I’m not really a doughnut person. Given an array, I’d choose an old-fashioned cake doughnut every time, which really says nothing except that I like cake. Not doughnuts. The Krispy Kreme phase was lost on me: one bite and your doughnut is finished, compacted into a sugar-laden square inch.
I can get behind an apple cider doughnut. I’d eat a cruller. But soft, airy, yeasted doughnuts don’t sway me: too squishy, too shellacked with glaze, all sugar and puff and no heft.
But listen, disliking doughnuts is not a popular opinion. People literally swoon over the hulking, candy-colored doughnuts at Dough in New York, as if they are meeting someone’s chubby firstborn baby. So if you—like me—are not on the wagon, I’d urge you to bake your doughnuts instead of frying.
Baked doughnuts are basically cake, masquerading as doughnuts. The batter is simple to make, and easy to dress up. For this basic recipe, you could add dry spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg to the batter. You could swap the vanilla for almond extract. As for the glaze, trade the glaze here for a basic chocolate ganache (here’s a solid recipe) if you want. Toppings: toasted coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, crystallized ginger, or graham cracker crumbs are excellent candidates.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
To the butter mixture, add the flour and milk (alternating) in three additions. Mix until just combined.
Spoon the batter into a well-greased doughnut pan (don't fill them more than halfway!). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then remove from the pan.
For the glaze: Whisk together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 4 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add more sugar or milk depending on how thick or thin you want it.