I’m on a mission to make Coquito a year-round cocktail. Many Puerto Ricans only serve this coconut-rum-cinnamon “eggnog” during the holiday season. I’m over here trying to get others to see its full potential. These Coquito Cake Donuts are sure to set me up for success. I’ve smothered my Easy Cake Donuts in a coconut-based frosting and topped it with even more coconutty-amazingness. Surely, if anyone can convert the holiday crowd, it’s me with these donuts.
What is Coquito?
Coquito is a Puerto Rican holiday institution. This drink consists of fresh coconut milk, Puerto Rican moonshine, and cinnamon. That’s the recipe in its simplest forms. Because we’re not built the same way our ancestors were, though, we’ve tamed it a bit by adding sweeter milk and milder rum to the recipe. Unfortunately, cans have come into the picture in recent times, so even the fresh coconut milk is taking a backseat to the canned variety.
I invite you to check out my Coquito recipe if you haven’t had the privilege of tasting it yet. Words aren’t sufficient enough to describe this cocktail. It’s a creamy, cinnamon-packed rum drink that’s cool and mellow. Because we start making it in the warmer months and allow it to age, a properly-made coquito is unsuspecting in its potency. It’s often called Puerto Rican eggnog, but since it doesn’t have eggs in it, that’s not an accurate description. A coconut milk punch is better.
What are Coquito Cake Donuts?
Now that you know what coquito is, you may be wondering how we’re going to flip it into something edible. Instead of pouring coquito into a cocktail glass, we’re folding its flavors (and some of it if you have it on hand) into a glaze to top our Easy Cake Donuts.
Coconut, cinnamon, and rum are the flavors of coquito, so we’re creating a thick, spreadable glaze with which to top our fluffy cake donuts. Our donuts will also get a generous sprinkling of cinnamon-laced toasted coconut flakes in addition to the glaze. There’s no lack of flavor in these donuts, that’s for sure.
Do these cake donuts have coquito in them?
The best answer to that is, it depends. Whether or not your cake donuts have coquito in it depends on a few factors actually:
- Do you prefer a thick or thin glaze? If you prefer a thin glaze, you can add as much coquito to the glaze as you need to make it more fluid. If a thick glaze is more your steelo, you can make the glaze as written or leave it out completely. I’m a middle-of-the-road glaze gal, myself, so my glaze has a tablespoon or two of coquito added to it.
- Are you serving this to kiddos? Most of us will probably share these donuts with a kid or someone who may or may not drink alcohol. If that’s you, omit the coquito and use coconut milk or whole milk to thin the glaze to your liking.
- Do you even have coquito on hand? Since many people only make coquito during the holidays, you may not have any in the fridge. If you don’t, no worries, use coconut milk or whole milk instead.
What else do I need to make Coquito Cake Donuts?
You only need coquito to thin the recipe, unless you want to dip the donuts in the coquito a la tres leches style. Additionally, you need coconut oil, powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, coconut extract, rum extract (or real rum), ground cinnamon, and toasted coconut flakes. I’ll show you how to make the toasted coconut flakes later.
Oh! You’ll also need donuts. They’re kind of important here.
How do I make the donuts?
The donuts I use for this recipe are simple fried cake donuts. You can find the full recipe in this post. Because they’re so easy to make, you can whip up a batch and make these coquito cake donuts the same day. You can also freeze the cake donuts for up to two months. I recommend that since sometimes the donut craving hits hard and fast.
I really shouldn’t share this tip with you, but you can use store-bought cake or yeast donuts for this recipe. My eye just twitched. I don’t encourage this type of behavior, but I get it, sometimes we don’t feel like making a mess in the kitchen. If you want to take a shortcut, pick up a box of cake donuts from the store to use in place of freshly made, amazingly delicious, made with love, easy cake donuts. Guilt trip, much?
I give more detailed instructions on how to toast coconut in this recipe post. But for brevity’s sake, spread your sweetened coconut flakes out on a sheetpan in an even layer. Heat it for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F (177°C).
After 5 minutes:
- Remove the pan from the oven and toss the coconut flakes on the edges of the pan towards the center of the pan using a wide spatula.
- Shake the pan to even out the coconut flakes once again, then return the pan to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Repeat the folding, tossing, shaking-to-even-out process once more and return the pan to the oven. This third time should result in lightly browned (or toasted) coconut flakes.
- If so, remove the pan from the oven and allow the coconut flakes to cool completely. If the coco flakes are still too pale or white, repeat the tossing process and toast for another 5 minutes.
Once the coconut flakes are toasted and have cooled, toss them in the ground cinnamon. Set the coconut flakes aside while you prepare your glaze.
Do I have to use coconut oil for the glaze?
Coconut oil is important in this recipe because it’s what helps the glaze set up and gives it its flavor. If you don’t like the flavor of coconut, then I don’t know that this is a great recipe for you at all. However, you can replace the coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter if you want a milder flavor of coconut. One or the other needs to be used to get the proper consistency for the spreadable glaze.
Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for 20 seconds or until fluid.
Add the liquid coconut oil to the mixing bowl with your powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. The salt will cut through the sweetness of the sugar.
How do I give the glaze that Coquito flavor?
Next, add the coconut and rum extracts to the bowl with the sugar and the oil. These are the classic coquito flavors, so they’re a must. You can replace the rum extract with real rum if you want to, but remember that it will have some amount in it if you plan to serve this to children.
Use a whisk or a hand-held mixer to blend everything in the bowl together until smooth.
My glaze is super thick! How do I fix it?
