These cake doughnuts taste just as good as they look in the pictures. They're not as bready as their yeast-leavened cousins, though every bit as indulgent. The maple syrup and apple cider used in the recipe is in line with the season. But don't limit yourself to eating these only in the Fall/Winter months..these can be enjoyed throughout the year. Here's how they're made...
Serving size: Makes 1 dozen doughnuts and 1 dozen doughnut holes.
-Doughnut cutter or improvise with a cup and a bottle cap that's smaller than the cup.
-A wide, deep pan for frying the doughnuts.
-A wire skimmer or two chopsticks for turning the doughnuts as they fry.
-2 medium mixing bowls.
-Candy thermometer to test the temperature of your cooking oil (optional).
-A wire rack set over a large, rimmed baking sheet OR a deep bowl lined with paper towels ('to drain your cooked doughnuts).
-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed).
-1 cup apple cider.
-1 cup sugar.
-2 teaspoons baking powder.
-1 teaspoon baking soda.
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
-1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder.
-1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.
-1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt).
-2 tablespoons cold butter, thinly sliced.
-1/2 cup buttermilk (see my post on how to make buttermilk at home).
-2 large eggs.
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
-unflavored oil for frying (I used Canola oil).
Instructions for making the doughnuts:
-In a small saucepan, bring the cider to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes until the amount has reduced by about 1/2. Remove from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
-In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to crumble the batter into the flour, until the flour has a course texture resembling crumbs.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 of the reduced cider (set the other 1/2 aside. You'll use it for the glaze), buttermilk and eggs and vanilla.
-Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute, or until the dough is smooth, but not sticking to clean hands. Add no more than 1/4 cup of flour if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time until the right dough consistency is reached.
-Line a baking sheet with Perchment paper. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and pat it out to a layer about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until slightly firm. This will make it easier to handle the dough.
-Pour oil into the pan (I used 3 cups of canola oil) and heat over high heat to a temperature of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius). Use your candy thermometer to test the temperature of the oil before you start frying. If you don't have a candy thermometer, drop a small piece of dough into the hot oil. If the dough sits at the bottom of the pan for about 6 seconds then rises up, then the oil is ready for frying. If the dough sits at the bottom of the pan for 8 seconds or more, your oil is not ready. This will result in soggy, greasy doughnuts. If the dough rises back up as soon as it hits the bottom of the pan, your oil is too hot. This will result in doughnuts that are cooked on the outside but still doughy on the inside-Yuck!
-Remove your dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Dip whatever you're using to cut your doughnuts into a small bowl with all-purpose flour and cut as many doughnuts as possible. Press straight down and lift straight up. Do not wiggle the cutter over the dough. Remember to dip your cutter back into the flour after each cut. This way, the doughnuts won't stick to your cutter. Gather up the scrapes, roll out your dough and cut out the doughnuts again until all the dough is used up.
-Transfer the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes to a baking sheet.
-Carefuly lower a few doughnuts into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Deep fry the doughnuts for about 3 minutes on each side until they're a light golden brown color. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the cooked doughnuts to the wire rack or the bowl lined in paper napkins to drain. Remember to allow your oil a few minutes to come back to temperature before you add another batch of doughnuts into the oil to fry. Repeat until all the doughnuts and doughnut holes have been fried.
Ingredients for the glaze:
-The remaining half of the reduced apple cider.
-1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar).
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup.
Instructions for making the glaze:
-In a small saucepan, bring the leftover reduced apple cider to a boil over high heat. Add the confectioner's sugar and whisk till smooth. Add the maple syrup. Remove from the heat.
-Holding each doughnut by its edges (I used a pair of kitchen thongs), briefly dip it into the glaze on it's smooth side. Let the excess glaze drip back into the pan.
-with the glazed side up, place the doughnuts back on the wire rack so that the glaze sets. This will take about 10-15 minutes. You can also lightly rust some confectioner's sugar over the doughnuts if you'd like.
See my sous chef patiently waiting for Mommy to finish taking pictures? Lol!
Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be enjoyed with some hot coffee or tea.
Store in an air-tight container in a single layer for up to three days.