Cake Donuts

I was strictly a yeast doughnut girl, that’s nearly 40 years of pillowy doughnuts, until my oldest son started working at Sidecar Doughnuts last year. Their revelatory Huckleberry Donut still brings me to my knees, the bright berry purple glaze giving way to a barely-there crunch and into the most tender crumb one could imagine on a pastry that holds itself together in your hand, dunked in coffee or¬†carried about town in their signature box. I’ve been on a mission this year,¬†prosthelytizing the wonders of a perfect cake doughnut. As luck (and much experimenting) would have it, the beauty of cake donuts is their immediacy. You don’t have to wait for yeast to activate, dough to rise or a proofing phase before frying. You’re going to follow this recipe and mix, chill, shape and fry. What are you waiting for? GO!

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Cake Donuts

2-1/2 cups 500g Sugar
12 240g Egg yolks (from large or XL eggs)
2 3/4 ounces (2/3 of a stick) 80g Unsalted butter
2 Tbsps Apple cider or apple juice
3-1/3 cups 800g Sour cream (full fat, folks)
8- 3/4 cups 1150g All purpose flour
2 Tbsps Baking powder
2 tsps Kosher salt


  1. Place the sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand held mixer in a big bowl). Turn to medium speed until the butter mixes with the sugar (about 30 seconds). Add the yolks, cider and sour cream and mix until uniform.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and add on top of the butter mixture, mixing on low speed only until just combined.
  3. Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap or bag and chill for at least a half hour in the coldest part of your fridge. Best part? You can hold it overnight, so this step can be made Friday night for your Saturday morning fry session. Make the glazes now instead of twiddling your thumbs.
  4. Grab a couple of cookie sheets and lined them with parchment paper or foil. Lightly brush them with vegetable oil and very lightly let flour rain over the cookie sheets. Lightly flour your work surface and dump out the dough. Roll it gently but with decisiveness (read, don't mush down the dough) until it reaches about 1/2" thickness. If the dough feels sticky, cover it with plastic and place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
  5. Get some round cookie cutters out- a big one and something at least as small as 1/3 of its size. Since cookie cutters disappear like socks in the dryer here, we opt for using the tops and bottoms of our pastry tips to cut out the holes.
  6. Grab your heaviest pot and fill it with a couple of inches of frying oil (peanut, canola, corn or our favorite-rice bran oil), bringing the oil to 340F. While the oil is heating, clean up your area and set up your fry station. You'll want to avoid reaching and any water touching the oil (warning! splattering oil)!, so have your donuts sitting on one side of your pot and a cooling grate over a cookie sheet on the other side. Have a nice, dry pair of tongs or a wooden spoon nearby to fish out the donuts.
  7. Once the oil gets to 340F, carefully lift the donuts up from their rest (I like to lift the parchment and flip the donuts onto my hand) and slide them into the oil. They WILL SINK- but have no fear. Once they reach the top of your pot, cook them for about 30 seconds (or until they get a golden color), then flip them to cook for a little over a minute (until they get golden on the other side). Flip only once.
  8. Let these guys cool for a moment, then dip 1/3 of the donuts into the glaze of your sweet choice.

Donut Glaze

3 cups Powdered sugar
1/3 cup Milk
2 tsps Vanilla
  1. Place the sugar in a medium bowl and stir in the vanilla and just enough milk for it to come together as a thick paste, adding only a touch more to thin out if you need to (it should be the texture of Elmer's glue).
  2. Place a strainer over another medium bowl and pour the glaze through it- this will get rid of lumps.
  3. Once strained, divide the glaze up into different bowls to make a variety of flavors. Here are a few fan favorites:
    1. Strawberry: add 2 Tbsps freeze dried strawberries, crushed into a powder (save some whole ones for decorating the glazed donuts).
    2. Coffee: add 2 tsps of this mornings' coffee. Stir, taste, adjust.
    3. Maple: add 2 Tbsps maple syrup (you may need to sift in a little extra powdered sugar to thicken the glaze).
    4. Mocha: add 1 Tbsps cocoa powder to your coffee glaze.