Monday, May 13, 2013

Homemade Cake Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar

Homemade cake donut recipe
Cinnamon+Sugar = Breakfast!

I think a large contributing factor to my donut-making insomnia is the fact that I co-sleep with a 2-year-old. Evidently, Blair and I are the kind of hippies that won't kick our kid out of bed until she wants her own independence. It's all snuggles and stories at bedtime, but come 2am, it's this:

Co-sleeping positions

Case in point:
Co-sleeping positions
Tonight happens to be a "Roundhouse Kick/H is for Hell" co-sleeping night

Don't get me wrong, 99% of the time I love co-sleeping with Gwen. She snuggles into the nook between my chin and my shoulder, I kiss her forehead and thank my lucky stars for this magical time in her life when she wants to snuggle every night with no one but her mom. I know that this short time will draw to a close soon and my heart squeezes at the thought of her growing up so fast and becoming independent.

But this fine evening I woke up with feet in my throat and about 4" of room in the bed. The bedroom was hot, I was tangled in blankets and the scent of diaper was wafting around my face. Like a good insomniac, instead of repositioning the little culprit and going back to sleep, I got up, made some tea, had a snack and started thinking about donuts.

So far, my donut-making career had included raised and old-fashioned, but not the classic cake. Cake donuts have so much exciting potential for delicious and appealing toppings. Chocolate, vanilla, maple icings...nuts, coconut, sprinkles...the mappings are endless. And the best part of making them at home is having complete control and creative license over your donut toppings. But since this was my first time making cake donuts, I thought I would keep it simple and just toss them in cinnamon-sugar.

The holes are popular at Blair's meetings. After 4 rings, a couple of holes are a nice top-off.

These were really quite easy to make, you just have to be sure to chill the dough well before handling. Imagine trying to cut cake batter with a cookie cutter. I can't imagine anything more frustrating! But if you whip up the dough before going to bed and chill it overnight (or you're lucky enough to wake up at 2am with toddler feet in your face), then you and your dough will be best friends in the morning.

INGREDIENTS for 18 smallish (2.5") cake donuts and holes

Donuts (This cake donut recipe is adapted (bastardized is more like it!) from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsalted Irish butter
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2/3 cup whole milk
lots of canola oil for frying - enough to fill your pot 2" deep

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon


  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp ground nutmeg. Whisk to combine and aerate and set aside for a sec.
  2. Pop on the paddle attachment to your mixer and blend the 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tbsp butter at medium speed until you have fluffy sand.
  3. Add the large egg and egg yolk and mix again on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  4. With your mixer speed turned down to low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the whole milk. Mix until just combined.
  5. Throw the dough in a bowl, cover it with plastic and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. The dough is sticky and needs to be well chilled so you can handle it...kind of like pie crust.
  6. Once your dough is chilled, the next step is to assemble the cinnamon-sugar. It might seem strange to make the topping before you've rolled, cut and fried your donuts, but all those steps go pretty fast, and you want to be sure your cinnamon-sugar is ready when the donuts are still hot. Use a bowl with a wide mouth to fit your fingers, a donut and a spoon for optimal tossing and sugar-coating. Combine the 1 cup of sugar with 2 tbsp cinnamon. Mix well and let it hang out on deck until the end.
  7. Now you can roll out your dough and start cutting some rings and holes! Roll to 1/2" thick and go to town with your 2.5" donut cutter. Place each ring and hole on a floured cookie sheet but don't wait too long to fry. As the butter in the dough comes to room temperature, the donuts will get sticky and soft and they'll be harder to get into the oil without bollocksing the shape.
  8. Lug out your big stock pot and fill it 2” deep with canola oil, turn the heat on to medium, stick in a thermometer and wait for the oil to heat up to 370° F. Unload your dishwasher or do some other multi-tasking that keeps you in the kitchen so you can check the oil temperature frequently...not a good idea to muti-task elsewhere because it increases your chances of forgetting about the hot oil as you chat with your neighbor on a dog-walk about the annoying construction on the street and burn your house down. That will eventually create more construction on the street and your neighbor with be annoyed with you too...and it would be really lame to burn your house down.
  9. Once your oil reaches 370° F, it's fry time! Using a metal spatula, lower each ring into the hot oil. The donuts will sink to the bottom at first, then pop up to the top. Cook them for 40 seconds then flip and cook the other side for 40 seconds or until the donuts are golden brown and then transfer to a wire rack.
  10. When the donuts are still hot but not deathly hot, toss them in the cinnamon-sugar, making sure to coat everywhere. Eat. Eat, eat. Eat, stop. Eat one more.