A Baking Date: Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake Doughnuts
"Do you want to come over tomorrow to bake something?"
No matter who it is asking, my answer to that question will always be a yes. Because seriously, what could be a more perfect Sunday morning than being in the kitchen and creating something delicious? But when the person asking is the ray of sunshine that is Anastasia of The Identité Co., it's a resounding hell yes! Back in the day, we totally bonded over this chocolate cake, so I knew whatever we chose to make would be magical. Plus, her new house has a spacious, open kitchen that is a dream to cook in compared to my tiny apartment kitchen, and the dining room has so much natural light for pictures. This all pleases me so.
It's high citrus season, and we were feeling ambitious, so we decided to try our hand at making fresh, lemony poppy seed doughnuts. And despite the fact that we were not very prepared and had to send her husband to get us a candy thermometer, we definitely outdid ourselves.
These doughnuts come out of the fryer hot and perfectly crunchy on the edges, but the insides are soft and just melt in your mouth. And the lemon glaze is so fresh and makes the doughnuts taste lighter than you would expect. A little pro tip though: fry up the doughnut holes along with the doughnuts, but don't glaze them. They are addictively crunchy and heavenly all on their own!
So, if you are like me and want to bake tomorrow (and really, why wouldn't you), this is the perfect recipe to master this weekend. I'm going to two separate brunch parties this Sunday, and I know what I'll be taking to both!
Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake Doughnuts
Makes 16 doughnuts
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sour cream
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon Poppy Seed Glaze
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 lemons)
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add sugar and lemon zest. Add the butter and mix for 1 minute, on low speed, until sandy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks and mix for 1 minute, on medium speed, until combined. Scrape down bowl again.
Add half of the dry flour mixture to wet egg mixture and mix on low speed, just until combined. Repeat with the sour cream and then the remaining half of the dry ingredients. The resulting dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.
Fit a large pot or Dutch oven with a candy thermometer and oil (at least 2-inch deep). Heat the oil to 325 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and a second baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set a wire cooling wrack onto the baking sheet with the foil. Prepare the lemon poppy seed glaze and set aside to glaze doughnuts.
Sprinkle some bench flour on a clean work surface. Roll out the chilled dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out rounds to your desired size and each of their centers. Collect and re-roll dough scraps and repeat. Place the doughnuts on the parchment lined baking sheet and keep cool until the oil comes to temperature.
Using tongs, add two to three doughnuts to the hot oil. When the donuts float, after 10-15 seconds, gently flip them over. Fry for 2 minutes, until cracked and lightly golden, then flip over and fry the other side for 2 minutes. Transfer to the prepared cooling wrack. Once they are cool enough to handle, dip the doughnuts to glaze each of their tops, then sprinkle with copious amounts of poppy seeds. Repeat the frying and glazing process until all donuts are coated.
To make the glaze: Whisk together the corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and lemon juice. Add the sugar one third at a time and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Stir in some of the poppy seeds, and reserve the rest for sprinkling on top of the glaze.
Best enjoyed immediately after making for maximum crunchiness. Can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days, but I stored mine in a gallon Ziploc bag, and I would not recommend that. Still delicious, but they lose the crunch.
Adapted from Now, Forager's recipe