The glaze will be very thick once mixed. Add anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons of coquito, coconut milk, or whole milk to the glaze to thin it to a spreadable (or pourable) consistency.
I prefer a glaze that is somewhere between frosting and a thick glaze. I want to spread my glaze because I like the way it holds the coconut flakes and because I’m just greedy like that. If you want a more fluid glaze that drips, you can add 3 tablespoons of liquid or heat the glaze in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Once heated, whisk the glaze to smooth it out, then dip your donuts into the mixture to coat them.
If you’re pulling a Marta, though, use a small spatula to spread the coquito glaze over the cake donuts in a thick layer. Next, sprinkle 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the cinnamon coconut flakes over the donuts before the glaze sets up.
How do I serve the Coquito Cake Donuts?
I serve my Coquito Cake Donuts with café con leche and fresh fruit. If you have coquito made and have no qualms about day drinking, serve it with a glass of that. Milk works well for most people, as does tea or orange juice. I’d treat it like any other donut you eat, though I bet it’s the best donut you’ve ever eaten thus far.
Fresh fruit, bacon, yogurt, or on its own, this donut is ready to be served.
How long can I keep them at room temperature?
Because there’s nothing harmful in the glaze or the donuts, these coquito cake donuts can sit out at room temperature for 2 days. Just wrap them or place them in a covered, airtight container to keep them from drying out. I don’t recommend storing them in the fridge because that cold air causes them to go stale faster.
You can heat them a smidge in the microwave, too. Just pop the donuts in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm them up slightly.
Can I freeze them?
You can most certainly freeze the donuts before topping them with the glaze and cinnamon coconut flakes, but I wouldn’t do so afterward. The donuts absorb the glaze, and the coconut begins to look muddy because of the cinnamon coating on it, so for the sake of aesthetics, wait until you thaw them to glaze and garnish them.
Freeze the naked donuts for 2 months and when you’re ready to enjoy them, allow them to thaw at room temperature. Spread the glaze on, then sprinkle the coconut flakes on them, and your coquito cake donuts are ready to eat! By the way, you can store the coconut flakes in the pantry in a container for 2-3 weeks or more.
What other Coquito recipes do you have?
I told you, I’m trying to be the Coquito subject matter expert, so I have tons of recipes to use it in:
My Coquito Cheesecake has been a hit since day one.
But then there’s this Coquito Tres Leches, which is also pretty dope.
But try out these Coquito Cake Donuts when you have a chance, and let me know what you think. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as we do. Don’t forget to pin and share it with your friends and family, too.
Coquito Cake Donuts
For the Toasted Cinnamon Coconut Flakes
- 3/4 cup (55 grams) sweetened coconut flakes
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Coquito Glaze
- 3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar
- pinch kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons (75 milliliters) coconut oil (or unsalted butter) melted
- 2 teaspoons rum extract (or gold rum)
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 milliliters) coquito or coconut milk or whole milk to thin (plus more if needed)
- 12 Easy Cake Donuts fully cooked
Toast the Coconut Flakes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).Spread the sweetened coconut flakes out on a sheetpan in an even layer. Place the pan in the oven and heat the coconut for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and toss the coconut flakes on the outer edges of the pan towards the center of the pan using a wide spatula.Shake the pan to even out the coconut flakes once again, then return the pan to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Repeat the folding, tossing, shaking-to-even-out process once more and return the pan to the oven. This third time should result in lightly browned (or toasted) coconut flakes. If so, remove the pan from the oven and allow the coconut flakes to cool completely. If the coconut is still too pale or white, repeat the tossing process and toast for another 5 minutes.
- Once the coconut flakes are toasted and have cooled, toss them in the ground cinnamon. Set the coconut flakes aside while you prepare your glaze.
Mix the Coquito Glaze
- In a mixing bowl combine the powdered sugar and salt. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for 20 seconds or until fluid. Add the liquid coconut oil to the bowl with the sugar and salt, along with the coconut and rum extracts. Use a whisk or a hand-held mixer to blend everything in the bowl together until smooth.
- The glaze will be very thick once mixed. Add anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons of coquito to the glaze to thin it to a spreadable (or pourable) consistency. If you want a more fluid glaze that drips, you can add all 3 tablespoons of liquid or heat the glaze in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Once heated, whisk the glaze to smooth it out, then dip your donuts into the mixture to coat them. If you prefer a thicker glaze, only add 1 tablespoon of the coquito.
- Use a small spatula to spread the coquito glaze over the cake donuts in a thick layer. Next, sprinkle 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the cinnamon coconut flakes over the donuts before the glaze sets up.If the glaze in the bowl becomes too thick, heat it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to loosen it up. Be sure to whisk it smooth before continuing to coat the donuts.
- Enjoy these Coquito Cake Donuts within 2 days of making them.
Swaps, Subs, and Tips:
- You can store the cinnamon-coated coconut flakes in the pantry in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks or more.
- Use gold or dark rum in place of rum extract
- Get help from the store by using boxed cake or yeast donuts instead of homemade.
- Use pre-toasted coconut flakes from the baking aisle instead of toasting them yourself.
- Store the coquito cake donuts in a covered, airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
- I don't recommend storing them in the fridge because that cold air causes them to go stale faster.
- Reheat the donuts for 15 seconds in the microwave to warm them up slightly.
- Freeze the donuts before topping them with the glaze and cinnamon coconut flakes.
- Transfer them to a freezer-safe storage container and freeze them for 2 months.
- Allow the frozen donuts to thaw at room temperature.
- Spread the glaze on, then sprinkle with the coconut flakes, and your coquito cake donuts are ready to eat!