Bear Makes Brunch: Cinnamon-Sugar Cake Doughnuts

As we deck the halls and fa-la-la-la-la our way through the countdown to Christmas, we like to pause (paws?) and reflect what the holiday season is all about: playing in the first snowfall of the winter and eating an excessive number of baked goods. As we’ve mentioned before, bakeries are some of our favorite places to be, but also not always an allergy-friendly experience. And so this year, we are preheating our oven, turning on some tunes, and dancing through a delicious cake doughnut recipe!

Doughnuts are very special to us and there’s something about doughnuts that remind me of togetherness and home and family. This particular cake doughnut is simple and easy to make, and you can decorate it in any way that fits your holiday mood, from a powdered sugar dusting for a classic white Christmas to a dark chocolate glaze for all the bah-humbugging you’re about to do. We chose to stick with cinnamon, the spice of the season!

This recipe is initially from King Arthur Flour but we have copied and pasted it for your convenience. Please note that we have made some allergy-friendly substitutes, such as almond milk instead of milk and vegan margarine instead of butter. The rest of the recipe is largely intact, but if you have other allergies feel free to modify as you go and experiment with your substitutions of choice! The ingredients are as follows:

For the doughnuts:
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup milk

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and set out your doughnut pan. These doughnuts are baked rather than fried, which makes the texture denser and more cake-like.

All the ingredients can be mixed into a single bowl, which makes it much easier for clean-up and keeping track of the ingredients. Start by creaming the sugars and the fats (i.e. the granulated sugar and brown sugar with the butter and oil), which should make a creamy paste.

Next add the eggs until the mixture is a smooth liquid, and stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir until the batter is smooth without clumps of dry ingredients.

To make the batter more, well, dough, add in the flour and milk a little at a time, alternating between ingredients and mixing thoroughly to ensure the dough is smooth and consistent, and that the dough is pliable without any flour lumps.

Once the dough is well-mixed, spoon the dough into the pan, filling each well just shy of the rim, and attempting to keep the middle space clear. After all, the hole is what makes the doughnut!

Bake the doughnuts for ten minutes and then let them cool to room temperature before glazing. As you can see, I don’t own a wire rack but luckily I do own a respectable number of chopsticks. Arrange them on a plate to make a perfectly adjustable substitute.

While the doughnuts are cooling, stir up an easy cinnamon-sugar glaze by adding all the glaze ingredients to a small bowl.

Once the doughnuts have reached room temperature, glaze the doughnuts by drizzling the icing on top with a spoon, or, as we prefer to do it, hand-dip them in the bowl.

The doughnuts should be cool enough that you can hold them, and also cool enough to ensure that the icing won’t melt off the top of the doughnut. Feel free to double-dip or pour the glaze on the entire batch to make sure all the surfaces are glazed.

Whether you’re heading to a holiday sweater get-together, or sitting alone at home watching Charlie Brown Christmas with a calming cup of tea, add some sugar and spice to your weekend and taste the holiday cheer as you bite into your fourth warm, cinnamon-sugar doughnut.

The holidays are a time for sharing stories and sugary treats with new friends and old, and a time for reflecting back on the sweet things in life, such as a simple Sunday afternoon with doughnuts, old Christmas television specials, and your favorite Bear. As some of us start to nod off into hibernation for the winter, remember to reach out to those whom you love and maybe bring them a doughnut or two!