baking/recipes/sweets/totoro week

Totoro Black Sesame Donuts Recipe

Posted October 28, 2014 by Stephanie
totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -
Totoro week continues with these black sesame Totoros! Be sure to check out Lyndsay’s Totoro cake tutorial and my Totoro apple pie pancakes!

totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -

Do you guys ever picture something coming out perfectly? Maybe this is a weird quirk of mine, but sometimes I’ll day dream about dishes. I’ll obsess over the ingredients, the way the finished product is going to look and how it’s going to taste. Usually, when I do this, it ends in disaster. Once, I invited my in-laws over for pizza. This was when I just started cooking and I wasn’t really too confident in the kitchen. I thought about the toppings, the dough, the logistics of baking off pizzas while they were over, how I set the table, everything.

totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -

Of course, on the day that we were supposed to have pizza, the oven wasn’t working properly. We went out for dinner. It was fine, but it wasn’t homemade pizza. Anyway, something similar happened with these doughnuts. I thought about them and thought about them for so long that when I finally made them, they didn’t look as Totoro as I wanted. I really, really wanted to use glaze-dipped almonds for ears, but the crumb was so tender (usually a good thing) that the almonds wouldn’t hold. I went through 3 doughnuts before I gave up. The only good thing about the broken doughnuts was the fact that I got to stress eat them.

totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -

I don’t even know why I cared so much about the almond ears. These Totoro doughnuts weren’t for a party or even someone else – they were just for me. Happily though, I think they kind of came out looking like earless Totoros. They aren’t as über-Totoro as I pictured them, but they were delicious, mainly because I used my favourite Asian dessert ingredient, black sesame, to flavour these guys. If you haven’t had black sesame seeds, they’re similar to regular white sesame, but with a slight taste difference. They’re a bit more nutty, roast-y, and smoky. If you like peanut-y or nutty desserts, you’ll like black sesame!

totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -

Baked Black Sesame Donuts Recipe
makes 10 donuts


  • 1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk


  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • black food coloring

Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray a non-stick 6 count doughnut pan.

With a mortar and pestle, grind the sesame seeds until slightly crushed. Whisk together the sesame seeds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, melted butter, egg, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. The batter will be quite thick. Spoon into a ziplock bag, cut off the corner and pipe into the donut wells. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until slightly brown and an inserted toothpick comes out dry. Let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Make the glaze: Mix together all of the ingredients until smooth. If needed, adjust viscosity: add more powdered sugar (by the teaspoon) to make the glaze thicker and more milk (by the teaspoon) to make it thinner.

Spoon out two small bowls of glaze and set them aside. Tint one bowl black and leave the other white. You’ll use these for Totoro’s eyeballs, nose and whiskers.

Tint the remaining glaze grey. Dip the doughnuts to glaze and set glaze side up on a tray. Use a piping bag or ziplock back with the tip cut of and pipe on white eyeballs as well as body whiskers. Use the black glaze to put in the pupils, nose and face whiskers. Enjoy!

totoro black sesame baked donuts recipe -


  1. So Adorable! I full licensed fan of any black sesame baked good. The cute as icing is pushing this the over edge!

    1. steph says:

      YES!! if i see black sesame, i’m there!

  2. Ellie says:

    Oh my gosh, these are so so sweet. I love them! It sucks when you have such a strong idea in your head of what you want and it doesn’t go to plan. It can sometimes blind you to how well it still did go (and these are awesome).
    I’ve had black sesame ice cream, which is totally delicious, but never used it myself

    1. steph says:

      black sesame ice cream is SO good!

      and yes, i’m a little crazy with the ideas in my head lol!

  3. Milja says:

    I think those are adorable! :)

    1. steph says:

      thanks you milja! ♡♡♡

  4. Sonja says:

    Oh my gosh these make my heart melt! Black sesame and Totoro… the perfect combination! I love black sesame. I did a kind of crazy happy dance in public when I found black sesame soft serve at a huge Japanese market in New Jersey last weekend. I was just too excited to care :)

    Okay, time to bite the bullet and purchase a donut pan!

    1. steph says:

      lady, i would have been dancing right alongside with you!! sometimes i contemplate buying a soft serve machine so i can make matcha black sesame twists :)

  5. oh but these are so cute! i totally didn’t notice the ear-less-ness until you pointed it out. ps. what is that font on your totoro logo? it’s utter cuteness.

    1. steph says:

      thanks myriam!! i drew the totoro font it in illustrator :D

  6. Sophie says:

    So cute! Love black sesame, nutty and delightful!

    1. steph says:

      yes, nutty and delightful!!! i want to spread the black sesame love :)

  7. Karishma says:

    This is soo cute. Love the black sesame idea!!

    1. steph says:

      thank you karishma!!! ♡♡♡

    1. steph says:

      *blush* thanks michelle :)

  8. cynthia says:

    Awww, poor little ears!! I know exactly how you feel with expectations v. my eventual realities, but I didn’t even notice little Totoro was missing anything until I read the post! These are GORGEOUS (and ummmm you know I love me some black sesame — YES) I’ll have to make these ASAP, ears or no ears!

  9. Erika says:


  10. What a great idea using black sesame seeds! I would have never thought of that!

  11. I can’t get over how cute these are Stephanie! I love totoro and these are the ultimate fangirl recipe!

  12. i love that you are obsessive as me when it comes to “planning”! and i also have had many times where the outcome is SOOO not as i expected but i come to love it anyway!!! TOTORO black sesame d-nuts ! you rascal! i showed this to teddy and he started giggling hysterically screaming “TO-TO-TO!” love these adorable donuts so much, steph! xoxo

  13. Black sesame everything please. Seriously. so. good.
    Plus, anything this damn cute is amazing.

  14. KY says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Black sesame desserts are so delicious-my favorite is black sesame sweet soup.

  15. Tieghan says:

    Cutest donuts ever!!

  16. Oh my goodness! These are ridiculously cute.
    I love black seasame- if you’ve never had black sesame ice cream, I so highly suggest making some. The flavors on this donut sound amazing. Saving!

  17. Alana says:

    Um, black sesame everything. For real. I used to hate the flavor of sesame seeds and now I can’t get enough of it. Go figure. As for these totoro donuts–don’t hate me but I wouldn’t have even realized he should have had ears. So in my eyes, these are perfect!!

  18. Gaby says:

    So cute!!! Love this idea!!

  19. These donuts look amazing. The grey glaze makes me happy :)

  20. Amanda Vuu says:

    omgggg. if totoro was a flavor, he totally would be black sesame seed!!!
    i am really really really in love.

  21. Nate says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Totorial”?

  22. Diep says:

    Hey! Does the glaze become dry? I`d like to make some donut for my friends but I scare the wet glaze will make the box dirty :(

    1. steph says:

      After a while the glaze will dry, but if you poke at it, it will crack, so be careful while putting the donuts in the box. Hope that helps!

  23. Anthea says:

    Can I use this recipe in a cupcake format? Anything different in the cooking process that needs to be changed ie: baking time or temperature?

    1. steph says:

      i haven’t tried them as cupcakes – but my thoughts are that the batter won’t do as well as a cupcake. it’s a pretty stiff batter compared to cupcake batter (which is much, much more moist).

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