Baked or Fried? I’m Satisfied, as Long as I Get My Doughnuts

I love the idea of home-made doughnuts but the fact of the matter is, waiting hours on end for the dough to prove, before standing in front of a pan of hot oil has never appealed to me. For those reasons, the idea of doughnuts which can be made from a batter and baked in an oven is absolutely the best thing since sliced bread.

So there was good new and bad news. The bad news? I didn’t own a doughnut pan. The good news? Amazon always comes to the rescue. This Wilton six-hole doughnut pan has to be one of my best purchases of 2016, for not only did the pan arrive earlier than expected, but with it came various recipes for baked doughnuts: Vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, and lemon. Lemon drizzle cake is a family favourite, so what better way to christen the pan than to make lemon drizzle doughnuts, right? However, after all this excitement, a lack of lemons threw a big spanner in the works.

The 3 oranges sitting in the fruit bowl, and my ambition to make these doughnuts as soon as possible resulted in the creation of orange drizzle doughnuts in place of the traditional lemon. And I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. They are soft, and airy without being too cakey, and even without the glaze, they look stunning. Filling the each cavity just a little bit more than half-way means the finished doughnuts come out with perfectly rounded edges as if they had been formed by hand. Though make sure not to be too enthusiastic, because any more than around 2/3 full and the middle hole starts to fill up (a mistake you only learn once you do it). The orange flavour is much more subtle than lemon and the vibrancy of the zest on top, with the added gold stars, gives them a festive feel perfect for the transition into the Christmas season.

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THE RECIPE – MAKES 12

Ingredients

For the Doughnuts:

  • 2 cups Plain flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Orange zest, plus extra for decoration
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, melted

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup Icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Orange juice (smooth)

Method

For the doughnuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c/350 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease the doughnut pan with unflavoured oil (e.g Vegetable oil).
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, orange zest, and melted butter.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and beat until just combined.*
  5. Using a piping bag/sandwich bag, pipe the mix into each pan cavity until approximately two-thirds full.
  6. Bake 9-10 minutes or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when touched.
  7. Let cool in pan 4-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool slightly.

For the glaze:

  1. Add the orange juice to the icing sugar a little bit at a time until a smooth, glossy glaze results (It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).
  2. Dip the top of each doughnut into the glaze, lift back up and wait for the excess to drip off.
  3. Finely grate some orange zest over the top of the icing while it is still wet.
  4. Place on a wire rack to fully set.

Notes:

* Over-mixing the batter will cause the gluten in the batter to develop, resulting in the doughnuts to be dense and chewy.

 

I am pleasantly surprised how well these turned out and the best thing is, it doesn’t stop there. The possibilities are endless: Vanilla sponge with jam and cream in the middle, as an homage to a Victoria sponge, or perhaps an apple-cinnamon mix with a cinnamon sugar glaze for the autumn months. Where could we go next?

Credit: Adapted from the Wilton ‘lemon baked cake doughnuts recipe’

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