The daughter and I made doughnuts yesterday. It was something I’d wanted to try for a long time, ever since I picked up a vintage donut cutter at an auction sale. I wanted to make the old fashioned kind though, the kind my grandma would have made, without yeast – a cake donut.
I turned to the always reliable Five Roses Guide to Good Cooking for a recipe and wasn’t disappointed. They turned out exactly as I had hoped! Yummmmmy and not at all greasy.
I usually try to avoid cooking with shortening if I can, but I felt that I should stick with the recipe on this one and, it’s only 3 Tbsp. (recipe made about 2 dozen donuts). We rolled ours in a sugar/cinnamon mixture and they were divine. Best if eaten within a day of making. See more donut making tips at the end of the recipe.
Old Fashioned Cake Donuts
Summary: These are cake donuts, so there is no yeast in them. They are more dense in texture that airy, risen yeast donuts, but just as satisfying. These are best eaten on the day they are fried.
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp. shortening
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- For frying: 1 quart vegetable or canola oil
- Stir flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl (I used my stand mixer), cream shortening with half the sugar (1/3 cup). Add eggs and beat while gradually adding remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Beat until light. Add vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients alternately with a milk to make a dough that is soft but not sticky. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Press or roll dough on a floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with floured doughnut cutter.
- Heat vegetable oil to 375° F. Fry doughnuts until golden brown, turn to do other side (about 1 to 2 minutes on each side).
- Doughnut Making Tips from the Guide to Good Cooking:
- The secret to good doughnuts is in the dough and how you fry them. The dough should be as soft as can be handled. A soft dough is easier to roll when well chilled. A generous amount of flour may be used on the board for rolling but don’t work it into the dough. The flour that clings to the dough helps with browning.
- Fry in deep, hot fat that has been heated to 375° F. Use a thermometer or an electric deep-fryer to keep the fat at this temperature. If the fat gets too hot, only the outside of the doughnuts will cook. If too cool, they will become fat-soaked.
- Don’t cook too many at one time or the fat will cool down too rapidly.
- Turn doughnuts only once during frying. When ready, they will rise to the top and the underside will be brown. It will take about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove to cooling rack. When cool enough to handle but still warm, coat in sugar or a sugar cinnamon mixture if desired.
- My Tips:
- I don’t have a deep fryer, so I used a 5 quart heavy Dutch oven with about 3 inches of oil in it. I’m always nervous deep-frying, so I keep the lid handy. If flames should erupt, covering the pot with the lid will extinguish the flames.
- I used a regular candy-type thermometer to gauge the oil temperature. I found if I moved the pot on and off the element it was easiest to maintain the 375° temperature. I cooked 4 doughnuts at a time, which left a lot of room for easy turning. Remove from oil to a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch any oil that drips off.
Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 1 hour 5 min
Number of servings (yield): 12