Monday, June 3, 2013

Cornmeal Cake Donuts with Honey Butter Frosting

Cornmeal Cake Donuts with Honey Butter Frosting
Honey cornbread in a donut...with honey butter frosting...and lots of it!

My husband Blair is a California boy, but his family is from the Midwest, so naturally, it's in his DNA to be all about corn. He loves it on the cob, he loves it in bread, he even loves it out of a frozen package, dumped in a tupperware in the morning and set on top of his desktop computer all day to thaw from the heat of the CPU. Sighhh...

Cornbread in a Donut
Smother these in honey-butter, just like you would a slice of cornbread

So whenever I'm in the mood to remind myself of my wifely power over his will, I'll have a batch of honey cornbread ready for him when he comes home.

Now that I think about it, it seems cruel to taunt my fit, paleo-dieting husband with honey cornbread. I'm actually feeling a little ashamed of myself right now! But I guess we all push each other's buttons, so if I do it with carbs and sweets, I suppose things could be worse.

Homemade cornmeal donuts
Cream cheese helps balance the honey in the frosting, but make sure it has warmed to room temperature before blending the frosting or you'll end up with weird-looking chunkies

These donuts are all the goodness of Midwest honey cornbread in a donut shape. They're crusty on the outside and meaty-soft on the inside. And since cornbread and honey-butter are best friends, I paired these donuts with a cream-cheese-based frosting with honey and butter. They're a nice top-off after a Midwest lunch of beer, brats and hanky pankies (thank you to my in-laws in Illinois for introducing me to that debauchery).

INGREDIENTS for 12 donuts and holes

Cornmeal Cake Donuts
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsalted Irish butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
lots of canola oil - enough to fill your pot 2" deep

Honey Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (Martha's recipe)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 package of regular cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup honey


  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp kosher salt. Whisk to combine and aerate and set aside for a sec.
  2. Pop on the paddle attachment to your mixer and blend the 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tbsp butter at medium speed until you have fluffy sand.
  3. Add the large egg yolks 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, honey and lemon zest. 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, you can roll it out and start cutting some donuts! Roll to 1/2" thick and go to town with your 2.5" donut cutter. Place each donut 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.
  7. 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 350° F. Unload your dishwasher or do some other multi-tasking that keeps you in the kitchen so you can check the oil temperature frequently.
  8. Once your oil reaches 350° F, it's fry time! Using a metal spatula, lower each donut 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.
  9. While the donuts are cooling, make the honey butter frosting. Blend butter, cream cheese and honey in your mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Scrape down the sides when needed. It's important that your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature or you'll end up with chunkies in your frosting. Ew.
  10. When your donuts have cooled completely, spread the frosting on the tops with a knife and enjoy!

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