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Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

Gift-giving can be so challenging.  I keep a Google document full of gift ideas for people, but whereas for some I have 20 ideas, for others I have none!  The person for whom I find it hardest to shop for?  My Dad!

After racking my brain for a unique gift this year for Father's Day, I gave up, thought of my Dad's favorite food, and went for it.  I'm still relatively new to frying, but I am no longer intimidated by the process and my Dad loves old-fashioned cake doughnuts.

Doughnuts are not my thing.  That is not to say that I won't eat them or that I don't think they taste good (of course they do).  But they definitely aren't something I crave and I'll always choose a bagel, croissant, or scone over a doughnut.  That might be, however, because I've never had one that is homemade and still warm... served on Father's Day with coffee and fresh fruit.  These have a slightly crispy exterior and a cake-y interior... they are a touch sweet, but not overwhelmingly so... and while you could glaze or frost these doughnuts or roll them in sugar and cinnamon, there really is no need.   These doughnuts appear plain and simple... but taste the exact opposite!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts
Recipe from
Yield = 14 doughnuts plus doughnut holes

1 cup sugar
4 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk
4 cups flour (plus more for dusting and rolling the donuts)
vegetable oil (for frying - I used about 24 ounces, although I think you could get away with using less) 

1.  In a large bowl mix the sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add eggs, milk and melted butter.  Beat well.
2.  Add 3 cups of the flour, beating until blended.  Add one more cup of flour and beat well.  The dough should be soft and sticky but firm enough to handle.  If you feel its necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour.
3.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour (I chilled my dough overnight).
4.  Remove your dough from the fridge and begin heating about 2" of oil to 360° Fahrenheit in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (I used my Le Creuset).
5.  Working half the dough at a time, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/2" thickness.  Cut out circles using a doughnut cutter or large biscuit or cookie cutter.  For the center, I used part of the lid to my blender - just improvise if you don't have a small, circle cookie cutter.  The cap of a martini shaker would work, too, or even just a knife.
6.  Gently lower the doughnuts in batches into the hot oil using a slotted metal spoon.  Flip them over as they puff and turn them a couple more times as they cook.  They will take about 2-3 minutes in total and will be lovely and golden brown all over.  The donut holes will take about 2 minutes.
7.  Remove the doughnuts from the oil and set them on paper towels or brown paper bag (great for removing the oil).  You can glaze your doughnuts or toss them with cinnamon and sugar... or just eat them as-is.  And "as-is" is awesome!

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Reader Comments (8)

Oh Darcy, these look incredible. I'm on a little family vaca in VA beach. We bought grocery store doughnuts for a treat this am... Total disappointment! If only we could have homemade!

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAli

I love a good old cake donut, but rarely let myself indulge. My one exception is if I happen upon a cinnamon-sugar cake donut during the fall when apple cider is everywhere, somehow the combo is just up my alley on those crisp fall days.

My dad loves donuts too, but his favorite are jelly donuts (admittedly probably from Dunkin Donuts - eek!)

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertalley

Ali, like most things that you make from scratch, these are just so much tastier... And fun to make! Have fun on vacation!

June 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

Ooh... I wasn't brave enough to try something fancy like filling - maybe next time!

June 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I am a huge cake doughnut fan! These look fantabulous! I will take a dozen!

Shawn, thanks for your comment. You should give these a try - they are so easy!

July 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

Delicious. Made these this morning and for those lactose-intolerant folks, I only had soymilk and it worked just fine. Also halved the recipe and that also worked just fine. Husband and his brother scarfed them. Great success!

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Yeah, Julie! Aren't they so simple and good? Glad the boys enjoyed them and good to know you can half the recipe without issue.

July 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

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