I first tasted a cake doughnut with sour cherries at Café Nola on Bainbridge Island, a ferry ride from downown Seattle. Founder and then-owner Melinda Bulgarin Lucas came up with the brilliant idea of using sour cherries to cut the richness of the doughnut. I tried to pry the recipe from her but failed, so I have re-created it as closely as possible. This dougnuts recipe is now an occasional doughnut Sunday special at Sweet Bar Bakery.
Makes 24 doughnuts
For the doughnuts
4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
11/2 cups dried sour (tart) cherries
canola or other neutral- flavored vegetable oil for deep-frying (about 2 quarts)
For the cinnamon sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar?
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. in a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addi- tion. Add the vanilla and buttermilk and beat until well mixed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorprated. With a wooden spoon, stir in the cherries. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Lightly flour a baking sheet. lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough onto it. roll out the dough into a rough disk 1/2 to?3/4 inch thick. using a 21/2-inch round doughnut cutter and a smaller round cutter for the holes, cut out as many doughnuts as possible. Transfer the doughnuts and the doughnut holes to the prepared baking sheet. Gather up the dough scraps, gently press them together, pat out the dough 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, and cut out more doughnuts and holes.
4. Pour the oil to a depth of at least 21/2 inches into a wok resting in a secure wok stand or into a heavy-gauge stockpot and heat to 365 °F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a large platter with paper towels.
5. When the oil is ready, carefully slip 3 or 4 doughnuts into the hot oil and fry, turning them once, until deep golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. using a slotted spoon or a wire skimmer, transfer the doughnuts to the towel-lined platter to drain and cool for about 4 minutes. repeat with the remaining doughnuts, always bringing the oil up to temperature before adding the next batch. Fry the doughnut holes separately in two batches; they will be ready in about 21/2 minutes.
6. To make the cinnamon sugar, in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the warm dough- nuts with the cinnamon sugar. Serve the doughnuts warm.
Recipe is courtesy of Good Morning Baking, by Mani Niall.
Image by Erin Kunkel