A basic box chocolate cake mix includes the same basic ingredients needed to make cake donuts: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. A simple adjustment of the wet ingredients needed to bake a cake allow you to use a chocolate cake mix for making chocolate cake doughnut holes.
Box cake mixes generally call for 1 cup of water, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and 3 whole eggs per box to create a fairly runny batter. Doughnut batter can be made runny, though thicker than cake mix, or stiff to a dough that you can roll out and cut. The dough consistency depends on whether you plan to bake or fry the donuts, or if you use a doughnut hole form pan or form them by hand. When making doughnuts, reduce the liquid by about one-fourth, substituting buttermilk if desired, replace the vegetable oil with melted butter, and reduce the eggs by one-third. If you want to roll out the dough to cut your own doughnuts, add up to 1 cup of flour to thicken the batter to a dough.
Shaping the Doughnut Holes
The cake ball fad has made a variety of molded cake pans available. You can fill the round molds with the amended, runnier cake doughnut batter without worrying about making mess or achieving the perfect consistency for rolled dough. Thickened doughnut dough can be rolled in your hands to create perfectly round balls about 1 inch in diameter. Alternatively, you can roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and use a small cookie cutter to cut out the doughnut holes. This is the method doughnut shops use, though the holes are cut from the center of ring donuts. One easy trick if you don't have a small, round cutter is to cut out the dough with a clean bottle cap.
Cooking the Doughnuts
Doughnut holes in cake ball pans must be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you roll or cut your own doughnut holes, you can follow the same time and temperature guidelines for baking or deep-fry them. Heat peanut oil or a similar oil to 350 F -- clip a thermometer on the side to maintain temperature -- using about 1 1/2 inches of oil. Add the doughnut holes to the oil and fry for about 30 seconds on the first side. Turn them and fry the second side for about 30 seconds more or until golden-brown.
Decorating the Doughnut Holes
Half the fun of making doughnut holes is decorating them. If you have kids in the house, recruit them as helpers. You can spread a bit of your favorite chocolate frosting on them as an easy decoration and, if you wish, roll them in some colored sprinkles or chocolate jimmies. Try filling a small bowl with powdered sugar and tossing the doughnut holes around if you like powdered donuts. To make a simple glaze, mix powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk until thin. Dip the doughnut holes in the glaze for full coverage or drizzle some on top with a spoon.