Unlike other recipes, these Old Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts create light, and airy spiced donuts, covered in a buttery glaze. Enjoy!
I have been testing this Pumpkin Donuts recipe again and again and finally, FINALLY have an amazing light and tasty cake donut to share today! I was so enveloped in this process that I forgot to post another recipe last week. Oopsie!! But I promise this one will make up for it 😉
Not only do I have the photographic evidence of all the donuts I’ve made over and over this past week, but I also have the number on my scale proving, in fact, that those 5 dozen donuts went straight to my butt.
But, mama don’t care because it was oh so worth it!
I hate a dense and dry cake donut. You’ve had one, I’ve had one. I am very particular about my cake donuts which is why 99% of the time, I choose a yeast-raised donut. Boston Cream Donuts are my favorite, in case you were wondering. Whenever I head to a donut shop, I always go for the yeast donut. Actually, I always choose the Boston Cream Donut because old habits die hard. (Have you ever tasted a Boston Cream Donut?) As I was contemplating this life decision I’ve made the same way, again and again, I thought “surely I could make a cake donut I actually like.” And so I did.
It took a while because cake donuts have a tendency to be quite dry, but, I figured out little ways here and there to make it work that all added up to an amazing amazing finished product. Things like not overworking the dough, adding in an extra egg yolk and using half and half really really helped the cause. Also, using a stickier dough, to begin with, refrigerating for a few minutes to make it easier to handle and rolling it out with lots of flour was the trick. Pop the donuts into your hot oil for a quick bath and voila!
Add your glaze and that my friends, is my love language.
Now, I’m sure some of you are going to steer clear of this recipe because frying is not your cup of tea, and believe me it’s not mine either! But once you get going, it’s not so bad!! Here are my tips and tricks for creating amazing donuts, even for the novice chef.
How to Make Amazing Pumpkin Donuts
- Keep the dough moist! I already mentioned this, but a moist cake donut is made from a moist dough. If you have time, refrigerate the dough. If you don’t have time, roll it out with lots of flour and gently transfer them to the hot oil.
- Use a thermometer in your oil. I thought I had to go out and purchase a new thermometer because I didn’t have the right one…or so I thought. But on second glance, I realized it was perfect! It measured high/hot enough and even had a spot on it that said “donuts”. You’ll want to fry your donuts between 370 and 380 degrees. I have a thermometer just like this.
- Speaking of frying your donuts, if you don’t have an actual deep fryer, you’ll want to use a heavy-bottomed pot that will retain heat. This is the exact pot I used. I like heating my oil before I even start making the dough for the donuts because I like to find the correct settings for my burner to hold my oil steady at 370. That way it’s just waiting for me and I know the general area I need to keep my burner set to. Mine was right around medium once it was brought up, to temperature. You’ll have to increase the heat slightly once you put your donuts into the hot oil because the temp will drop.
- If your oil gets too hot, don’t be afraid to throw in a few sacrificial dough scraps to bring that oil temperature down. Obviously, reduce the burner heat too.
So, give these a whirl because I’m confident you can make amazing pumpkin donuts too!
Have a great day, friends!!
IF you want some donut inspiration check out my Mojo Donuts post!
Old Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts
- vegetable oil
- 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup half & half*
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 370 degrees. (I aim for 380 because, by the time you add your donuts in, the temperature will drop to the right where you want it at 370.)
- In a large bowl, whisk** flour, salt, leavenings, spices, and brown sugar together to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in remaining wet ingredients to the well and whisk together to break apart the eggs. Then start incorporating all the dry ingredients until a thick dough forms. It might take 2-3 minutes to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Refrigerate dough 10-20 minutes.
- Flour a board (or clean counter) and dough well and roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a donut cutter to create 3-inch donuts and fry 2-3 at a time: brush excess flour off of cut donuts and slide into hot oil gently. Fry 30 seconds per side (15-20 seconds for donut holes), and drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Watch your thermometer as you fry and adjust as you go.
- For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar together with vanilla, melted butter, and enough milk to create a glaze slightly thinner than white school glue. Dip warm donuts into glaze and place on cooling rack to drip and dry. The glaze won't stay white on the donut if you dip them warm, so if you'd like a more obvious glaze, either re-dip them again into the glaze once completely cooled, or wait until they're completely cooled to begin with.
- Store in airtight containers up to 24 hours. After that, they *just* aren't the same. Still good, but not glorious.
- *If you don't have or know what half & half is, substitute 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons heavy cream to create your own half & half. In a pinch, you can use 2 tablespoons heavy cream and 2 tablespoons cold water OR 3 tablespoons milk.
- **For best results, stir everything by hand!