Rich and a bit crumbly, cake doughnuts have a sturdier structure than yeast doughnuts, making them good candidates for coatings and toppings. Here we’ve used a vanilla glaze for a classic doughnut, but you can make these your own by pressing the tops of the freshly glazed doughnuts into any of your favorite toppings, from flaked coconut and finely chopped nuts to miniature marshmallows or even crystallized ginger.
Vanilla Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
- 3 cups (15 oz./475 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- Canola oil for frying
For the vanilla glaze:
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) whole milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. In a measuring cup, stir together the butter and vanilla. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, buttermilk and sugars on medium until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, then beat in the butter mixture until just combined.
3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until the dough comes together. (The dough will be very sticky.) Roll out 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Using a doughnut cutter or 2 different-sized round cutters (3 inch/7.5 cm and 1 inch/2.5 cm), cut out doughnuts and holes. If desired, to create the iconic tapered edges that are the hallmark of old-fashioned doughnuts, cut 3 slits on top of each uncooked doughnut, which will create a triangle shape on top of the doughnut after frying. Transfer to a well-floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, make the vanilla glaze: In a bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, salt, milk and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Use the glaze within an hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir gently before glazing the doughnuts.
5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide, deep pot two-thirds full with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 360°F (182°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.
6. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to carefully place the doughnuts and holes in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pot or the doughnuts will fry unevenly and the oil temperature will drop. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side; the holes will take less time than the doughnuts. Using the slotted spoon, transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Let cool for 5 minutes, then dip the doughnuts, top side down, into the glaze. Let the oil temperature return to 360°F (182°C) before frying the remaining doughnuts Makes about ten 3-inch (7.5-cm) doughnuts.
Learn how easy and satisfying it is to make doughnuts at home with our
inspiring guide The Doughnut Cookbook, by Amanda Haas, Amanda Frederickson and Emily McFarren.