Light, tangy and moist, these cake donuts are different from the usual deep-fried yeast donuts you find outside. These are baked, and have a texture similar to cakes. Made with fresh blueberries and tangy lemon—these donuts are a burst of fresh, fruity flavours. [Go straight to recipe]
Berries and lemons make a superb flavor combination. Blueberries have a complex flavour profile with both sweet and tangy notes, which pair really well with citrus fruits such as lemons.
This recipe makes 6–8 donuts, and uses 1 lemon. If you’re unable to find fresh blueberries, feel free to substitute with frozen blueberries instead.
The freshly-grated zest of a lemon packs enormous flavour, and therefore it is commonly used to enhance the flavour of baked goods.
For this recipe for cake donuts, lemon zest is added in both the cake base and the icing.
Here are some tips when zesting citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges.
Because you’re using the outermost layer of the fruit, remember to wash the skin thoroughly to remove any wax or grime.
Also, another important tip when getting citrus peels would be to avoid removing the white pith that sits under the zest. This is the part that will give your food a bitter taste.
There are different kinds of graters you can use, such as the kind in the photo above, or a fine microplane grater that is an easier and safer option.
We use both types of graters in the Bakestarters’ test kitchen, but we find that a microplane grater works better for certain items, such as smaller foods which are harder to grate, such as small pieces of chocolate, cheeses, and garlic.See the microplane grater that we use here.
Notice that these donuts are labeled as “cake donuts” instead of “donuts”.
Several factors differentiate them from the donuts you typically find at your neighborhood bakery, or at donut shops like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme.
So what’s the difference between cake donuts and yeast donuts?
Yeast donuts, or the donuts we refer to whenever we’re talking about donuts in general, are leavened using yeast.
In making yeast donuts, the yeast needs some time to ferment the sugars, just like in bread. This makes the entire process longer than making cake donuts.
The yeast also makes the taste of regular donuts more bread-like, and gives the donuts a light, airy structure.
Want to make bread without all that hassle? Get our Bomboloni baking kits here. Perfectly yeasted, fluffy, and requires no oven.
What sets cake donuts apart from yeast donuts is the leavening agent used.
Instead of using yeast to raise the batter, baking soda is used with or without baking powder.
Since using chemical leavening agents doesn’t need the fermentation process required by yeast, it will take less time to make cake donuts.
Cake donuts are usually sweeter than yeast donuts (without the frosting).
They have a light, spongy, and moist texture similar to a muffin or pound cake. This texture difference is the most distinguishable feature between cake and yeast donuts.
The process of making cake donuts is more or less similar to making pound cakes, muffins, or any other types of cake.
That being said, you must remember to fold in the dry ingredients with proper technique to make sure your cake donuts don’t turn out disappointingly flat.
Most cake donut recipes require you to use special donut pans. However, if you don’t own one, here’s how you can DIY your own cake donut pan using two simple kitchen tools.
You can create the characteristic donut appearance by using ramekins or muffin pans and aluminum foil. Use the picture below as a guide to fold the aluminum foil.
Since we’re incorporating blueberry pieces into these cake donuts, here’s a hack that can help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the donuts—coating the blueberries with a thin layer of flour before adding them to the batter.
Coating the fruits with flour will help to suspend them during the baking process. This trick can be used in your other bakes too, such as when you’re adding chocolate chips and nuts to cakes and brownies.
This step is especially important if you’re using dried blueberries/fruits instead, since they’re usually coated with vegetable oil. The oil makes them more prone to sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking.
If you’re not really into blueberries, or you want to make new flavour combinations using other kinds of berries, feel free to replace the blueberries with your favorite fruits.
The last step after the donuts are done baking is to top them with a lemon glaze.
Made with lemon zest, lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar, the tanginess of this lemon glaze pairs perfectly with the sweet, light, and tender blueberry cake donuts!
Although the lemon glaze has a slight tanginess, it’s still considerably sweet.
If you have a sweet tooth, do it like us and dip the tops of the cake donuts into the glaze. Otherwise, simply drizzle the lemon glaze over your donuts.
The glaze is also very versatile. If you prefer a thicker, more opaque frosting, go light on the liquid and heavier on the confectioners’ sugar.
If you prefer a thinner, runnier, lighter and less sweet glaze, add more lemon juice and less sugar.
Feel free to substitute with other berries of your choice.
For cake donuts
120g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
40g unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
For lemon glaze
40g confectioners’ sugar
1–2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
For Cake Donuts
Preheat oven to 200°C. Prepare baking tin (muffin or donut) by greasing with some butter. If you don't have a donut pan, you may use a muffin pan/ramekins and make small cones out of foil before placing them into the ramekins/muffin holes.
In a large bowl, combine self-raising flour, sugar, and salt together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, melted unsalted butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined.
Take 1 tbsp of the flour mixture from step 2 and coat blueberries gently. This helps to prevent the blueberries from sinking during baking.
Then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
GENTLY fold in blueberries into the mixture until evenly distributed.
Divide mixture into pans, then bake for 10-12 mins or until skewer comes out clean after inserted. Let cool in the pan before removing to cool completely.
For Lemon Glaze
Storage: Best consumed on the same day. Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for 3-5 days. Bring to room temperature before consuming.
The balance of flavours in these donuts makes them neither too sweet nor too tangy for our liking. They might remind you of the classic blueberry muffins, but these cake donuts certainly have a surprising twist.
Make the most of your weekend with our new baking kits, from bombolonis to cookies to Swiss rolls. There’s lots of decadent sweet treats to bake in your kitchen!
For more citrus recipes, check out:
RECIPE: Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes with Oranges and Limes
RECIPE: Mini Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!
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