Tomorrow is my birthday! Ginny is magically going to be in town, and she's given me the gift of staying in and cooking for her and her sister and some friends. If you know me, you know this is all I want! I'm making two Zuni Chickens, cheesy potatoes, and someone else is in charge of dessert. 32 is off to a good start!
But if I were doing dessert, this giant donut would be a worthy candidate for a birthday cake. It looks like a donut, but behaves like a cake. It's got size enough to feed a crowd and plenty of surface area for candles, if you need it. My donut obsession finally bled into my cake obsession and I suppose it was only a matter of time.
Cakes are baked, and it might be a more logical leap to turn baked donuts into a cake, but today I'm talking about the OG of donuts, the fried donut. It is the best donut, no question! Baked donuts are easier and quicker to make, and certainly less dangerous to cook, but there is something irreplaceable to me about the deep fried, doughy version. And when I decided to make a giant donut, I knew this was the way I was going to do it.
I made a batch of dough, cut out a 6-inch circle with a cake ring and a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Then I fried it. The trick is not to be scared! Yes, you are dunking an unwieldy slab of dough into hot oil, but with patience and the right tools, you can avoid maiming yourself.
The giant donut turns into a cake with a filling of jam. The secret, to me, is not too much jam. I just want enough to clearly create layers, but not enough to veer into squishy, jelly donut territory. Though, side note, today is apparently International Jelly-Filled Doughnut day, so this cake feels extra-appropriate!
I cut the donut in half through the middle while still warm, then spooned on the last of my seascape strawberry & rose geranium jam from Sqirl. A worthy sacrifice, I think. I then put the pieces back together and glazed the whole thing with a tart strawberry glaze made from freeze-dried strawberries and sugar that contrasted so well with the sweeter jam filling. The end result is a doughnut you can slice and eat with a fork, or just indulge yourself and pick it up with your hands. It is a donut after all!
Strawberry Glazed Donut Cake
Doughnut recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
For the dough:
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 tbs warm water
- 1 cup whole milk, slightly warmed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 1/2 cup flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 qts oil, for frying
For the glaze:
- one package freeze dried strawberries (1.2 oz)
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 2-3 tbs lemon juice or water
- strawberry jam, for filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast and warm water until the yeast dissolves. Let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the warmed milk, butter, egg yolks, flour, sugar and salt to the bowl. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes until a soft dough forms. Beat on medium high for 3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough hook and scrape the dough into the middle of the bowl. Sprinkle lightly with flour, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
- When dough is almost done rising, heat a large pot of oil to 350 degrees. Dust a flat surface generously with flour, then turn the dough out and flatten slightly into a round. Transfer the round onto a large flat spatula or cake spatula. Cut the dough into a large circle, 6-7 inches in diameter (easy with a cake ring), then cut out the center of the round with a 3 inch round cutter, being careful not to twist the cutter as you cut down on the dough.
- Gently shake the cut dough back and forth on the spatula to make sure it releases easily, adding a little more flour underneath if necessary. When oil is at temperature, gently ease the dough into the oil. Fry for 5 minutes and then flip, using two spatulas or wooden spoons to ease the dough over in the oil. Cook for 5 minutes more, then gently lift out of the oil with the spatulas.
- Drain the doughnut. Let cool slightly then cut in half horizontally. Fill with jam, then place halves back together.
- Prepare the glaze: Blend strawberries in the bowl of a food processor until fine, then sift with the sugar. Whisk in the lemon juice or water until you have a pourable but not too thin consistency. Pour over the doughnut and let set. When completely cool, slice and serve.