Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Step-By-Step Guide to Basic Cake Donuts

Hello friends, it's so great to see you here again! This past year has been a busy one, with two growing toddlers, swimming lessons, gymnastics and preschool.

We also moved from the SF Bay area to the Seattle area and I am SO EXCITED to be living in the same town as these:

Top Pot Doughnuts
Top Pot Doughnuts

and these:

Mighty-O Donuts
Mighty-O Donuts

and just three hours away from these:

Voodoo Doughnut
Voodoo Doughnut

It's pretty awesome to be back in Seattle. This is my hometown. This is where I made fond college memories of eating a dozen Krispy Kremes at 4am and where I was originally inspired to make donuts after visiting Top Pot Doughnuts every morning for a month. I bought the Top Pot Doughnut Cookbook, made the maple bars and the rest is history (history that is well-documented in this blog).

So, here I am, back in Seattle (the land of donuts), with some free time in the mornings while my kids do Montessori jobs. In short, I'm back! And I'm hungry for new donut creations!!! Are you too??

As you know, it has been a loooooong time since my last post and honestly, I'm a little out of donut-making practice. So I decided to start from the beginning (again) with basic cake donuts.

How to Make Great Cake Donuts

This is a step-by-step guide to making my favorite basic spiced cake donuts. The recipe is straight-forward, easy and pretty fast to whip up before a dinner party or bake sale. You can finish these with anything you'd like: vanilla icing, chocolate icing, nuts, sprinkles, bacon, whatever!

Step 1 - First combine the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.

Step 2 - Give them a quick whisk to blend and aerate. Also knows as "cheater sifting."

Step 3 - Cream the butter and sugar...

...to a nice sandy paste. Then,

Step 4 -  Add the eggs and vanilla....

and blend until frothy.

Step 5 - Add the dry ingredients and the milk.

Blend until just combined into a sticky batter. See those little bits of nutmeg in there? That's going to be so good!

Step 6 - Scrape the dough directly into plastic wrap.

Step 7 - Wrap it up into a disk and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. This dough is sticky and moist, so it needs to be chilled before rolling.

Step 8 - After the dough has chilled, unwrap it on a well-floured surface.

Step 9 - Roll dough to 1/2" thickness. After years of rolling pie crusts and cookies, you might go on auto-pilot and roll the dough out too thin. Keep in mind that 1/2" is pretty thick.

Step 10 - Use a 2.5" round cutter for the outer ring...

...and a 1" round cutter for the inner hole...

...and cut donuts. 

My apologies for such a long post. I have a lot to say after taking such a long break from my last post!

Step 11 - Re-roll the scraps.

I ended up with 20 donuts, which is the perfectly sized batch. It allows you plenty of samples while still being able to arrive at parties with a dozen without any one the wiser.

Step 12 - Fill a pot with about 2" of peanut oil and heat to 360° F. Gently lower donuts into the oil with a spatula, being careful not to splatter oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you can fry a few donuts at a time as long as they don't bump into each other. Fry for 2 minutes on each side.

Look at that golden brown color. That's what you're going for. I recommend doing the Eat-Color Test. Eat the first donut and if it's cooked in the middle, remember the color and fry the rest of the donuts to that same color. Scientific, huh? I invented that.

Check out that wonderful crumb.

Cake Donut Recipe

Final Step - Finish these with...vanilla or chocolate icing? YES. Tossed in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar? YES. Sprinkles, nuts, coconut, bacon? YES! YES! YES! YES!

Basic Cake Donut Recipe

Enjoy <3. It's good to be back. - Misha

(Makes about 20 donuts)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp finely ground sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk


  1. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine and aerate.
  2. Cream sugar and butter until you have a fluffy paste.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients and the milk until just combined.
  5. Scrape the dough out of the bowl directly into plastic wrap. Wrap it up tightly and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Once your dough is chilled, roll to 1/2" thick and cut donuts with a 2.5" round cutter and 1" hole cutter. Here's the Round Cutter Set that I used.
  7. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot 2” deep with peanut oil, turn the heat on to medium, stick in a thermometer and wait for the oil to heat up to 360° F.
  8. 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. Fry for 2 minutes then flip and fry the other side for 2 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
  9. When your donuts have cooled, apply any icings, coatings or toppings (there are many ideas on this blog) and you're done!


  1. Welcome to the NW. Donuts are great on a rainy NW day.

  2. Yes, welcome to the Pacific NW. It is the best place for hot, fresh donuts and coffee. Can't wait to see some more donut recipes.