Cake doughnuts recipe


To come up with the perfect general-purpose cake doughnut recipe, I started with the most delicious doughnut I know my family’s killer apple cider doughnuts and worked backward, searching for a dough that would serve as a blank canvas for all of my favorite sugars, glazes, and dipping sauces. Think of this as your building-block doughnut: delicious on its own, richly flavored with a hint of citrus brightness, yet still neutral enough to mix and match with a wide variety of accompaniments. You can also transform this doughnut over and over again by mixing any number of ingredients right into the dough.

  • Yield: 1 dozen 3-inch doughnuts


  • 3 cups cake flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
How to Make It
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Add the egg and mix for a few seconds. Add the buttermilk, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla, and mix until just barely combined into a stiffish dough.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and put another sheet of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten and roll the dough until it’s ⅜ to ½ inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it no longer clings when you try to peel off the parchment paper.
  3. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer until the oil reaches 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets: one lined with paper towels, and the other dusted with flour.
  4. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and flip the dough onto a floured work surface. Remove the second sheet of parchment paper and dust the dough with flour. Using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter, cut the dough into 2½- to 3-inch tubular rounds and put them on the flour-dusted baking sheet.
  5. Fry the doughnuts in batches, taking care not to crowd the pot, until golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
  6. Toss the warm doughnuts in sugar or dip them in a glaze of your choosing. Eat them immediately, or store for up to 2 days.

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