Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

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I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl, and I love cooking hearty meals that satisfy. In the kitchen while preparing and cooking, say, a Thanksgiving feast I move like a graceful ballerina. But when it comes to baking sweets I’m more like Lucy: misreading recipes, using incorrect measurements, and making an explosive mess in the kitchen.

Baking sweets intimidates me and, quite frankly, does not interest me all that much. Several reasons come to mind: 1) My grandmother was the queen of sweets in our hometown. Big shoes to fill! 2) I ate so many classic sweets when I was a child that—today—I’m just not that into them. 3) Some recipes are so long and have numerous small measurements; just looking at some ingredient lists and necessary kitchen tools exhausts me. But I do have a slight interest in baking sweets for loved ones and after all, ’tis the season! So here I am. Practicing.

It’s finally cooling off in Phoenix. And every year when the weather cools down I’m drawn to the rich colors and seasonal spices of fall. I’m madly in love with the bright orange color of pumpkin, and I adore allspice, ginger, nutmeg and more. Last week I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts on the King Arthur Flour website and decided I was going to face my [sweet] baking fears and indifferences head on.

After trying the King Arthur recipe I decided the cinnamon-sugar coating was not for me and I found the doughnuts less flavorful than I anticipated. To each his own, right? I revised the recipe by reducing the amount of salt and by increasing the amount of pumpkin pie spice. I have to mention here that when I made my first batch of doughnuts I accidentally doubled the salt measurement. “Lucy!!!!” I scooped out as much of the extra salt as I could! And for my second batch of doughnuts I made a cream cheese frosting and a glaze for topping options. I loved my second batch, and the doughnuts were a hit with my human guinea pigs. I survived, and I am now ready to move onto something more dense and chocolate-y. A future post…

Here is my recipe (the revised King Arthur recipe) for Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two doughnut pans. (Note: I found mine at Target.)

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Beat together ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree, 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder.

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Add 1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Stir ingredients until smooth.

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Fill doughnut pans about ¾ full. (Note: Use a scant ¼ cup of batter in each well.)

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Bake doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove doughnuts from oven; let cool for about 5 minutes. Once cool, loosen edges of doughnuts and transfer to a cooling rack.

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While still warm, either glaze or frost doughnuts or gently shake in a bag with cinnamon-sugar. Cool completely, and wrap airtight. Store at room temperature for several days. YIELDS 12 DOUGHNUTS

While making a major mess in the kitchen, I was in the holiday spirit and decided Christmas tunes were in order. You just can’t go wrong with a sentimental classic Christmas song like O Holy Night.

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