Baked Cake Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

I’ve spent the past few days baking up a storm in my kitchen. Thursday, I made 2 banana breads (one from Rachael Ray’s cookbook, which you will hear about for my next 30 Minute Thursday post, and one that I tried to modify, which you will not hear about soon because it was a major flop); Saturday I made and decorated some serious sugar cookies shaped like cute little houses; and Sunday I baked up a batch of doughnuts with chocolate glaze. My sister and her boyfriend recently moved into their first apartment together, and yesterday was their housewarming. Between my mom’s baking efforts and mine, we had a feast fit for a king. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m as impressed with how all of the recipes turned out taste-wise as I am with them aesthetically.

The doughnuts were especially troubling. I switched recipes at the very last minute based on the suggestion of the original blogger, tweaked it slightly based on what I had on hand, and was excited to see that they came together quickly and beautifully. They only took five minutes in the oven, popped out of the pan without any trouble, and looked absolutely adorable once decked out in a chocolate glaze and rainbow sprinkles. I snuck one early during lunch, and I loved them – cakey, soft, not overwhelmed by the chocolate glaze: these certainly aren’t your fried donuts courtesy of Sir Dunkin or Mr. Krispy Kreme, which is to be expected when you bake something instead of dropping it into a vat of oil, but they were everything I imagined a baked doughnut would and should be.

What makes them so troubling is just that – they’re not fried. The batter is made to be baked. They’re not quite as light and unsubstantial as a more traditionally crafted doughnut. Everyone who ate them had the same complaint – they were too heavy. They tasted like cake. At first, I was downtrodden and disappointed. I thought they were amazing – could I really be the only one? Then I realized that they weren’t saying that the doughnuts tasted bad; they just didn’t really know what to expect from a baked doughnut, which they hadn’t ever had before, and couldn’t mentally get past the idea of a doughnut that hadn’t been deep fried.

So, if you’re a doughnut purist/traditionalist and can’t fathom taking a bite of this particular pastry if it comes out of an oven instead of a deep fryer, these doughnuts aren’t for you. However, if you’re like me and you can’t bring yourself to work with a giant, boiling vat of fat and you find yourself with adorable little doughnut pans with no clear recipe in mind – try these. Very soon. They are wonderful; they’re also the first baked doughnut I’ve ever had, so I can’t say that I won’t experiment with others out of curiosity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself returning to these again and again. Their one and only downfall is that their glaze never firms up (though maybe they would in an environment that wasn’t as damp and humid as it was here with yesterday’s monsoon), so they’re messy and don’t travel easily. If you can get past that, grab a few napkins and dig in!

Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze, adapted from Lemon Drop
Yield: 2 dozen mini or ½ dozen regular doughnuts

The Ingredients
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar*
2 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
¼ cup low-fat milk, scalded**
¼ cup non-fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten

¼ cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon hot water

The Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease one 6-mold regular or two 12-mold mini doughnut pan with cooking spray.

Sift the flours and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, then cut in the butter until the crumbles are pea-sized. Carefully fold in the milk, yogurt, vanilla, and egg just until combined.

Transfer the batter to a piping or ziplock bag (if you use a piping bag you can use a pretty, fancy swirl tip but I just used a ziplock) and fill each mold about halfway (for the minis, three times around was adequate); smooth the batter out so that it fills the bottom of each mold fairly evenly.

Bake for about 5 minutes for minis or 6-10 for regular doughnuts, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cooling completely on a rack.

Make the glaze by microwaving the remaining ingredients on half power for approximately one minute, adjusting the consistency with water (to thin) or chocolate chips (to thicken). Spread over the cooled doughnuts and top with sprinkles.

*To make superfine sugar, place regular sugar in a food processor for 30-60 seconds.
**To scald milk, place milk in a double boiler or in a sauce pan over medium heat. If using a double boiler, stir occasionally; if using just a sauce pan, stir nearly constantly. Heat to 180 degrees, which will be around when the milk begins to steam and bubble around the edges but before it reaches a full-on boil. ¼ cup milk was too small even in my smallest pan for the candy thermometer to register it, so I used my best judgment based on the physical characteristics of the milk as it heated.

Tomorrow, I’ll be joining L and his family at the beach for my final trip of the summer and from what I’ve heard there isn’t internet access at the house they’ve rented. This means that it’ll be a little while before my next post, and more specifically, there won’t be a Thirty Minute Thursday post this week. I’ll be back Saturday with recipes out the wazoo, between yesterday’s housewarming, my upcoming birthday, and a family reunion the week after that – not to mention all of the not-sugar-and-fat-laden, actually-healthy savory meals I’ve been dying to tell you about, too. Enjoy your week, everyone!


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