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and allow to set on a rack with aluminum foil underneath to catch drips (trust me, it saves you lots of mess).


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