In a corner of Pike Place Market there is a small donut stand. They sell three kinds of mini cake donuts – cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and chocolate with sprinkles. When you get to the counter and order your donuts, the donut man grabs a brown paper bag and snaps it open. If you ordered a combination of all three flavors, he will first dump powdered sugar into the bottom of the bag and then throw in plain donuts. He then shakes the bag vigorously to coat those plain donuts. Then in go the cinnamon sugar donuts and last the chocolate with sprinkles.
There is something so magical about this little donut stand. I’ve visited Pike Place too many times to count. Even though Pike Place is a designated tourist spot and overly crowded, I still love it.
Fried cake donuts are actually very easy to make. They just require a few little tricks. This is what I do for killer fried cake donuts:
- Chill the dough so it is easier to handle and roll out
- Use a lot of nutmeg. It may seem like a lot but the donuts need it.
- Use shortening not vegetable oil to fry the doughnuts.
- Heat shortening to 375 degrees F and return shortening to 375 after each batch
Now go forth and make donuts!
Recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Mini Cake Donuts
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 to 6 cups vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sprinkles
Combine eggs, yolks, buttermilk, and melted butter and whisk till combined.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Whisk to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix till just combined.
Place in oiled bowl and refrigerate for an hour or until the dough is chilled and easier to handle.
When ready to make the donuts, melt the shortening in a heavy saucepan. Slowly begin to heat up the shortening while you roll and cut out the donuts.
Remove dough from fridge and dump out on to lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut small circles of dough, cutting an even smaller circle in the middle for the donut hole.
When shortening reaches 375 degrees F, add about 4 to 5 donuts to oil. Cook for 45 seconds on each side. Remove carefully with slotted spoon and place on plate lined with paper towels.
Before you add more donuts to the shortening, reheat the shortening to 375 degrees. When it has reached 375, repeat the process.
Place cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and mix till combined. Place powdered sugar in another bowl. Place sprinkles in yet another bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt cream. Add chocolate chips and remove from heat. Keep mixing until chocolate is melted.
While donuts are still warm, dip and toss in cinnamon sugar. Wait to dip donuts in powdered sugar until they are almost cool otherwise the powdered sugar will melt. Dip doughnuts into chocolate glaze and then dunk into the bowl of sprinkles.