Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

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Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

star rating (9) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Here are the doughnuts for a sugar party. They're a traditional New England cake doughnut, one of those baked goods that, when they were developed, took advantage of that relatively new leaven, baking powder, as well as a method of cooking that made them available for eating pretty quickly and simply. They're really about as easy and quick to make as muffins. Cake doughnuts are de rigueur for sugaring. For sugaring, serve as is. But if you have a yen for doughnuts at another time of year, shake them in confectioners' sugar after they've cooled, or nutmeg sugar (a cousin of cinnamon sugar).

2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon lemon oil or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
3 1/2 cups (14 7/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 quarts (3 pounds) lard, shortening or vegetable oil

While you prepare the dough, begin heating the lard (best flavor), shortening (less saturated fat but also less flavor), or vegetable oil (probably the healthiest alternative but if you're doing these for flavor, this is not the choice to make). An 8-quart stock pot is an appropriate size cooking container.

You want the fat to reach somewhere between 365°F and 375°F before you begin to cook. It's best to have a thermometer that you can clip onto the side of your pot so you can monitor the temperature. And make temperature changes slowly. Unlike water, it takes time for the fat to respond to increased or decreased heat. It's easy, if you're too exuberant, to have the temperature begin to soar up to the smoke point. And it doesn't like to give up its heat easily.

Beat together the eggs, buttermilk, sugar and lemon oil or zest until light. In a separate bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Melt the butter but make sure it's not excessively hot. Quickly blend the dry ingredients with the wet and stir in the melted butter. The resulting dough will be quite soft, but if you keep surfaces well sprinkled with flour, you can manage it. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead four or five times to make it cohesive (a bench knife helps here). Then, with a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it's about 1/2-inch thick. With a doughnut cutter dipped in flour (each time you cut), cut out doughnuts. Save the "holes" or re-roll them with leftover dough. Try to handle the dough as little as possible.

When the fat is at the appropriate temperature, lower three or four doughnuts into it. A slotted spoon is useful here. They will initially sink to the bottom of the pot but will rise shortly. Give them a minute or so on one side, then flip them over and give them another minute. Flip them a third time and cook for another 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels (or brown paper grocery bags). Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 dozen doughnuts, depending on the size of your cutter.

Nutrition information per serving based on 2 dozen (1 doughnut, 50g): 159 cal, 5.8g fat, 3g protein, 15g complex carbohydrates, 8g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 31mg cholesterol, 117mg sodium, 57mg potassium, 17RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 63mg calcium, 55mg phosphorus.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 03/30/2015
  • Ann from Vermont
  • We decided to start a new Palm Sunday/sugaring season tradition, and make homemade doughnuts. We chose this recipe and were not disappointed! They were easy to make and absolutely delicious. We used lemon zest, lard and maybe just a smidge more nutmeg than called for. I was slightly leery of the lard - it sure did smell a little funny as it heated up on the stove, but I'm really glad we used it. My father pronounced them perfect and said they reminded him of his mom's. We're already looking forward to making them next year!
  • star rating 03/29/2015
  • Ann from Vermont
  • We decided to start a new Palm Sunday/sugaring season tradition, and make homemade doughnuts. We chose this recipe and were not disappointed! They were easy to make and absolutely delicious. We used lemon zest, lard and maybe just a smidge more nutmeg than called for. I was slightly leery of the lard - it sure did smell a little funny as it heated up on the stove, but I'm really glad we used it. My father pronounced them perfect and said they reminded him of his mom's. We're already looking forward to making them next year!
  • star rating 06/19/2014
  • from
  • star rating 01/23/2014
  • dana from brooklyn
  • Flavor is good...Would love a suggestion on how to make these more moist (other than the one already mentioned)? Thanks, Dana
    I would try using oil as your fat and see if that helps you achieve what you are looking for. ~Amy
  • star rating 01/10/2011
  • dabyrd from KAF Community
  • I haven't made doughnuts for years, but got a whim to on this snowy Arkansas afternoon. I had been saving some bacon grease for awhile, thinking I might like to try again (remembering my years in New Hampshire, and the doughnuts I used to make). These were wonderful!! My two little grandsons were very happy to sample, and they were gone in no time!! I will use this recipe often!!
  • star rating 05/09/2010
  • C. Anderson from Annapolis, MD
  • I've made these twice now, and like the other reviewers noticed, they came out with a really good flavor, but a bit dry inside. The dough is a bit sticky at first, but I let it rest for a few minutes and it seemed to soak up the flour (I had to just barely flour my work surface to keep it from sticking). Next time I try these, I think I'll bump up the liquid content just a bit and see if that makes a difference.
  • star rating 09/08/2009
  • CJ from Seattle
  • This was my second venture into doughnut making-- the first was with the Vermont Doughnut Holes which were AMAZING! These didn't turn out as well for me-- mainly a texture issue. My doughnuts ended up being relatively dense and dry inside. I mixed the dough by hand, and I am thinking that mixing it in my stand mixer instead might have made a difference.
    CJ - Hmmm, another reviewer said these were dry too. Mixing by hand should not be a problem. First I would make sure you are measuring your flour properly. There is a nice tutorial on our website. Click on Education>under Online Baking Resources>Measuring flour. And second, be sure not to knead too much flour into the dough although it may be tempting since it is sticky in nature. Elisabeth @ KAF
  • star rating 08/31/2009
  • J Clemons from Florida
  • This was the first time I made doughnuts, and this recipe made it so easy! They turned out wonderful and did not take a lot of time to prepare. I highly recommend.
  • star rating 03/20/2009
  • Daria from Central Maine
  • These were very good, but a little dry. I might try frying them less next time. I have a deep fryer (DeLonghi) and used the timing recommended, perhaps the deep fryer gets hotter than the oil on the stovetop. Anyway the flavor of these donuts was excellent, and they were great for dipping. I added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder plus 1/3 cup boiling water, mixed to make a paste, to half of the batch, and it made tasty chocolate donuts too. Next I'll make the donught bread pudding with the leftovers.
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