Donuts replace the bread in this indulgent French toast casserole that makes the perfect special occasion breakfast!
Did you know that today is National Donut Day? Actually, never mind. The important thing is that I knew. For the first time in my food blogging career, I was actually aware of a national food day and planned a post to celebrate! I can’t tell you how many times over the past year I’ve been like, Why is everybody Instagraming grilled cheese? Why is everybody posting recipes for nachos? Food holidays, it seems, are like parties in high school: I’m always the last to know.
But this time, I found out last week that June 3rd was National Donut Day, and quickly got to work brainstorming recipes. My first idea was to make healthy baked donuts (maybe a Raisin Bran version? But am I the only person on the planet who actually likes Raisin Bran? Alex thinks so…). But then I decided that National Donut Day is not about being health conscious; National Donut Day is about splurging, Homer Simpson style.
Thus, I bring you Overnight Donut French Toast Casserole, probably the most indulgent recipe on this whole site. It’s OK, though, because we’re only going to eat it once a year ?
No disrespect to pancakes, but French toast will always come first in my heart. I actually do this weird cognitive-behavioral thing where if I’m anxious about something and can’t sleep at night, I’ll plan my ideal day of food. (See. I told you it was weird. But I swear it really distracts me and helps me fall asleep!) Almost every time, I pick French toast for my fantasy breakfast.
Don’t worry, I eat it a lot in real life, too. Owen adores French toast, and many weekend mornings he and I will make it together using leftover challah. His favorite parts are cracking the eggs and adding a little sprinkle of cinnamon to the batter. He always says, “Just a pinch!” and it’s basically the cutest thing ever.
The only bad thing about French toast is that it’s sort of a production, and it’s hard to serve to multiple people at once without feeling like a short order cook. That’s why French toast casseroles are so wonderful. Everything gets prepped in advance and refrigerated overnight. All you have to do in the morning is bake it and pour on the maple syrup.
My recipe replaces the bread with store-bought cake donuts. Just cut them all up into bite-sized pieces and spread them in a baking dish. The whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and a pinch of salt. Pour over the donuts, cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for at least one hour and up to overnight. Bake the casserole until it is puffed and golden and your kitchen smells a-MAZ-ing.
You can serve this simply with maple syrup, or dress it up with berries and whipped cream. It would make a show stopping addition to any brunch gathering, and (shhh!) I think it has “Father’s Day” written all over it.
- 12 store-bought cake donuts (such at Entenmann's)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Maple syrup, for serving
- Berries, for serving
- Lightly spray an 8-x-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Cut the donuts into bite-sized pieces scatter evenly in the baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the donuts. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap from the dish and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the French toast is puffed and the top is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve with maple syrup and fresh berries.