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What was I thinking?

Go nuts [1]

Have you ever tried to make homemade cake doughnuts? Not the yeast kind… the cake kind? Well, I tried to last weekend and it was a disaster. I had dough stuck to my hands. Stuck to the counter. I did manage to squeak out a few doughnuts, but they ended up with crusty outsides and doughy, sticky insides. I was really frustrated, disappointed and ultimately donutless. But, I’m pretty sure I know what went wrong.

  1. When recipes say generously flour your surface… They mean it
  2. When recipes say heat oil to 365 degrees. They mean it. (But, in my defense, I didn’t have an oil thermometer and the oil looked hot.)

So this weekend, I gave it another go… and with much better results. Not perfect, but much better.

The dough was really sticky on both attempts, so I was sure something was wrong. But this time, I generously floured everything around… the surface, the rolling pin, my hands, me. I sprinkled flour on top of flour determined to make the dough workable.

Doughnuts [2]

And it worked. I was able to roll out the dough and cut circle shapes for the doughnuts. I don’t have a doughnut cutter, so I used two different size circle cutters. One about 3 inches wide and the other about 1 inch wide. Looks pretty good, huh?!

Stuck dough [3]

Not so fast. Ugh! I guess I still didn’t use enough flour because I couldn’t get them to come away from the surface.

Distress call [4]

Doughnut patties [5]

Frustrated, again… I just took the dough in my hand and formed doughnut patties and I used the small cutter to remove the centers while still holding the dough. (Hey, it worked.)

Finally, a good one [6]

Eventually, though, I got it down and was able to turn out some really pretty ones that I could even pick up. Yay!

Frying cake [7]

They went in the oil when the temperature was right.

Oil thermometer [8]

And I knew just when that would be because of my handy dandy new oil thermometer. It definitely makes a difference.

Doughnuts [9]

See. Doughnuts. (applause, here)

Doughnut holes dough [10]

The best thing about doughnuts? The scraps.

Doughnut holes [11]

You can fry them, too. Cover them in powdered sugar and it almost makes it worth all the trouble.

Dipped [12]

You can also make a glaze and dip the tops of your doughnuts.

Doughnuts [13]

Sprinkles don’t hurt either.

Doughnut [14]

Yum! And definitely not doughy inside. They were really pretty good. Maybe a tiny bit dry… or maybe I left them in the oil too long.

But, I’m not going to find out.

It was fun trying something new, but the next time I want doughnuts, I’ll be hitting up my local Dunkin’ Donuts for some chocolate glazed munchkins… and maybe a few blueberry ones for kicks.

Here’s the recipe I concocted after researching multiple ones for cake doughnuts in case you want to improve on it.

Slightly Dry Cake Doughnuts
4.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk*
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla

* Most of the recipes called for a cup of milk. I dropped it back thinking the dough was too wet, but it probably needs it for the moistness if you can figure out how to work with the dough. :)

Vanilla glaze
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3-5 Tbsp milk


P.S. Here’s what happens when you don’t own an oil thermometer. Doughnut disaster!

Messed up doughnuts [15]