Friday, December 24, 2010

Classic Cake Doughnuts

I have been making these doughnuts for about 38 years, every year, for Christmas morning! I started out by helping my mother when I was 10 years old, then somewhere along the way I took over making them all together. I've made them ever since - although I may have bowed out making them the year I had my first baby, since he was born on December 8th. We used a different recipe in the beginning, but I like this one better. I usually make a quadruple batch, and have enough left over to freeze and to enjoy for a few weeks after Christmas.

A few tips I've found over the years is that they are so much easier to make when using an electric deep fryer, rather than a pan on top of the stove. Using a deep fryer makes it much easier to regulate the temperature of the oil throughout the cooking process.. You want to make sure you put the doughnuts in the oil when it is at 375 degrees. If the oil is too cool, they will absorb too much oil. If the oil is too hot, they will brown too quickly on the outside and be doughy on the inside. Be sure to roll out the dough as directed, at a 1/2" thickness. You don't want the dough too thin, or too thick.

I cut out a bunch at a time and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I use parchment paper as opposed to waxed paper, because the dough will end up sticking to the waxed paper. However, if you do use waxed paper, sprinkle it with a little flour first. When you drop them into the hot oil, be sure not to get too much of the flour in the oil, otherwise the flour will accumulate at the bottom of the fryer and burn.

I use canola oil to fry them. I used to use shortening, but I like using canola oil better. In mixing the dough, I mix together a double batch at a time. Then if making a quadruple batch, I change the oil after finishing the first double batch. Otherwise, the oil gets too many burned bits in it and is difficult to continue using. This year though, I only made a triple batch and I did not change out the oil. I just had to add a little bit of oil towards the end, and it was ok. When you take the doughnuts out of the hot oil, drain them on paper towels.

When I serve them, I keep bowls of powdered sugar, and a mixture of sugar and cinnamon alongside for rolling them in.

 Here are the steps:

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Mix together the liquid ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in the liquid ingredients. Mix with a large spoon, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Chill dough while you bring the oil up to temperature.
Take out a portion of the dough and on a floured surface, sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and knead the dough for a minute or two.
Roll out into a 1/2" thickness.

Using a doughnut cutter, cut out the doughnuts.
Place on a tray lined with parchment paper.

Fry the doughnut holes for about 2 minutes, or a little longer, at a temperature of 375 degrees. While they are in the oil, turn with a slotted metal spoon. In my fryer, I do a total of 12 doughnut holes at a time.

Fry the doughnuts for 1 1/2 minutes per side, for a total of 3 minutes. In my fryer, I fry four doughnuts at a time.
Drain on paper towels.
If desired, roll them in powdered sugar, or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Store the doughnuts in a covered container or plastic ziplock bags.

Printable Recipe

This recipe is for a single batch.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted, or 1/4 cup oil (I use butter)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

oil for deep frying (I use canola oil)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking pwd, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the oil for frying, just until dry ingredients are moistened. If desired, refrigerate the dough for easier handling.

Fill a large saucepan or electric skillet 2/3 full with oil. Heat to 375°. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 1 -2 minutes, or until no longer sticky. Roll out half the dough at a time to a 1/2" thickness; cut with doughnut cutter. With a metal spatula, slip the doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry doughnuts and holes 1 to 1  1/2 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels. If desired, roll doughnuts in powdered sugar or granulated sugar, cinnamon-sugar mixture, or drizzle with a glaze.

Makes about 30 doughnuts


Holly. said...

What a wonderful tradition! I'd love to make these, but refuse to get a deep-fryer. But husband would abuse it!! :)

Kay Heritage said...

Oh, dear me! This would be most perfect with my morning coffee right now! Happy New Year, Kathy! Look forward to many more wonderful recipes this year.

Mary said...

I'm not sure there is anything in the realm of sweet treats that is as good as a homemade donut. Yours look to die for. I am new here and I usually don't comment, but I spent some time going through your earlier posts and wanted you to know how much I like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll be back. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Barbara Bakes said...

That is an impressive fryer. I think I would make donuts more often with that sweet baby. Your donuts sound like a wonderful, delicious tradition.

The Sugar Queen said...

Thanks, everyone!