Turn your kitchen into the ultimate bakery with these delicious Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts. Perfectly golden brown, a super soft crumb & with that quintessential hint of nutmeg.
I come from a family of doughnut lovers. Car trips, morning coffees – while visiting my sister in Philadelphia (my FAVORITE food city) – the first stop on our culinary tour was going for doughnuts. Clearly, it’s genetic. So today in homage to my family, I’m making Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts. Delicious, buttermilk cake doughnuts – just like from the bakery, or your Grandma’s kitchen.
To be honest, I’m not really loyal to any one doughnut flavor – Crueller’s, Honey Dip, Boston Cream – I don’t discriminate. But my Mum is the Double Chocolate type. And my Dad – Old-Fashioned all the way. He alerts us every time he orders that “I’m an Old-Fashioned Plain kind of guy”. Yes, we know. Your favorite color is beige after all.
But in all seriousness – he’s onto something. Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts are so delicious with their hint of nutmeg and perfect cake texture. So for my first attempt at deep frying doughnuts – it’s only natural to start with a classic.
Now, I LOVE my doughnut pan. But it’s good to have goals. And learning to make doughnuts the traditional way (AKA deep fried) was one culinary skill I needed to master. And I honestly can’t believe it took me so long to try – because it wasn’t even 10% as scary as I anticipated and the result is so worth it.
The doughnuts turn out perfectly golden brown without being too greasy; have that classic cake doughnut flavor; a slightly springy, yet perfectly dense texture; a super soft crumb; and are utterly satisfying in their old-fashioned cake doughnut glory. I honestly couldn’t be more proud of how delicious these doughnuts are. (I might be the first person to use the word “proud” to describe deep-fried dough).
Making them is also super straight forward. First you’ll beat together the eggs, sugar & vanilla until frothy – then fold in the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Then you’ll roll out the dough into about ¼ to ½ inch in thickness, and cut out your doughnuts with a doughnut cutter. The dough will be a bit sticky & very thick. It’s important here not to over mix the dough or roll it out too many times – the more you mix & roll it out, the tougher it’ll become.
Then finally for the slightly nerve wrecking part – deep frying. YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!!!!! But here’s my main tips:
- Make sure you don’t have any dish clothes, fabric, or anything flammable near by.
- Keep children & furry friends out of the kitchen.
- Use a large, heavy-bottom Dutch oven with high sides.
- Clamp a deep fry/candy thermometer to the side of your pot, so that the bottom of the thermometer is submerged in the oil but not touching the bottom.
- Have about 2 inches of oil in your pan – you need enough oil to fry the doughnuts, but not so much that it splashes up and burns you
- Only fry a couple doughnuts at a time – the more doughnuts frying, the more difficult it is to manage.
- Make sure the tool you’re using to flip the doughnuts & remove them from the oil has a heat-proof handle.
Apart from any fears of deep-frying – this recipe is very straight forward and easy to make. And if you’ve made doughnuts the traditional way before then you’re golden (just like the color of your doughnuts). Seriously delicious. Seriously worth every extra calorie. And seriously – one of my favorite blog recipes to date.
Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cooled to room temperature
- ⅔ cups buttermilk , room temperature
- Oil for frying
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside
- In a separate large bowl using a stand or hand-held electric mixer beat together the egg, egg yolk and sugar on medium speed. Once combined, turn off the mixer and stir in the vanilla and melted butter.
- Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon fold in half the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Mix briefly with the electric mixer on low to fully combine. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture & buttermilk until everything is combined. The dough will be thick.
- Flour a flat surface, and roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin until the dough is approximately ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut into doughnuts using a doughnut cutter. Form a ball with the left over pieces of dough, roll-out again and cut doughnuts from the remaining batter.
- Clip a deep fry/candy thermometer to the inside of a heavy-bottom Dutch oven pot with high sides. Pour oil into the bottom of the saucepan so its about 2-inches deep. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until a temperature of 375F degrees is reached. Carefully place 2 or 3 doughnuts into the saucepan. Fry the doughnuts for about 60 seconds on the first side. Then flip using a heat proof tool - such as the end of a wooden spoon or tongs, and fry on the second side for about 60 seconds. Remove from the hot oil using a large slotted spoon, the end of a wooden spoon or tongs and place on a flat surface lined with clean paper towels. Allow the oil to return to 375F before continuing with process with the rest of the doughnuts. Doughnut holes will take about half the time, or about 30 seconds per side. After frying the first set of doughnuts and allowing them to cool for a few minutes - break the doughnut open to ensure it's cooked throughout and adjust your frying time accordingly.