Fall is my absolute favorite season. After a long hot summer the crisp, cool weather is always a relief and let’s be honest the food is amazing too. Warn cinnamon sugar doughnuts and fresh pressed cider was quintessential weekend treat growing up in New York. My parents would drive us to our favorite fruit farm and cider mill early in the morning to beat the crowds and we would get fresh doughnut still hot from frying and a gallon of cider to take home.
This doughnut recipe nails the classic cake doughnut I loved so much growing up. It’s cakey and more substantial than a yeasted doughnut, with the perfect balance of nutmeg and crunchy cinnamon sugar coating.
These are a very classic cake doughnut, so you can absolutely customize the finished doughnuts with different topping options other than cinnamon sugar. Powdered sugar, vanilla or chocolate glaze – finished with sprinkles for good measure, or even plain would all be great alternatives.
Cinnamon Sugar Cake DoughnutsAdapted slightly from Joy of Baking Makes 12 to 14 doughnuts and doughnut holes If you’re like me, and don’t have a doughnut cutter, you can use two different sized round cutters to cut the doughnuts; from my round set I used 3 1/4-inch (8.3 cm) large and 1 1/8-inch small round (3.2 cm). For the cinnamon sugar, and adjust cinnamon amount to your liking; I liked the lower amount so it didn’t overpower the nutmeg in the doughnut.
Dough2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup (165 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar1 cup sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and freshly ground nutmeg together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow, about five minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture (in three additions), with the milk and melted butter (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour; the dough will be soft. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes or firm enough to roll.
Place the dough on a floured surface and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm), lightly flouring rolling pin when needed. Cut the dough with floured large and small circular cutters or doughnut cutter. Place the doughnuts on a lightly floured baking sheet. Gather scraps, roll, and cut out remaining doughnuts. Doughnut holes can be reserved or rolled back into scraps. Let the doughnuts sit at room temperature while you heat the oil.
In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring about 2 inches (5 cm) of oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Carefully place the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 3 to 4 at a time depending on the size of your pan, being sure not to over crowd the pan. Fry each side until golden brown, about 60 seconds per side. Carefully remove the doughnuts from the hot oil. Place on a baking sheet lined with clean paper towels (or paper lunch bags). Let the oil return to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) before adding more doughnuts. If you’re doing doughnut holes, these will only take about 30 seconds per side. After the doughnuts have cooled about a minutes or two, roll in cinnamon sugar.
Enjoy with a tall glass of cold apple cider.
Other finishing options
Powdered Sugar – Let doughnuts cool completely and then dust with powdered sugar
Chocolate Glaze – Let doughnuts cool completely and then glaze using recipe here, then sprinkle your heart away