Old Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe

Whether you're craving a snack around breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime, donuts are always a satisfying option. But not everyone has the time or desire to go to the store to buy these fried dough delights. Luckily, recipe developer Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Cooking has got you covered with a perfected old fashioned cake donut recipe. Even better? They're not too complicated to put together. "Overall, these are pretty simple to make," says Morone. "A beginner could definitely make these."

Of course, frying the donuts might seem a bit intimidating, but you can rest easy knowing you're getting instructions from a professional. "My tip for frying in oil is to make sure the temperature is correct," Morone said. "If the oil is too cold, the donuts won't fry quickly enough and will get saturated in oil. If it's too hot, the outsides will burn."

The key to knowing the temperature of the oil is to use a thermometer, but Morone has a workaround if you really need it. "If you don't have [a thermometer], you could drop a breadcrumb in the oil. If it sizzles, then the oil is hot enough, and if the oil spits, then it's too hot. But I definitely recommend a thermometer!"

Now that you know how to handle frying in oil, it's time to make donuts in the comfort of your kitchen!

Gather the ingredients for old fashioned cake donuts

First, you need to gather the ingredients for this donut recipe. You'll need 1 1/2 cups of sugar (divided), one teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, one tablespoon of baking powder, two eggs, 1/4 cup of unsalted and melted butter, one cup of whole milk, four cups of flour, oil for frying, and two tablespoons of cinnamon.

A donut cutter for the dough isn't totally necessary, but it will make cutting out the donuts a lot easier. You can also potentially use small cookie cutters to portion out your dough later.

Make the dough

In a large bowl, combine one cup of sugar, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder. Next, add the eggs, melted butter, and milk to the bowl, then mix. You may do this by hand, though a stand mixer makes easy work of this step if you have one handy.

If your butter is still rather solid, it only takes a couple of simple steps to get it to the right consistency. "The easiest way to melt butter is to put it into a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds," Morone said.

Then add the flour to the dough and beat the mixture until everything is fully combined. Finally, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for one hour.

Heat the stove and roll out the dough

After an hour of chill time, remove the dough from the fridge. Heat about one inch of oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan or a Dutch oven.

While the oil heats, next roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Use a donut cutter to cut out circles in the dough. If you don't have a donut cutter, you can use a biscuit cutter or even a glass to make the larger cut. Then, use a smaller bottle cap to make the donut holes. Continue rolling the dough and cutting out the donuts until there's no dough remaining. Try to re-roll the dough as few times as possible, however, as too much rolling might overwork the dough, encourage too much gluten development, and result in some tough donuts (similar to the issue encountered in overmixed cake batter).

Fry the donuts

Once all the donuts are all cut out, you'll of course need to fry them. To do so, gently drop the donuts into the hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the oil and affect the cooking time and temperature of the oil. Depending on your pan, you can usually fit somewhere from four to six donuts at a time. 

Cook each side for approximately two minutes until the donuts are golden brown, then flip them over. Remove the cooked donuts from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat for any remaining uncooked donuts you have left.

Assemble the old fashioned cake donuts

Now that the donuts are done cooking, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Next, simply dip the donuts into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Ideally, the donuts will still be on the warm side, making it easier for this coating to stick to your finished treat. It's now time to serve and enjoy these old fashioned cake donuts!

Donuts by themselves are more than satisfying, but pairing options are always welcome. "You can pair them with anything!" Morone exclaimed. "Milk, chardonnay, an IPA –– anything you desire, they will taste great with!"

Old Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe
4.6 from 8 ratings
Donuts are a great treat, but what if you don't feel like going out to the store? We've got you covered with a perfected old fashioned cake donut recipe.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
Servings
16
donuts
Cake donut recipe
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups flour
  • Oil (for frying)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine one cup of sugar, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  2. Add the eggs, melted butter, and milk to the bowl, then mix.
  3. Add the flour to the dough, beating well until everything is combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, heat about one inch of oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. While the oil heats, roll out the dough to about ½ inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Use a donut cutter to cut out circles in the dough. If you don't have a donut cutter, you could use a biscuit cutter or glass, then a bottle cap for the donut hole. Continue rolling out the dough and cutting out donuts until there's no dough remaining.
  6. Gently drop the donuts into the hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each side for approximately two minutes, until golden brown, then flip over. Remove the cooked donuts from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of sugar and cinnamon. Dip the donuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 329
Total Fat 15.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 29.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 19.6 g
Sodium 202.3 mg
Protein 4.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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