Old-fashioned Cake Doughnuts

My husband grew up having homemade doughnuts every Halloween. It started out with his mom making glazed yeast doughnuts for a Halloween party and then it expanded because neighbors and friends heard about how delicious they are and wanted in on the scrumptiousness. It ended up being something where my mother-in-law was in the kitchen all day on Halloween making these doughnuts because of how many people wanted them! It got to be way too much for her so she stopped making them. I had no idea how famed these doughnuts were until one day my mother-in-law and father-in-law decided to make some for a family dinner that my husband and I were invited to. After one bite, I was converted. I decided to make some for myself. We began to make them every October (just not on Halloween) and served them with chili, just like his family used to do. The tradition has changed slightly now. We make them about once a year, but we don’t always do it in October and we don’t always have them with chili. My sister-in-law has kept the tradition alive though by preparing them every year for the family Halloween party that they do.

As you can imagine, when I saw a book for homemade doughnuts in the library, I was excited to try out some new recipes. I picked up this book especially for the cake doughnut recipes. While we have a really yummy recipe for the glazed yeast doughnut, we do not have a recipe for cake doughnuts. And I love cake doughnuts even more than yeast doughnuts! I also loved that the recipes for the doughnuts were reasonably sized – to make about 1 dozen of each kind. If I had more than that in my house, my hips would surely be double the size they are now! Anyway, let’s get to the recipe, which comes from Homemade Doughnuts by Kamal Grant (who is a chef from Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, GA).

Donuts book

Old-fashioned Cake Doughnuts

2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons (4.5g) nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/2 cup (112 g) unsalted butter, melted

4 cups (940 ml) vegetable oil, for frying

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough comes together to form a ball. Roll out the dough to about 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick. Cut the dough using a floured doughnut cutter or a round cookie cutter.

Pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm) into an electric fryer or deep saucepan and heat to 375*F (190*C). Place three or four doughnuts in the fryer and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 1 1/2 minutes. Fry the holes separately, making sure they are submerged in the oil, about 2 minutes total. Remove from the fryer and place on paper towels or a rack to cool and drain.

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 doughnuts


I made this one in my stand mixer and the dough is very sticky when you are first done mixing it. You want to make sure that you mix it for at least 5 minutes so it has the full gluten development, but even after that, I sincerely thought that the recipe must not have included enough flour. I decided to give it a try as written before I made any modifications. I did omit the nutmeg, simply because I did not want the spice in the cake doughnut. I was looking for something very simple so I kept it out (I’m sure it would taste great with it included though). After mixing it well and letting it rest for 10 minutes, I poured (yes, poured) the batter out onto my floured counter top. I sprinkled it with a little flour and then rolled it out to the 3/4 inches suggested. I used a round cookie cutter to cut out the doughnuts and fried them as directed. They puffed up beautifully and were very yummy! I topped them with a simple powdered sugar glaze using powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. We loved them! They were gone very quickly. I can’t wait to try some of the other doughnut and glaze recipes in this book, such as chocolate cake doughnuts, pistachio icing, salted caramel icing, or lemon curd filling.


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