Vanilla Bean Cake Doughnuts & Salty Caramel Glaze

vanilla bean cake doughnuts
vanilla bean cake doughnuts
vanilla bean cake doughnuts
vanilla bean cake doughnuts
vanilla bean cake doughnuts

I am very honored (and thrilled!) to tell you all that last night, Apt. 2B Baking Co. won the Editor's Choice for Best Baking & Desserts at the Saveur Blog Awards (alongside Reader's Choice and Blog of the Year winner Molly Yeh who writes the wonderful My Name is Yeh). A big thank you all for your nominations and continued support for this blog of mine that I have been writing for nearly five years (which is practically elderly in blog time, eta: it's been almost six years, apparently I can't count...).

I was VERY caught off-guard and overwhelmed by the whole thing, but had so, so much fun meeting and hanging with all of the other nominees over the past couple of days. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Food people are the best people. Congrats to the rest of the nominees and winners!

Now let's eat doughnuts! Cake Doughnuts with Vanilla Bean or Salty Caramel Glaze and a shit-ton of sprinkles to be exact. And people, if you are going to make doughnuts, you gotta fry 'em, none of this "baked donut" business will be tolerated here.

Vanilla Bean Cake Doughnuts

all recipes adapted, just slightly, from Hand Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker

makes one dozen donuts and holes

These classic cake donuts are light and fluffy, crisp and crunchy. Glaze them with a simple Vanilla Bean Glaze, tinted with a bit of food coloring if you like (recipe follows), Salty Caramel Glaze (recipe follows) or dunk them in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. If you want to add sprinkles to your doughnuts, make sure to do it while the glaze is still wet or they will slide right off.

Doughnuts 

2 3/4 cups (315g) cake flour, plus more for rolling and cutting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup (130g) sugar

1 vanilla bean

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening or unsalted butter

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup (165ml) whole milk

canola oil, for frying

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl; set aside.

Use the tip of a knife to slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the pod for another use. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the vanilla bean seeds, sugar, and shortening. Mix on medium speed until well combined and sandy.

Add the egg and egg yolk and mix for one more minute, until the mixture is light colored and thick. Add the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with the milk, in three additions. Mix until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that the dough is evenly mixed. The dough will be wet and sticky like cookie dough.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover the dough with a length of plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour and up to overnight.

When you are ready to fry, fill a large, heavy bottomed pot with high sides with 3-inches of canola oil. Set a candy/deep fry thermometer in the pot and heat the oil over medium heat. Heat the oil to 350ยบF.

While the oil is heating, roll the dough out on a well floured surface to a 1/2-inch (12mm) thickness and use a well floured donut cutter to cut as many doughnuts and holes as possible. Reroll the scraps and cut again. 

Shake any excess flour off the doughnuts before placing them, one at a time, in the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan.

Fry the donuts for about 60 second on each side, or until deep golden brown. Remove the donuts to a rack or paper towels to cool slightly before glazing, or dusting with confectioner's or powdered sugar. 

Vanilla Bean Glaze

1/2 vanilla bean

4 1/2 cups (450g) confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole milk

Use the tip of a knife to slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the pod for another use.

Whisk the vanilla bean seeds, along with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. If the icing seems thick, add a bit more milk. If it seems thick, add more confectioner's sugar. 

To use, dip slightly warm doughnuts in the glaze and let them dry for about 10 minutes before digging in.

Salty Caramel Glaze

Base

4 1/2 cups (450g) confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole milk

Caramel

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon sea salt  or more to taste

Make the base: Whisk the vanilla bean seeds, along with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. If the icing seems thick, add a bit more milk. If it seems thick, add more confectioner's sugar. 

Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan set over high heat. Swirl the pan occasionally, but do not stir until the sugar melts and turns a golden amber color. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, followed by the salt. Let the caramel cool for 10 minutes then whisk it into the caramel base. If the icing seems thick, add a bit of water or milk to thin, if it seems too thick, add a bit more confectioner's sugar

To use, dip slightly warm doughnuts in the glaze and let them dry for about 10 minutes before digging in.

vanilla bean cake doughnuts