These cake doughnuts are baked, rather than fried. They’re also yeast-free, butter-free and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
While no one needs an excuse to bake, it’s always great to have one. It’s just seems better to bake a cake because it’s a friend/relative’s birthday, and not just because I love stuffing my face with cake.
As I love to bake, I’m always on the hunt for mildly plausible excuses to get out the oven mitts. Or grab the skillet and make pancakes! April Fool’s Day, the Fourth of July, Australia Day, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day, the long lead-up to Thanksgiving, Christmas… if there’s an occasion of some variety, there needs to be a celebratory breakfast.
This year I had hoped to make something for Oktoberfest, but it was over before I realized it’d begun (Oktoberfest begins in September – what’s up with that!?). Next year.
Anyway, as much as I love Christmas-themed food, there’s another holiday coming up next week that needs to be celebrated with breakfast food. Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukkah) starts next Tuesday evening and ends on December 24.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about traditional Hanukkah food – other than it usually involves oil, due to the nature of the Hanukkah story. Two Hanukkah foods I am aware of are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot/sufganiyah (jelly doughnuts).
Since I’m not even going to pretend that I know how to make these foods the traditional way, today I have a completely non-traditional, yeast-free baked doughnut recipe for you. (Just so you know, sufganiyot are usually made with yeast, and fried – because, after all, we’re celebrating oil).
Cake doughnuts are leavened with baking powder/soda instead of yeast, and are a bit denser than yeast doughnuts. So while you may not get the same kind of light, airy texture of a regular glazed or filled doughnut, you do get the joy of not having to bother with kneading the dough or waiting for it to rise (twice). Cake doughnuts also tend to have a better shelf life than yeast doughnuts, as the latter generally need to be eaten on the day they’re made.
As these are baked cake doughnuts, the texture is almost like a cross between a doughnut and a bagel. It’s a bagnut? Dough-gel? Regardless of what they’re called, these things are great with a giant mug of coffee.
By the way, Serious Eats has a great guide for all things doughnut-related.
Fun Fact: The German jelly-filled doughnuts – the Berliner – is also called ‘Krapfen’. Why did I mention that? Because sometimes I’m as immature as a five-year-old.
Instead of butter or sour cream, these doughnuts are made with a mixture of Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree – plus 1 teaspoon of oil, which is my nod to Hanukkah (and a tiny bit of oil can make a big difference to baked goods). I was lucky enough to receive a very generous delivery from Chobani (they literally sent me 38.5lbs/17.5kg of yogurt), so I had plenty of Greek yogurt to choose from.
I recommend using a mildly flavored Greek yogurt, as the yogurt is there to provide moisture – not flavor – to the doughnuts. I used a combination of coconut and strawberry Greek yogurt, although honey and/or vanilla would be the best options. If all you have is plain, then please increase the sugar in the recipe by around 2 – 3 teaspoons (I suggest you taste the batter and adjust the sweetness accordingly).
If there are any holidays coming up that need a breakfast, please let me know 🙂 Rest assured that they’ll be plenty more Christmas-themed breakfasts between now and the 25th.
For now, Happy Hanukkah! Even though this recipe is far, far from a traditional Hanukkah food. And Hanukkah doesn’t start until the 16th.
It’s the thought that counts, right?
- Dry Ingredients
- 2 ¼ cups (290g) spelt flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120g) honey, vanilla, coconut or strawberry Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (65g) pumpkin puree
- Jelly (jam), to fill the doughnuts (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Mix in the brown sugar, sugar, maple syrup, canola oil and vanilla extract. Add the Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree, and mix until completely combined.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. The dough should be very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
- Form large spoonfuls of dough into balls (approximately the size of golf balls). Place the balls of dough onto the baking trays. The dough will still be very sticky.
- Bake for 11 - 13 minutes, or until the tops are dry and no longer doughy. If desired, use a piping bag to fill the doughnuts with jelly.