If you read this blog with any regularity at all, you know by now I'm absolutely hooked on baked doughnuts.
Baked doughnuts - isn't that an oxymoron?
Isn't doughnuts' main attraction that sizzling simmer in hot fat, the thin layer of crunchy crust protecting a moist, tender interior?
Well, yes and no. Attraction? Yes. MAIN attraction? Not in my book.
I happen to love cake doughnuts.
Yeast-raised? Meh. But a dense, cake-y "sinker," something you can dip into a cup of coffee or cocoa, or break into small bites (to make it last longer), or even fill its center hole with ice cream and pretend it's birthday cake? I'm SO there.
Maybe it's because my grandma only made cake doughnuts. Ditto my hub's grandma.
Ditto Muriel's Donuts in Lebanon, NH, open from 10:30am-12:30pm six days a week for those with a serious doughnut fixation. Muriel (yes, she's owner, cook, and chief bottle washer as well, I suspect) has an old-fashioned operation that produces just five types of cake doughnuts, on demand (she fries them while you wait): plain; sugar; cinnamon; cruller, and jelly stick.
I won't spend too much time waxing eloquent about Muriel and her doughnuts, but suffice it to say - she knows how to fry 'em.
Which is why I've become such a fan of my own BAKED cake doughnuts. While I love Muriel's classic fried doughnuts, I don't get over to her tiny shop very often (probably a good thing, calorie-wise). Yet I still crave a regular doughnut fix.
But stand over a bubbling pot of hot fat? When you look up the phrase L-A-Z-Y B-A-K-E-R in the dictionary, you'll see my picture.
Instead, I just stir together a quick batter, pour it into my pair of doughnut pans, stick 'em in the oven, and 15 minutes later: doughnuts. Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts. Chocolate Fudge Cake Doughnuts. Maple-Glazed Bacon Doughnuts (yeah, really).
Hey, that's a real mouthful, isn't it?
Yes it is - in more wonderful ways than one.
If you're a cake doughnut fan without a Muriel equivalent near you, try baked doughnuts. Once you have the pan, you'll find yourself coming up with all kinds of flavors: banana or strawberry doughnuts, anyone?
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stir together the following:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
1/4 cup boiled cider; or substitute 6 tablespoons additional applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Add 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.
Fill the wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about 1/4 cup of batter in each well.
Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
Note: If you're making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you'll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and loosen their edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack.
Easiest way to do this? Carefully tilt the pan over the rack, and the doughnuts should drop right out onto the rack.
While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them, 1 or 2 at a time, in a bag with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar.
If you've made muffins, sprinkle their tops with sugar. Allow the doughnuts or muffins to cool completely before glazing.
One caveat: If you're not intending to eat the doughnuts or muffins within an hour or so, don't sprinkle them with sugar. Sugar is hygroscopic (i.e., it absorbs water). And sugar-sprinkled doughnuts, left to sit for any length of time, will become soggy.
If you're making doughnuts ahead, don't apply the sugar coating right out of the oven. Instead, rewarm the doughnuts very briefly just before serving, then sprinkle with sugar.
This also applies to situations where you plan on enjoying only half the doughnuts right away, and saving the rest for later; only sugar those you intend to eat fairly soon.
Now, how about some glaze?
Maple syrup glaze is a wonderful complement to the flavors of this doughnut. Bonus: doughnuts that are glazed, rather than sugared, won't become soggy.
And what happens if you both sugar, and glaze the doughnuts? Well, expectedly, they'll become a bit soggy underneath.
Stir together the following:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup*
3/4 teaspoon maple flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons milk or 1 tablespoon heavy cream; enough to make a spreadable glaze
*This formula is written for real maple syrup; if you use imitation syrup, start with 2 tablespoons instead of 3; artificial syrup is thinner than real syrup.
Spread the doughnuts with glaze (or dip tops in glaze); return to the rack until the glaze is set.
IF you happen to have any doughnuts left over, don't wrap them tightly in plastic. Your best bet is to place them on a rack, and cover with a cake cover, or a large plastic deli tray cover; something that'll allow air to circulate. If you don't intend to eat them for a few days, store in the fridge, tightly covered.
Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts with Maple Glaze.