These old-fashioned cake doughnuts, aromatic with cinnamon and nutmeg, are easy to prepare. You will need a deep-frying thermometer, as you must keep the oil at a steady 365°F for the doughnuts to turn out golden brown and crisp and not the least bit oily. While they are immersed in the oil, they will almost triple in thickness, so be sure to fry them in batches to avoid crowding.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a bowl, sift together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg and granulated sugar until creamy and pale. Add the melted butter and buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together.
To make the dough with an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the egg and granulated sugar on low speed until creamy and pale. Add the melted butter and buttermilk and beat until blended. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat until the dough holds together.
Line a platter with paper towels. In a deep, heavy saucepan, pour in oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 365°F on a deep-frying thermometer.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 9-inch round about 1/2 inch thick. Use a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 8 rounds, then use a 1/2-inch cutter to cut a round from the center of each.
When the oil is hot, place 2 doughnuts and 2 doughnut holes into the oil and fry until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, turn them and fry on the other side, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes.
Arrange the doughnuts and holes on a serving plate. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately. Makes 8 doughnuts and 8 doughnut holes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).